Freelance writing isn’t something I landed on organically. It was a mixture of several rejected emails when submitting articles and having such a passion for writing; I wanted to do more of it. It’s hard to gain experience when you can’t get a job doing what you need experience in. And so the cycle begins.
While it had been something I’d considered doing for a long time, I’d always been sceptical. I had this constant fear I’ll be scammed, that I’d not have enough hours to do it. Until a friend and fellow writer has begun freelance work, I know I’d have always had that perception. Thankfully, it’s now coming up to nine months of me being a freelance content writer. I still offer freelance writing work to clients through PeoplePerHour and recently joined Upwork.
What I Love The Most
Development Of My Skills
Freelance writing has helped me develop my people skills writing, research skills, and confidence in myself. A-year-ago me wasn’t freelancing. That version of me was wondering how I could do what I loved without risking my house. Freelance work has given me the flexibility to see if I could fly; it helped me come out of my shell more. It’s also enabled me to write articles I never expected I’d have the chance to do. I’ve learned so much, not just about me but also about others and how to converse with clients.
Freelance Writing Freedom
It can be hard to land writing gigs without a portfolio, and freelancing has helped me to slowly build my own. As much fun as writing under my name is, I also love how often I get to write and create for other people too.
Money & Freedom
It would be a lie to say the extra money hasn’t been helpful. It has allowed me to make some small improvements on my home and shift some of my debt, all the while giving me more freedom. Writing on top of a full-time job is difficult, but in time, I could drop a day to give myself more freedom. I like the mix now of having an administration job and a creative job.
But, even with all of these positives, there is another side of freelance work. While I’m glad I began freelance writing, here are some things you should consider before joining the world of freelancing.
Five Things To Consider When Freelancing
You Need To Be Passionate
If you hate what you do, you’ll grow to hate every single day. I’m passionate about writing and have been for several years. But, before beginning freelance writing, I knew I needed to sharpen my non-fiction voice because there is minimal work for fiction writers (unless you don’t mind ghost-writing). If you don’t have a passion for freelance writing, don’t do it. The flair that will make you stand out is set in your love and drive to do what you enjoy. You’ll also struggle to find very few successful freelancers who don’t love what they do.
Creating comes from a place within you that is already there. You can grow it and train it to work differently, but you have to have the substance to begin with. It’s like trying to grow tomatoes without soil; you need soil as much as you need seeds. Writing is the same. If you don’t enjoy creating or writing at your core, you’ll begin to resent working on your craft.
I am a control-freak, there I’ve said it. However, I knew to begin freelance writing; I would need to surrender some of my control. I’d need to welcome the unpredictable nature of freelance work. There are very few contracts and a lot of applying and not getting. For long-term clients, you can hear from them weekly, monthly or even three-monthly. There is always the chance you won’t hear from them all. And you won’t ever know if you’ll be guaranteed work. This mindset can be hard to overcome, especially with looming bills and, if you’re like me, have a stressful attitude.
It’s tough when work dries up, and you aren’t sure what you’re going to do. If you want dependable work, maybe look at more extended employment contracts, but unfortunately, these usually require the most experience.
For me, pushing through these fears has helped me become a much stronger freelance writer. With baby steps and determination, I’ve begun to comfortably earn enough to lower my hours at my day job. This has allowed me to spend more time writing my fiction work.
You Can Win Big
My latest, most prideful moment is that I am now writing (freelance, still) for shecanmagazine.com. I met the owner and founder of this site through one of the freelance websites and decided to throw my towel in the ring. Admittedly, I didn’t expect to hear back or be offered a trial article, but low-and-behold, months later, I’m on their homepage and have several pieces with them. All paid work, too. There are monumental moments when you offer freelance writing, and this was one of them.
You can also meet incredible people, working for those who require a service and striking up a business relationship. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the most amazing clients, who I’m always happy to hear from.
You Can’t Get On With Everyone
You ask any freelancer, not just freelance writers, but there has been someone they’ve worked with or for who has made them consider quitting it all. Mine was early on, and thankfully I had a great support network to rely on. It can be hard not to take things personally and emotionally distance yourself, especially as much of freelance work is virtual/online. Bad feedback or a bad experience can knock you back.
None of this is helped by the fact freelance work isn’t guaranteed. You can get bad feedback and think, ‘Oh, I’ll never work again now’. That’s a tricky thing to swallow.
However, these experiences have taught me so much about what I enjoy and don’t enjoy too. Freelance writing is my strength, but my version and my writing voice won’t be for everyone, and that’s okay.
Freelance Success Isn’t Overnight
Can I live off my wage after nine months? No. Can I treat myself to things and provide a chance to work more comfortable hours by reducing my day job hours? Yes.
There’s a huge difference there, and while I love freelance writing, I’ll never find myself doing it full-time. It’s challenging and sometimes exhausting. Constantly creating, switching writing voices and working on multiple projects is difficult. Do I still love it? Yes, of course, I do. But I like that for so many hours a week, I can switch off and focus on something not creative I’ve got experience in. My day job has structure and requires a different part of my brain than writing does.
For me, I love the balance, and I’ll do it forever this way if I can. However, if you’re hoping to begin freelance work next week and quit your job the month after, it will take time, it’ll be challenging, and you’ll need more than blood, sweat and tears. There are, of course, famous success stories, but the reasons these are so motivating is that they aren’t the norm all the time.
My advice isn’t to expect huge bucks straight away when it comes to beginning. For me, it was about blanacing what I was worth as well as what matched my experience. I’ve managed to increase my prices as time has gone on, which matches my experience and the work I’ve completed. It’s also important to remember to focus freelancing on skills you can confidently do, and not over stretching yourself when you begin.