Guys, I can’t believe it. I’ve officially been freelance writing for six months now. Six months. Half a year. Two quarters.
How crazy is that? It’s gone so quick. I really am loving it though.
It’s been a bit of a wild and bumpy ride so far, but one that I never want to get off!
Before I launched my business earlier this year, I didn’t know anything about being a successful freelance writer. Then, armed with a passion for writing and the drive to make a living out of that passion, I began to research.
I researched my ass off. I looked at current successful writers, how they’d managed to build their careers from scratch, and I also read a ton of books from freelance coaches and specialists.
Through this extensive research, I gave myself the tools that I needed to get my freelance writing business off the ground. Then, slowly but surely, the clients came flooding in.
I still feel like there’s so much more that I want to do with my business, but I’m lucky that I have a growing client base, steady work, and I get to spend everyday doing something that I love.
I’ve made mistakes and learned a lot on the way though, and I’m sure there are a lot more lessons to come. Here are 6 things I learned during six months of freelance writing.
1. Freelance writing is a profitable business.
With freelance writing, you have minimal overheads. Sure, I had to get rid of my crappy laptop from university that was six years old and invest in a new one, buy a new desk and a new chair to work on, launch a website, and create business cards – but I’ve done all that now.
And I’ve earned all the initial money back that I spent within the first couple of months. (Mini Mexican wave in celebration of me! A-woohoo!)
Ever since month three, my business has been profitable and continues to grow every month.
It might take dedication, determination and sheer hard work – but freelance writing is rewarding both emotionally and financially. And that’s a win, win situation.
2. High paying clients can be difficult to find.
One of the most important lessons you’ll learn as a new freelance writer is to know your worth. Don’t waste your time on freelance marketplaces writing 500 words for $5, when you could be writing the same amount of words for a more reasonable $50.
Sure, sites such as Upwork and Guru can be useful to start with. They’re a good resource for finding clients, especially when you’re brand new to writing, and building a portfolio whilst getting paid for your work. But, the key is to not linger on freelance marketplaces. You rarely find high paying clients there. (Trust me, I’ve tried!)
Instead, make sure you keep an eye out for work on high quality job boards, like ProBlogger and Freelance Writing Jobs, and check ’em regularly! You know the saying “the early bird catches the worm?” It’s so true.
You also need to be marketing yourself via your own website and social media channels, such as Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, and cold emailing businesses that you could possibly offer your services to.I need to spend more time marketing myself, admittedly, but I'm still growing and adapting to what's working within my business and what isn't. Just like life is a learning game, so is freelance writing!Click To Tweet
For a deeper investigation into how to find work as a freelance writer, check out this blog post.
3. The freelance writing community is awesome!
From sharing tips and advice in Facebook groups, to helpful, insightful tweets, the freelance writing community is incredibly supportive of one another. Seriously guys, you rock!
Being a freelance writer can get a little lonely sometimes, especially because I work from home and I don’t have colleagues to bounce ideas off of. It’s just me writing articles in my pyjamas and #livingthedream! (Okay I’m not always in my pyjamas, I promise!)
I love freelance writing so much, don’t get me wrong – but having a community around you really helps to stop you from feeling so alone.
There have been a couple of fellow freelance writers who I’ve clicked with so much since starting my business (I’m looking at YOU, Daniel Mattia) that I now consider them to be dear, lifelong friends. And, slowly but surely, it becomes like having colleagues that you don’t see everyday, but you still get to speak to.
Fellow freelance writers, you da best <3
4. There are a lot of scammers around.
You have to be incredibly careful when you’re just getting started as a freelance writer. There are a lot of so-called “clients” out there, promising you the world before taking you for every last penny.
In fact, I’ve recently heard about “clients” who post an advertisement via job boards, get you to contact them on Skype, and then send you malware in the form of a zip file that supposedly contains “writing guidelines” for the project. It’s horrific that there are so many people out there who don’t care about others and want to jeopardise everything that someone else has worked for, but it happens a lot.
One of the key lessons I’ve learned in my first six months as a freelance writer is that you’re got to be careful who you trust. There are also clients out there who seem so nice that you rely on their emails as your only form of written agreement, and then they suddenly go MIA and you don’t get paid for the work that you’ve already submitted.
(Yes, this has happened to me before and it sucks.)
Chase your invoices, make sure you always have a contract, and trust your instincts. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
5. If you want money, you’re going to have to earn it.
Something that other people tend to forget about being self-employed is: we have to work at all times if we want to earn money. We have to work through vacations, personal days, and sick days – otherwise we won’t get paid.
It takes a lot of drive to be able to keep a business going. Even if it’s successful, it doesn’t just run itself. (But how amazing would it be if it did? *Daydreams*)
Ahem.I've worked harder than I've ever worked before to build my freelance writing biz over the last six months. Even when I'm not working, I find it difficult to switch off - because I'm constantly thinking about ways I can improve my business.Click To Tweet
Being a freelance writer isn’t a job – it’s a lifestyle. You’ve got to make sure that you have enough drive, dedication and determination to keep it going, otherwise you’ll never get anywhere.
Sure, we all struggle with productivity sometimes (who doesn’t?), but perseverance is the key. You’ve totally got this, bro.
6. This is the best job that I’ve ever had.
One thing that you should know about being a freelance writer is that you’re going to have bad days. You’re going to have days where you don’t believe that you’re going anywhere, you don’t want to do it anymore, and you want to give up. After all, it might be the best job in the world, but it’s still a job. It’s a way of making a living.
But, you must push past those bad days. You must pick yourself back up and try again. Because, let’s face it, the good far outweighs the bad.
Not only do you get to do what you love for a living, which is write, but you also get to create something that’s just yours. Yours alone. Nobody else’s. Your business belongs to you. It’s your wins and your gains. And nobody can take that way from you.
I might be biased, but being a freelance writer is the best job in the world – and, as it stands, I never want to do anything else. This is my true calling in life. I love it with everything I have and everything that I am.
And if you’re genuinely passionate about it, you can do it too.
Here’s to the next six months! 🙂