Please enjoy this guest post by freelance writer Lauren Bailey. In this post she talks about freelance writing and the basic things you need to know before you decide to go freelance. I totally agree with all the points she discusses and I may have rambled about them in a way at some point in some of my posts about freelance writing.
Freelance Writing: What you need to know
by Lauren Bailey
S you want to set out as a freelance writer? Let me give you a little reality check. Freelancing can be a tough job, even for the most resolute, determined, and talented professional. I’m a freelance writer, and I can honestly say that I love the job with all my heart, and I wouldn’t have things any other way.
But it wasn’t always like this. When I got my first desk job after college, I would dream of the freelancing life. I’d read posts from bloggers who said they did all their work from their favorite coffee shop, working on their own hours and operating by their own rules. Compared to my dull 9-5 job, freelancing seemed like a dream.
After over a year at that job, I decided to call it quits and try my hand at freelancing. I had an abundance of writing experience, and I had worked with several online publications during my time in college, so I had plenty of web writing experience as well. I figured freelancing would be a breeze. Well, it wasn’t, at least not in the beginning. I learned a lot of hard lessons, and I’d like to impart some of those lessons here to would-be freelancers.
Money will be tight, at least in the beginning
When I transitioned to full-time freelancing, I expected to be short on cash for a while. I budgeted my savings to account for at least a month where I wouldn’t expect to get any money for my work. I figured that after doing enough free writing gigs I’d eventually land an assignment that paid. Well, one month turned into two, which turned into almost three straight months before I got a single writing assignment that paid me anything. Three months!
So this is my first of three cautionary tales: you might not make enough money to feed yourself and keep a roof over your head for quite some time. If you want to be a freelancer, anticipate that your enterprise might not be at all profitable for at least two months. Adjust your finances accordingly to absorb that kind of risk.
You won’t always write about subjects that interest you
As a writer, I have many interests that give me joy to write about: I like following the current trends in contemporary food culture, and I also follow the news when it comes to subjects relating to higher education. I figured that I could earn my keep writing solely about food and education. However I learned very quickly that I had to diversify and widen my scope if I wanted to keep making money as a freelancer.
I avoided certain blogs because the subject matter didn’t interest me, or I thought that the content wasn’t on par with my writing style. But after weeks of few assignments and even fewer paying ones, I started knocking at every blogger’s proverbial door, begging to let me write for them, if even just for a free guest post. I realized then that I couldn’t cater my clientele based on my personal interests, at least not in the beginning. I can write about food and education all I want when I’m rich and famous.
The way you manage your time will determine your success
In the realm of freelancing, you’re your own boss. It’s a cliché, but that statement is something you should never lose sight of, particularly when you’re just starting out as a solo writer. That means that you have to keep track of all your work time, not just for your own sake but for the sake of clients who want your billable hours. Once you start tracking your time, you realize just how valuable it is. Every spare moment could be put to good use polishing up an article or searching for new blogs to write for. The better you manage your time, the more likely you’ll find success as a freelancer.
What are some tips that you’d offer to freelancers who just start out?
Lauren Bailey is a freelance blogger who loves writing about education, new technology, lifestyle and health. As an education writer, she works to research and provide sound online education advice and welcomes comments and questions via email at blauren 99 @gmail.com.