Earlier this spring I wrote a post, titled Hello Lovelies, I Missed You!, where I discussed my decision to become a professional freelance writer. I then proceeded to do exactly nothing to accomplish that goal, and not for a lack of trying. Seriously. For the last several weeks, an unforeseen set of circumstances kept me from hitting the ground running. Typically, as soon as my semester wraps at university, I’m out pounding the pavement. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. My hands tied by bureaucratic red tape until the situation was finally resolved.
Right in time for yet another series of unfortunate events.
It was this last twist of fate that put a wild hair up my backside to take my entrepreneurship seriously. The older I get the more enamored I have become with the idea of having my own business. Throw in the current socioeconomic climate of my home state, complete with sketchy budget, and having your own business sounds like a solid investment. I have no illusions as to what this entails. Owning a business is hard work. When you are in that position personal responsibility takes on a whole new meaning. You are either your best friend or worst enemy. I know this because I have had my own business in the past, making custom jewelry.
With my jewelry business I had a lot of successes and setbacks, and I learned a lot. Therefore, since this isn’t my first time at the Start Your Own Business rodeo, it wasn’t hard for me to do the basics and get organized. In the last forty-eight hours I have set up a mini-office in my apartment, re-organized this website, digitized writing samples, and completed the final lessons from a six-week online freelance writing course I’ve been taking.
When you are just starting out it is important to make every step count. With freelancing you do not need to secure a fancy office space and worry yourself with overhead. I will be working from home, typically after my regular 9 – 5 during the week, and part-time on weekends. My goal is to supplement my income with my writing and – if I play my cards right – join that special cadre of freelance writers who make their income solely from their writing.
To make that happen I’ve been implementing the advice of freelancer Jorden Roper, creator of Writing Revolt* and owner of Cutthroat Copy*. Now that I have revised my website and declared my niches for potential clients, I will be re-familiarizing myself with how to write query letters and pitches. I am also identifying potential clients for short and long-term projects through reputable websites such as ProBlogger* .
One thing you have to beware of when first starting out is content mills such as Upworks. I understand that when you are just starting out with zero-ninety-five coming into your bank account, it makes sense to take whatever comes along to make a fast buck. I get it. However, the problem is that content mills are not paying you a fast buck, or even a buck at all. Content mills are notorious for underpaying writers to where making a living wage from writing becomes next to impossible. Instead, go to reputable networking sites such as Freedom With Writing* or Author’s Publish Magazine* to find potential clients.
I haven’t yet decided what my next steps will be. Likely, it will involve goal-setting of some sort. Once I know what that looks like I will post it here. In the meantime you can take the following steps to get yourself ready for freelancing –
Get organized – Create a workspace in your apartment or home where you will do your freelancing/writing.
Use what you’ve got – If all you have is a kitchen table or nightstand to call a workspace, use it. In time, once you start earning money from your writing, you can purchase better office furniture/supplies. Until then make use of what you’ve got on hand.
Educate yourself – There are thousands of sites claiming to have the “secret” for freelancing success. The majority of these websites are nothing more than digitized pyramid schemes. Check out reputable coaches like Jorden Roper of Writing Revolt, or networking sites such as Freedom With Writing, or Authors Publish Magazine. The latter have information and advice on how to become a successful freelance writer.
Avoid content mills – Content mills such as Upworks routinely underpay writers to where making a living wage from writing becomes next to impossible. Freelance writing is a business. Why would you sell your labor to someone who is going to pay you nowhere near what it is worth?
*I was not paid or compensated in any way by any of these companies or individuals. These are my honest reactions to their products.