So if you’ve been following my Twitter lately, you’ll know that I’ve become far more active in the Freelance Writing scene. I basically do most of my writing for different websites now. My next goal is to start making more money for my writing and I’m well on my way.
What is Freelance Writing, you ask? Good question Jim!
So Jim, can I call you Jim? Freelance Writing is where you write a variety of different things for a variety of different clients (and get paid). That sounds great doesn’t it? I can get paid whilst writing? I can finally make writing my day job before I even publish my first novel? Sign me the fuck up!
Wait! Jim! Calm down! Jesus…
Before you sign away your souls to become a top-notch freelancer, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Now I admit that I am no expert on this. I’m a new freelancer, I admit. That doesn’t mean that I’m clueless though. There are a few things that I learned within the first few weeks as a freelancer that I wish I had known before I started. So buckle up, boys and girls. I’m about to serve a hot dish of harsh honesty.
Special Note: You’ll notice I swear less in this article. I’m also more mellow than last time. I have no idea why, but fuck it. I’m not gonna force it. If you like that, great! If not, deal.
You WILL NOT Make Money Quickly
Freelance Writing is not a “get rich quick” scheme. It just ain’t. Perhaps you might strike it lucky on your first week or two and land a nice client, but I guarantee that you still won’t be making tons of cash at first. It takes a long-ass fucking time to get to the point where you’re earning a living wage.
At first, you’ll probably be stuck doing free work or working for a very low pay-rate. Hey, don’t pull that disgusted face at me Jim, I didn’t make the rules. It’s an unfortunate fact of life that nobody will take you seriously just on your word. You can’t win high-paying clients on just promising good work. You need to back your ass up with facts. Just do some high quality free work for some places, and then, when you’ve made your portfolio look all pretty, you can go in with confidence for your first proper paying client. Odds are, however, that you’ll earn very little at first anyway, so keep that in mind.
Besides all that, payments can even take a long time to reflect in your bank account. Essentially, you’ll be fucking yourself over if you’re in this just for money. You have to have a passion for writing. This is hard work. You have to be willing to do the work if you want to make money.
It’s Not Just Any Work, It’s HARD Work
Too many people want to believe that freelance writing is some easy thing you can do whilst writing your novel on the side. Maybe when you’re earning a ton of cash per article, sure. But when you first start out? You’ll be lucky to find any time to write your novel with all the work you’ll be doing!
Remember that this isn’t like Novel-Crafting. This isn’t something that will always require creativity. Sure, to some extent there is some creativity involved, but it isn’t like creating a story. You have a set topic that you have to stick to. You’ll have to back up your opinions and assertions. You don’t get total creative freedom. Remember that, because it’s a factor that can make or break it for some.
Look, I won’t bullshit you. Freelance Writing is a job. It’s a real job. You’re selling your skills and receiving money in return. You cannot, and I repeat, cannot get by on your basic skills alone. As a Freelancer, you are only as valuable as you make yourself. If your competition has a good skill that you don’t have, you’re losing out. You need to constantly be improving yourself and your skills in order to remain ahead.
You Have To Learn New Skills
Ever hear of Evolution? You’re a smart person, of course you have! If you can’t adapt, you will die out. Just like in nature, freelancing requires you to adapt. You need to learn new skills all the time. Whether it’s researching, SEO-writing, Ghostwriting, whatever you can think of!
You need to face this basic fact: Whatever you can do, someone else can do better. You need to find a way to do it better than the next person. So your goal is to constantly improve. You can’t just write your way to the top. You’re only as valuable as you make yourself. Being good at some skills can literally land you the client by the slightest margin. If you’re slightly better at just one thing compared to your competition, you are more likely to get the job. It’s an arms-race out there.
If you suck at researching, learn it! If you have no idea what SEO is, learn it! If you’ve never written under a deadline, fucking learn how! You cannot be sub-par. You have to always strive for the best. There’s no way around it. Make yourself the writer that people want to hire.
You Will Never Have Enough Time
This is no fucking joke. I was under the impression that working from home would be awesome! I would be able to sleep in and work on a few hundred words, then call it a day. Haha, nope. Unless you’re a high-earning, popular Freelance Writer, your days are probably going to be filled with hours upon hours of work. 45-hour work weeks? Wouldn’t that be bliss!
Also, it’s important to remember that if you’re doing this part-time with the hopes of turning it into a full-time thing, you are kissing all your free time goodbye. If you’re about to do it full time, expect to be working as much, if not more than you would with a normal job. Even if you work a long day and get a lot done, there will always be something that you couldn’t get done that day.
Did you manage to score some free-time after all? Good job! Now you can spend that time marketing yourself! I mean it! There’s no such thing as too much marketing. Keep your social media up to date and filled with content (at least your blog and Twitter). Tweet whenever you can (but don’t Tweet a bunch of crap). Your free-time is an opportunity you need to take advantage of. Take weekends off though. You’re not a fucking robot… Are you? ARE YOU?
Getting Started Is The Hardest Part
This can be interpreted two ways. You could be happy in knowing that things will get (marginally) easier from here. Or you could be bummed that you have to work your hardest right off the bat. Whether you adhere to either of these two points of view, you have to accept the crucial, yet unavoidable fact that the hardest work is what you’ll face first. It’s an unfortunate fact, but a true one.
It makes sense though. Of course you’ll have to work hard at breaking into the industry. Not only do you have to work at building your skills, finding new clients, making a name for yourself, etc. You’ll also have to set up all of your social media accounts (you WILL need some), build your connections, grow your portfolio, etc. There is a lot you have to get done before clients start coming to you.
Becoming a successful Freelance Writer is a slow, and steady climb upwards. If you can’t deal with all the work you’ll need to do to take off, then you’ll never learn to fly. If you’re willing to get into an industry where you jump right into the hardest work, then you’re already a step in the right direction.
You Will Have Tons Of Competition
Whether you like it or not, you will always have competition. Now for some that’s no big deal. Competition is good right? Sure. Just be prepared to deal with the fact that you’ll have to outperform others on a constant basis. There is always someone better than you.
Not only will the competition be better than you at certain skills, but they will also outdo you in other ways. They will have more experience than you, or they will have more credentials than you. Perhaps they’ll have more time or they’ll offer better rates. Perhaps they’ll just have more established clients. Whatever the case, you better get used to it. This is why getting started is the hardest part. You have to outdo others from the ground up.
Luckily this doesn’t have to be the end of you. Even if people are better than you or more established than you, you can still make it. This whole list has been me just shitting on the idea of becoming a Freelance Writer with quick, and easy success. While it is true that it won’t be easy, there are still a whole list of reasons why I still do it.
Why I Still Choose This Path (A List):
- Though it’s hard fucking work, it’s so much fun! It feels great slowly building yourself up and being noticed more and more. When you finally hit that first paying client (regardless of the pay) you get this rush that cannot be described!
- It’s way better than a “day-job”. You are your own boss. You can work in your underwear if you wanted to! It’s casual Friday, every day! Also you can set your own hours. You can work at home and eat right out of your fridge! Did I mention that you can work in your underwear?
- It builds useful skills for my Novel-Crafting. Learning how to write concisely and under a deadline will greatly improve your own writing-capabilities. Not to mention being able to research very effectively (contrary to popular belief, Wikipedia is not always your friend). Trust me, Novel-Crafting requires a lot of research, and knowing how to do that well is invaluable.
- To reiterate the previous point slightly: it will make you a better writer. You’ll learn how to use proper grammar, you’ll learn how paragraphs work, you’ll constantly be increasing your typing speed. Overall, you’ll just be a better writer than you were before.
- Your audience will grow. Now this seems odd, but to anyone who has tried to publish before, it makes sense. If you’re publishing traditionally, you’ll still need an audience to market your book to. If you’re self-publishing, having an audience can be the difference between a best-seller or a complete dud. Building an audience is a vital step for any writer.
- It establishes you as a competent writer. Before people buy your book (or publish it, for that matter) it helps to have somewhere you can point them to so they can see if they like your style. It’s a great way to attract people to your book. Being able to ensure that a writer is good at what they do will make your more willing to buy their work.
- Arguably the best advantage of being a Freelance Writer is that you will be able to earn money while you do what you love. If you love writing in all its forms, you will undoubtedly love being able to do it and earn a living. It’s a way to live your dreams! Rejoice!
While Freelance Writing is hard work (and I can’t stress that enough), it is immensely satisfying and rewarding. If you’re a new Freelance Writer looking to break into the industry, then make sure to heed my words before you proceed. It is not a path for the weak, but if you can brave it, it is amazing!