Before I launched my business earlier this year, I didn’t know much about freelance writing for a living.
Then, armed with a passion for content creation and the drive to make a living out of that passion, I began to research. In fact, I researched my hiney off.
I looked into successful bloggers and how they’d managed to build their careers from scratch, I took online courses and I also read a ton of books from freelance coaches and specialists.
Through this extensive research, I gave myself the tools I needed to get my freelance writing business off the ground. As a result, slowly but surely, the clients came flooding in.
I still feel like there’s still so much more I want to achieve. That said, I feel fortunate that I have a growing client base, steady work and I get to spend every day doing something that I love.
Sure, I’ve made mistakes and learned many lessons thus far in my freelance writing journey, and I’m sure there are a lot more to come! However, I wouldn’t change my experience for the world.
Want to know specifics? Read on for 6 things I learned during six months of being in the biz that may help you on your own journey.
1. Freelance Writing is Super Profitable
The great thing about freelance writing, or any service-based business, is that you have minimal overheads.
Yes, I had to get rid of my sucky six-year-old laptop from my time at university and invest in a new one. I also had to buy a new desk and chair to work on, develop a website and create business cards.
But I’ve done all that now within a six-month period.
In fact, I earned back the money that I initially spent in the first couple of months. Therefore, ever since month three, my business has been profitable – and continues to grow each month at an exponential rate. (Wahoo!)
Needless to say, freelance writing for a living takes a lot of dedication, determination and hard work, but it’s a rewarding business both emotionally and financially. And that’s a win, win situation if you ask me.
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 much more reasonable $75.
Sure, websites such as Upwork and Freelancer can be useful. They’re a good resource for finding clients and building an initial portfolio, especially when you’re brand new to freelance writing.
That said, the trick is to not linger on these platforms too much due to their substantial fees and low-rate projects.
Instead, keep an eye out for work on high-quality job boards like ProBlogger and Freelance Writing Jobs and check them regularly! Do you know the saying “the early bird catches the worm”? Well, it applies to this industry too.
You also need to be marketing yourself via your website, social media channels (such as Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram) and send cold emails to companies that you could possibly offer your services to.
Why? Well, because I’ve learned that this is how you find high-paying clients.
3. The Freelance Writing Community is Awesome
From sharing tips and advice in Facebook groups to helping others out via tweets, one thing that has astounded me since I started my biz is how incredibly supportive the freelance writing community is.
(Seriously, you guys rock!)
It goes without saying that being a freelancer can get a little lonely sometimes, especially because we work from home and don’t have co-workers to bounce around ideas with.
Most of the time, it’s just me writing blog posts in my loungewear and #livingthedream! (Pyjamas are a misconception.)
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 freelancers who I’ve clicked with so much since starting my business (I’m looking at YOU, Daniel Mattia) and I now consider as dear, lifelong friends.
Being a part of these social media communities is like having colleagues that you don’t see every day, but you still get to speak to. And you know what? It’s simply lovely.
(FYI, my favourite blogging Facebook groups are Jorden Makelle’s “Writing Revolters” and Elna Cain’s “Mom to Mompreneur.” Why not get involved in the conversation? I promise you won’t regret it.)
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. Sob.
I’ve recently heard about “clients” who post a job board advertisement, 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 horrible 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 does happen a lot.
One of the key lessons I’ve learned in the last six months is that you’ve got to be careful who you trust. There are also clients who seem so nice that you rely on their emails as your only form of a written agreement, and then they suddenly go MIA and you don’t get paid for the work that you’ve already submitted.
Don’t let this happen to you. Always have a contract in place prior to starting any work with a new client 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
Being self-employed means that you have to work at all times if you want to earn money. You have to work through vacations, personal days and sick days. Otherwise, you won’t get paid.
In other words, it takes a lot of discipline to be able to keep a freelance writing business going. Even if it’s successful, it doesn’t just run itself. (But, how amazing would it be if it did one day? *Daydreams*)
Full disclosure: I’ve worked harder than ever before to build my freelance writing biz over the last six months. And when I’m not working, I find it difficult to switch off.
It made me realise that 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.
6. This is the Best Job I’ve Ever Had
Finally, you should know that you’re always going to have bad days as a freelance writer.
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 to make a living.
Having said that, 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 writing, 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 away from you.
Lots of Freelance Writing Lessons Still to Be Learned
I feel like I’ve come a long way in the past six months that I’ve been freelance writing for a living. However, I’ve still got a long way to go!
As it stands, I never want to do anything else for a career. I feel like this is my true calling in life and I love it with everything I have and everything that I am.
If you’re as passionate about freelance writing as I am, there’s no reason why you can’t make a living from it too. Here’s to the next six months!
What are the lessons you learned during your first six months of freelance writing? Let me know in the comments!