Are you looking for a slower paced job where you can be your own boss and make your own hours?
Are you a stay-at-home mom looking to make a little extra money while the kiddos sleep?
Maybe you’re a starving college student just trying to make a little extra beer money?
No matter your walk in life, I highly recommend looking into freelance writing!
To give you a little background on myself, I am a stay-at-home, work-from-home mamma of two boys who — shortly after getting married — found out she was having a baby. Since I had recently finished college, I wanted to continue to work (even if it wasn’t in broadcast journalism, which was my major), but also had the desire to stay home and raise my babies.
Enter the world of freelance.
Shortly after my husband accepted an amazing network engineering position in Denver, we moved, got settled into our new apartment, and then I began to brainstorm just what I wanted to do for work. A few months later, an opportunity presented itself with my hometown museum and I took a (very) part-time position managing and brainstorming their print and social media marketing. Even though I was making a few extra hundred dollars a month for our savings, I was still interested in doing more, which is when I began scouring Craigslist for remote writing and marketing positions.
Maybe a month after I started my Craigslist search, I stumbled upon a freelance writing gig that I have had for nearly two years now that has been such a blessing for not only our savings and vacation accounts, but also in terms of friendships and my overall sanity (after a long day with the kids, it is nice to retreat to my computer and just write for an hour or two).
Now I know that everyone has different experiences in the world of freelance, but I wanted to share mine with you and give you all a few tips that I have picked up along the way.
1.) Research, research, research!
No, I don’t mean research your article (in this case, anyway) — I mean to research any potential companies you may be working/writing for. Like I mentioned earlier, I found my on-going job on Craigslist, which is a site notorious for scams and sketch, but made sure to check out the company I would be applying for before going any further. (In this case, it was easy as they had linked to their site and had an email address pertaining to it). If you are applying for separate jobs through a site like UpWork or Freelancer, be sure to check out both the site (on reviews sites like Glassdoor) and potential client before going forward.
2.) If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
See: Craigslist… If you gut is telling you that something isn’t checking out about a certain opportunity, there is probably a reason for it.
3.) Know what to expect (and get organized).
Congratulations; you just scored your first job! Like I said in the intro, working freelance is something that I truly enjoy, but — like any job — it comes with a few disadvantages that you should be aware of. For example, you need to get organized… and pronto. You are more than likely on a deadline of some sort, so make sure you stick to it by coming up with a timeline, creating a schedule, or whatever else works best for you. Something else you should be made aware of is that working from home can get a little lonely (unless, of course, you have two little tykes jumping on you the entire time), so make sure to set aside some time to go for a walk, run to the store, or even just work from a coffee shop, which brings me to my next point…
4.) Save those receipts!
Whether you decide to get a frilly latte at your local chain coffee shop or find a little restaurant with great WiFi, save those receipts, as they can be be deducted from your taxes! Also, if you ever have to travel somewhere for work, be sure to jot down the date, mileage, and purpose of your trip, as this can also be used as a tax write-off. (I keep a little pocket calendar in the center console of my car for this exact reason.)
5.) Don’t read the comments (optional)
You are going to get differing opinions on this one, but I prefer to not read comments… You can have 100 people say that your work is wonderful and that you’re a great writer, but if 1 person calls you a name or says something rude whilst hiding behind their computer screen, it may be the only thing you remember. (Like I said, this varies from person to person, but I am always tempted to comment something not-so nice back to the trolls, which only adds more stress and fuel to the fire.)
6.) Use a pen name (optional)
Also speaking from experience, I recommend either using a pen name or simply leaving your last name off your work… the reason? I can’t tell you the number of (mostly nice) messages I have received on my personal FB page when I had my full name on my work, which made me feel nervous and uneasy. Again, this is totally a preference thing — I’m just speaking from my personal experience
7.) Enjoy the ride
I have worked in media since I was 17 and can honestly say that working for myself in freelance is the best decision I have ever made. Not only have I been able to stay home to raise my babies, I have been able to earn a great income whilst meeting new people and doing something that I truly enjoy. Your career may start off slow and bumpy, but don’t give up; you’ve got it in you to follow your dreams, be your own boss, and excel at your exciting new career!