Freelance writing might be the perfect occupation if you enjoy writing and you want to work for yourself; but before becoming a freelance writer, there are a few things you should know. Not that you can’t enjoy life as a writer. There is the flexibility of being your own boss, plus you can control your income. But this life is not all sunshine and roses. Here are seven things you need to know before becoming a freelance writer.
1. You Might Be Broke
Before becoming a freelance writer, realize that you might be broke in the beginning. It takes time to build a freelance business, and it can be months before you find steady clients. For that matter, consider getting a part-time job to supplement your income until you build up your clientele.
2. You Have to Work Longer and Harder
As an employee, your boss is responsible for advertising the company and bringing in new clients. If you become a freelance writer, this responsibility falls on you. Therefore, you can expect to work longer and harder. The truth is, your life might revolve around work — at least in the beginning. You might have to pull several long nights and sacrifice your weekends.
3. You May Hate Your Assignments
If you're fortunate enough to find plenty of work in your chosen niches, freelance writing can be a fun job. But the truth is, there isn't always enough work in certain areas. You might have to accept assignments that aren't the most interesting. This can result in long, painful work days since you’ll have to research and write material that's outside your comfort zone.
4. You Might Have Physical Effects
As a freelance writer, you will spend the majority of your days researching information and typing at your computer. Therefore, you may experience physical effects of your work. This can include tension headaches from looking at a bright screen for hours; carpal tunnel syndrome from typing; and mental fatigue. However, you can avoid many symptoms with plenty of rest, a proper diet, exercise and frequent breaks.
5. You’ll Need a Savings Account
There is no way to predict your workflow, and you might experience slow periods. This can be extremely stressful, especially if you rely solely on your freelance income. To get through slowdowns, you need a savings account. Therefore, don't begin a full-time freelance career until you have a three-month cash reserve.
6. You Have to Be Self-motivated
Since there isn't a boss monitoring you throughout the day, you have to be self-motivated. Your income is dependent on your productivity. With that said, being a freelance writer isn’t an excuse to sleep late and watch TV all day. There's plenty to do during the day, such as searching for clients, researching, writing and editing your work. To succeed, you need to view freelance writing as a real job.
7. Clients May Make Your Life Difficult
Just about every freelance writer can attest to this. The majority of your clients will be wonderful, but others will be a nightmare. Unfortunately, this is simply part of the business. Regardless of who you have to deal with, always maintain your professionalism; and if a client starts to make your life miserable, you can choose to terminate the relationship.
If you have excellent writing skills and a desire to work for yourself, a career as a freelance writer might be the perfect pick for you. Just make sure you understand what you're getting yourself into.
What additional tips can you offer aspiring freelance writers?