Things You Only Thought You Knew About Freelance Writing

Every industry has its horror stories and freelancing is no different. There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about what it’s really like to work as a freelance writer. As a prior manager of a freelance writing pool to a newly converted freelancer myself, I can safely say many of the things I used to hold true about freelancing were anything but.

Freelancing is a Piece of Cake

piece of cakeFreelance writers work incredibly hard for the money they earn. While they have eliminated their daily commute to the office, most freelancers fill those “extra” commuting hours with work. Don’t get me wrong, working as a freelancer is extremely rewarding and flexible, but it’s not the same as working as an employee.

When you’re an employee, your manager cares about your process and your progress; if you’re bombarded with work and are overwhelmed with deadlines, he can ease your workload and reassign tasks to other team members. As a freelancer, your client only cares about your deliverable. It doesn’t matter whether it took you 30 minutes or three hours to complete an article, the finished product is all that matters, and if you’re drowning in deadlines it’s up to you to find a life boat.

You’ll Make Tons of Money

Many freelancer writers are able to make a comfortable income, but that’s not true for everyone. The competition in the writing world can be tough and you have to keep up on what’s current and trending. If you put the work in to get clients and prove yourself you’re likely to do well, but you have to work hard to build a solid pipeline of high paying clients to make a comfortable living.

You Can Work When and Where You Want

While this can be true for some freelance jobs, it’s not always the case with freelance writing. Sure, you select the clients you want to work with and how much work to take on every month, but you still have to make a living. Odds are you’re going to have to take jobs that don’t excite you 100% of the time. Your contract may have specific hours that you need to be available. You can’t work on the beach with a margarita in your hand every day.

Freelancing is Risky

Freelancing doesn’t have to be risky business if you make the transition from working as an employee wisely. There’s usually the feeling of feast and famine in the freelance writing world – either your clients want all of your time or no new projects are coming in. While this may sound chancy, it’s easy to prepare for the famine by stashing extra money aside when you’re enjoying a smorgasbord of work.

You Can Work in Your Pajamas on the Couch

pajamasIt is true freelancers have the flexibility to choose where to work every day. But the truth is, working on the couch and not getting dressed day after day can lead to depression and feelings of loneliness. Working on the couch also ignites the temptation to turn on the TV or take a nap, negatively effecting productivity.

While it might not hurt to work in your pajamas once in awhile, it’s best to get dressed for work every day and carve out a special place in your home to work. That way you can leave your home office at the end of the day and focus on the important things in your life.

What did you assume about being a freelancer before you started working as one?

Sarah is the Content Manager and a Writer at Virtual Vocations, the one-stop shop for telecommuters looking for legit jobs. With several years of marketing and writing experience, Sarah managed a group of freelance writers for a marketing firm before venturing out into the telecommute world. Follow Sarah on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook.


2 responses
  1. John Soares Avatar

    Very good points Sarah. I’ve been a full-time freelance writer for nearly 20 years and I can say from experience that what you say is true.

    I make a point to work out of the house several days a week, most often at the Southern Oregon University library, which is just a 15-minute walk from my home. It has fast Internet, and I can usually find a quiet corner or empty study room.

  2. Noemi Tasarra-Twigg Avatar
    Noemi Tasarra-Twigg

    “But the truth is, working on the couch and not getting dressed day after day can lead to depression and feelings of loneliness.”

    Epiphany! 😉

    Seriously, though, this is how I have worked for the better part of 3 years. I know it’s a situation where “each to his own” applies, I am looking at making some changes when when I change apartments in a month, and I think your “get dressed every day” tip will be at the top of my list. Crossing my fingers.

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