Imagine working at home whenever you like, enjoying the freedom of a flexible daily schedule, and getting to make a living doing what you love. It may sound like a daydream, but for freelance writers, it’s very much a reality. If you love to write and you’re prepared to take on the challenges that come with a freelancing career, there’s no better time than now to take the plunge!
While it might sound like a daunting goal, freelancing isn’t nearly as difficult to get into as you might assume. In fact, there are people of all professional backgrounds who work as freelancers, whether on a full-time or part-time basis. If you’re wondering whether or not you have what it takes to join their ranks, it’s worth taking the time to consider why freelancing might be a good career choice for you.
What Freelancing Is—and What It Isn’t
For the people who love it, freelancing is a craft, a career, and a calling. It’s important to realize, however, that the definition of freelancing isn’t as straightforward as you might assume. In essence, a freelancer is somebody who is self-employed. Rather than working for a single employer, you usually write for multiple clients at once. Even if you write for a publication or website on a regular basis, you can still consider yourself a freelancer if you aren’t actually an employee.
As a freelancer, there are numerous types of writing you can provide for your clients. Some of the most common categories of freelance writing include:
- Blog writing. Nearly every successful business has a blog. However, many business owners don’t have the time or ability to produce regular blog posts themselves. As a result, custom blog writing has become one of the most in-demand services for today’s freelancers.
- Social media posts. With more and more businesses developing a social media presence, demand is growing for writers who can provide customized social media content for sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. If you’re serious about freelancing, you owe it to yourself to familiarize yourself with these sites and the style they require.
- Copywriting. Copywriting refers to content that is written for the purposes of advertising. It may include everything from sales brochures to online product descriptions to press releases. As a growing number of businesses move their marketing efforts online, copywriting has become an increasingly internet-centered practice.
- Ghostwriting. Ghostwriting is content that appears under a name other than yours, such as an informational eBook that you write for a company that wants to distribute it to their customers. This may involve rewriting content provided by your client, or it may require coming up with completely original content.
- Editing and proofreading. Many clients will be looking for experienced freelance editors who can polish their content before publishing. Editing generally refers to improving the overall quality of a piece of writing, focusing on issues such as clarity and flow, while proofreading refers to reviewing writing for errors.
How to Tell Whether Freelancing Is Right For You
As you can see, the freelancing world is vast and diverse enough to make room for a lot of different types of writers. What might not be clear at first, however, is how you would fit into that world. You might be wondering whether or not you would be able to find jobs, or whether the schedule would suit your personality. Can you really see yourself as a freelancer?
Here are some signs that you might be especially suited to freelancing:
You’re a self-motivated worker.
If you’re going to thrive as a freelancer, you need to be a self-disciplined person. After all, freelancers work for themselves—they don’t have anyone supervising them or pushing them to get their work done. As an independent, self-employed writer, you’re in charge of finding yourself assignments and finishing them before they’re due. Can you imagine making a weekly schedule for yourself and sticking to it? If you have the strength to hold yourself accountable and manage your time well, freelancing may be a good fit for your personality.
You like to learn.
Most writers have a niche topic—or more than one—that they know a lot about and enjoy writing about. As a freelancer, however, you can’t always afford to be choosy about your assignments. Chances are, you’ll eventually find yourself having to write about subjects that you don’t know much about. If you’re a naturally curious person who enjoys seeking out new information, you’ll do well as a freelancer. Learning how to do fast and accurate research online—and knowing how to distinguish trustworthy sources from less reliable ones—is an important skill you’ll need to learn for your new career.
You’re an organized person.
Freelancers tend to work on more than one writing assignment at once. This means that they need to be good at juggling multiple projects. If your desk is perpetually stacked with papers and you’re constantly struggling to catch up with unread emails, you’ll need to become more organized if you want to become a successful freelancer. Fortunately, this is a learnable skill! If you feel disorganized, buy yourself a desk calendar, clean off your desktop, and practice focusing on one individual task at a time. Rather than rejecting the idea of freelancing because you don’t think you have the organization skills, treat this as an opportunity to make a positive change in your life.
You have excellent communication skills.
In addition to being a talented writer, a successful freelance writer is also capable of communicating clearly and proactively with other people. You’ll need to be able to compose strong, succinct pitches and write fast follow-up emails. Depending on the type of freelancing you’re doing, you may even need to learn how to do interviews. If you want to be a successful freelance writer, it’s worth taking the time to learn to be a more effective communicator.
Not every aspiring freelancer will find the jobs they want right away. In fact, you might have to plow away at your new profession for some time before you begin finding jobs that fit your interests, or that allow you to fulfill your career goals. If you want to be successful, you need to dedicate yourself and refuse to let setbacks discourage you. Throw yourself wholeheartedly into any new projects, even if you aren’t personally enthusiastic about them. Treat every new assignment as a learning opportunity. The more diligent you are, the more likely it is that your efforts will pay off.
What the Perks of Freelancing Are
Even if you’ve decided that freelancing might be a good fit for you, you’re probably wondering whether it’s truly worth your time to get into it. Freelancing, after all, is a major commitment of your time and energy. Fortunately, there are plenty of benefits to balance the challenges of freelancing. These are some of the advantages of a career as a freelance writer:
You can work wherever you want.
The greatest perk of becoming a freelancer is being able to work in any setting. As long as you have a device with a word processing program and an internet connection, you can work anywhere. If you don’t feel like working at home, you can go to a coffee shop, a library, or any other public space. If you dislike the idea of working in an office environment every day, freelancing offers you a completely alternative path for your future.
You don’t have to stick to a regular schedule.
Every writer has their own approach to the creative side of the business. Sometimes, that might mean writing well into the early hours of the morning. It might mean working on your lunch break. It can even mean writing while you watch your favorite television show in the evening. In general, it’s important to be available to communicate with clients during regular business hours. However, being able to work at odd hours of the day is still one of the most notable benefits of the freelancing life.
You can earn extra money on the side.
Not every freelancer decides to get into writing as a full-time profession. Fortunately, you don’t have to. Even if you don’t want to abandon your current career, you can still use freelancing to take small jobs on the side and earn some extra income for yourself. If you have writing skills and want to use them to make money, freelancing is the perfect gig.
You won’t be doing the same thing over and over.
Many people hate the idea of doing the same type of work repeatedly. One of the major benefits of freelance writing is that you’ll tackle a variety of different types of writing projects. You’ll write about topics you weren’t previously familiar with, and research areas you don’t know well. In fact, you’ll probably become an expert on a lot of random topics! Many people enjoy freelancing because it allows for such varied, interesting work.
You’ll have more creative freedom.
If you’re like most writers, you want to be able to write about what you want. Freelancing offers you more power to do this than any other profession. After all, you get to pick the jobs you have an interest in doing. While you will need to work with editors to polish and revise the writing you submit, freelance writers still enjoy a lot of creative freedom compared to writers who are employed full-time.
You’ll be working on your own terms.
If you don’t like working for a boss, freelancing offers a possible solution. As an independent worker, you decide what rates you’re willing to work for, who you want to work with, and what you want to write about. Instead of having the details of your job dictated to you, you come up with them on your own. For many people, the freedom and independence offered by freelancing is more than enough to offset the challenges.
If you’re looking for the resources you’ll need as a freelancer, Writers Work should be your first stop. We offer you the career training, informed advice, and practical tools you need to get your career off on the right foot. Our goal is to make it as simple and straightforward as possible to become a freelancer, whether you want to pursue it on a full-time basis or simply whenever you have time. To get started, visit our website and check out our introductory video today!