Writer. Thinker. Strategist. Creative Tight Rope Walker.

Oh, How I Wish I Knew from the Start: Why There Should be a Guide to Freelancing

By Joshua Utley

Let me start by saying, I am not writing a guide to freelancing. What I learned the hard (yet easier than most) way you will all have to learn on your own in a most likely harder way. Seriously, it can be a nightmare and I have to say just how lucky—I don’t believe in luck, blessed I was actually—to enter freelancing with a few breaks.

Without my boss today, I definitely would not be where I am now and probably not working as a writer. Freelancing is not an easy path and it’s not always quite what you want it to be. However, it is work and, in this economy, that is a good place to start.

What I Wish I Had Known

The first thing I wish I had known was that I would have been an employed writer literally like two weeks after quitting a part-time merchandising job of three years that brought in a meager $400 a month while only working 6 hours. But, how it happened, I actually did not start until I happily left my private security job for the owner of some not named plumbing company.

The thought crossed my mind that, if I had held onto that merchandising job, I would have the two most perfect part-time jobs ever. Granted, that isn’t much to do with freelancing, but there is something very important to take from it when you are considering moving into freelance writing.

When you do start getting freelance work, don’t think the struggle is over and just up and quit that fast food job you were working. That is the stupidest mistake you could ever make and guess what, I totally made it. Learn from my mistakes. Work is good, but more work is great. So hold onto it and caffeinate. It is worth working the extra hours until you get your freelance writing income where it needs to be to support you.

I also wish I had known just how hard securing work could be. Sure, in this matter, I was quite blessed, as I had mentioned earlier on. If you don’t have some sort of contact into the world that may take a chance on you and actually pay something decent, there is one thing you can expect: You will be writing a few hundred words for about $2.00-$5.00 and often you will find yourself being screwed out of that pittance. When you can make more at the fast food joint than creating something, you know there is something wrong with the world.

Know this though — if you keep at it and don’t give in to the harsh nature of securing work, your client base will grow to like you and eventually work directly with you and pay you more.  Freelance work is tough, but if you love writing like me, then you will find that you can stick with it.

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