Recent articles and blog posts are covering the life of a freelancer while organizations like Freelancer Union are forming to provide a place to get assistance and benefits provisions. It’s an exciting time to be a freelance writer like myself because now there are more opportunities, better pay, and the ability to seek out competitive health insurance.
This was not always the case. When I started 13 years ago as a freelance copywriter, I wasn’t sure if it would really work. I had a full-time position for a public relations and strategic marketing agency that promised steady work and income. However, I was just about to give birth to my first child and the prospect of leaving him to travel more than 70 miles one way to my job was not appealing at all. The commute had already been wearing me down with some journeys home taking more than a few hours. It wasn’t what I wanted out of life.
Instead, I wanted more flexibility and greater challenges. At the time, though, creating a career on my terms didn’t seem that realistic. I didn’t know if my present employer would still provide any work let alone where else could I find jobs from? After doing some research, I discovered some possibilities, including a new freelance website called Guru.com and some academic writing service agencies in the UK.
As a two-income family, there was something to fall back on, but the future was still quite uncertain at that point. I ended up taking on a swimming pool maintenance route in my husband’s business to help him out, fill in my time while I worked on getting writing gigs, and to provide income.
Fast forward about three years. With a second child on the way, my freelance writing had slowly picked up to the point where I gave up being the best female pool cleaner in the Antelope Valley. While many of the writing gigs paid less than a job at McDonald’s, it was a way to start getting some experience that I could leverage to get better paying writing assignments. As time went by, I added more clients who passed my name onto others while more freelance job sites started to appear online.
In the present, I can say that I’ve never been so busy as I am now. I’ve even started turning down lower-paying jobs in the last couple years and focused on building long-term relationships with clients that offer those kinds of opportunities. It’s fun, flexible, and lucrative plus it gives me a way to always be present for my kids and take those great adventures to Australia and New Zealand without dealing with an employer who is less than pleased with a month’s break.
Is it easy to be a freelancer? No.
Does it take time to build a career? Yes.
Is it for everyone? That depends. You need to plan and understand what’s different in a freelance career compared to that 9-to-5 job, how to approach it, and what can go wrong.
Is it a satisfying career? Absolutely! I can’t imagine ever going back to a “normal” job.