Freelance Blog + success

Musings from the Past Year of Freelancing

This week marks one year ago that I left my job and started freelancing full time. Before that, I'd been writing on the side for about several years and there were a couple of personal and professional reasons why it made sense for me to go full time.

Still, it was scary. But here I am a year later in a better apartment with better assignments and still happy with my decision (most of the time).

If I could jump in a time machine and talk to my 24-year-old, newly self-employed self, here's what I'd tell her.

  • There will be days when you will not make a dime. And that's OK. You set high income goals for yourself, and you usually meet them. Sometimes you will have dry spells or will you have to spend a day doing activities that don't generate revenue (like organizing all those contracts sitting in your inbox or researching new queries). That does not make you a failure, it makes you a freelancer. Chances are good that next week you'll land a plum assignment or a big copywriting project, so hang in there.
  • There will be clients or editors who make outrageous demands. Like the guy who only wants to pay for words with at least three letters. Or the editor who demands a video clip on Friday afternoon and needs it Monday morning. Sometimes it's worthwhile to suck it up and get the job done. Sometimes it's not a relationship worth continuing. But it's up to you to make that decision. You're the one driving the bus. You call the shots.
  • There will be projects that will stretch your ability. Don't freak out or run away from a challenge! You'll figure out how to write search engine optimized blog posts for the legal industry and how to film a video blog without a camcorder. And you'll be that much better for having done it.
  • There will be plenty of successes, too. You'll teach writing, you'll get published in books, and you'll love the autonomy. A year from now you'll look at your portfolio and think, "wow, I can't believe I wrote that!" (in a good way). You'll make more money than you did in your last job, but more importantly, you'll be in charge of your time and projects.
What have you learned over the course of your freelance career? What do you know now that you'd known then?

Flickr photo courtesy of Shutter Daddy

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Musings from the Past Year of Freelancing + success