By Amanda Smyth Connor
The life of a freelancer. Oh sure, it sounds glamorous. Make your own hours! Be your own boss! Work from home in your footy pajamas with the funny butt-flap!
In reality, the life of a freelancer is tough, can lack stability and can really cramp your lifestyle if you don’t plan accordingly. Before you quit your job, burn your business suits and throw caution to the wind, be aware of what you are in for.
Freelance writing isn’t just a career path that you jump into. It’s no good saying “hello world! I’m a freelancer now! Hire me!” It takes hard work and dedication, as with any job, but it also takes intense self-motivation, self-discipline and a TON of networking. Not to mention that you also need to be an incredibly reliable and consistently solid writer.
Freelance-Zone has loads of wonderful posts devoted to how to become a freelancer, how to break into the biz and how to get better assignments, but this post serves as a warning to any timid newbies out there considering making the jump. This is not a career choice that is to be taken lightly. I would recommend holding down that stable day job while making this transition and getting your feet wet in the field of freelancing before making any serious life-changing decisions. I would also recommend having an healthy savings account and/or a spouse/partner with a great salary. Freelancing is not for the faint of heart.
Starting out in freelancing, more often than not, means long hours, learning how to deal with editors, writer’s block, crappy assignments (writing copy for the Department of Sanitation? Yes please!) low pay and major stress over where your next paycheck will come from. It will also mean busting your hump to put together articles and copy that may or may not be used/paid for. Freelancing may also require you to develop a fondness for Ramen Noodles (I like mine molten-lava hot.)
Finding success in the world of freelancing is incredibly challenging, but if you are truly passionate about writing, don’t mind taking on assignments that suck from time to time and are committed to this merciless industry, than by all means, welcome aboard! We’re glad to have you.