7 Questions to Consider Before Starting Your Freelance Writing Career
Photo by Jess Bailey
Now more than ever before, Americans are turning to freelance work in droves. According to a recent report, 35 percent of workers in the U.S. are freelancing, and 28 percent of them freelance full-time.
There are lots of freelance job opportunities out there these days. One of the most well-known, though, is freelance writing.
Have you ever thought about being a writer? Read on to learn seven questions you ought to ask yourself before launching into a freelance writing career.
1. Why Do I Want to Freelance?
There are lots of benefits that come with working as a freelance writer. Freelancers often experience higher levels of job satisfaction, for example, and they get to experience more flexibility and control over their day-to-day work environment.
Before you decide to give up your nine to five and dive to the world of freelancing, though, it’s important to make sure you have a clear understanding of why you want to freelance. Freelancing has benefits, but it’s hard work, too. Are you considering freelancing because you really want to do it, or are you just fed up with your current job and in need of a change?
There’s no right or wrong answer here. Be honest with yourself, though, about whether or not you’re getting into freelancing for the right reasons.
2. Can I Handle a Lack of Predictability?
While you’re considering whether or not freelance writing is truly a good fit for you, you ought to be sure to ask yourself if you can handle a lack of predictability.
When you work as a freelance writer, you won’t always have a steady stream of work coming in. This is especially true when you’re first getting started. Keep in mind that, because of this, you always won’t always have a steady amount of money coming in, either.
Because there’s a certain amount of unpredictability in freelancing, you need to be able to plan ahead if you want to make it as a writer. If you’re not good at budgeting and setting aside money to keep you afloat in times when work is scarce, you might have a hard time working on a freelance basis.
3. How Good Am I at Networking?
Some people develop an interest in freelancing because they like the idea of working by themselves and for themselves.
It’s true that, when you’re a freelance writer, you spend a lot of time alone (more on that in a minute). At the same time, though, if you’re not good at reaching out and communicating with others, it can be hard to make a name for yourself and attract clients.
The best freelancers know how to network and are good at connecting with others. If this is a challenge for you, you may want to work on your networking skills before you take on freelancing full-time.
4. Can I Handle Working Alone?
On the other end of the spectrum, some people get into freelance writing and then find that they often feel lonely. If you’re used to spending time with co-workers in an office every day, switching to freelance writing and working from home on your own will definitely be an adjustment.
There are ways to get around the challenge of working alone as a freelance writer. For example, you can find a coworking space or visit different coffee shops.
Both of these options can end up costing you a lot of money over time, though. You’ll need to make sure you’re budgeting for them appropriately. That way, all of your freelance writing paychecks won’t go to coworking memberships or expensive lattes.
5. How Good Am I at Staying Organized?
When you work as a freelance writer, in most cases, you don’t have a receptionist who helps you organize your client information or a bookkeeper who helps you handle your taxes. Especially when you’re first beginning your career, you’ll have to wear a lot of hats and work hard to keep everything organized.
If you struggle with organization and don’t have a talent for record-keeping, you may have a hard time building a sustainable career for yourself as a freelance writer. There are tools you can purchase to help fill in the gaps, but you’ll have to make room in your budget for them. As any freelancer will tell you, this isn’t always easy when you’re paychecks are unpredictable.
6. How Versatile Am I?
Eventually, when you’ve worked as a freelance writer long enough, you can have a lot more control over the type of writing that you do. You can decide that you’ll only do SEO writing, for example, or that you’ll only ghost-write memoirs.
In the beginning, though, most writers have to take what they can get. They have to be very versatile and willing to adapt to different clients’ writing styles and preferences.
Remember, when it comes to freelance writing, you have to give your clients what they want, even if it’s not what you want. If you have a hard time being flexible and adjusting your writing to different people’s needs, you may struggle as a freelance writer.
7. How Good Am I at Promoting Myself?
Finally, freelance writers need to know how to promote themselves. If you’re not good at talking up your work and demonstrating your value, you’re going to get passed over for someone else.
The freelance writing community is growing, and there are lots of people trying to make a name for themselves within the industry. If you want to stand out and land jobs, you’ll need to work on your ability to write pitches, make connections, and show clients what separates you from all the other writers out there.
Is a Freelance Writing Career Right for You?
There’s a lot you need to consider before diving into a freelance writing career. Ask yourself the questions outlined above and answer them honestly. That way, you can decide whether going freelance is a good option for you.
If you do think that freelance writing or freelance editing fits your needs and is a good career choice, we can help you get started at iWriter. Contact us today to learn more about and apply for one of our writing jobs.