Wednesday, April 22, 2009

So you want to be a Freelancer

As I work (slowly) towards becoming a published novelist, I spend my time doing freelance work. I was fortunate and blessed enough to have opportunities come along in the past two or three years that finally allowed me to stay home full-time. I absolutely love being available to my kids and the freedom to manage my own time and work load (however poorly I happen to do that - discipline is not necessarily one of my strengths!). But, in my opinion, working from home offers the best of both worlds.

In case you're curious, my current freelance work includes writing 3 monthly newsletters, conducting 2 interviews per month, writing weekly content articles, sending out daily welcome and informational letters for two different websites, and moderating a couple of forums communities. Additionally, I pick up occasional editing and proofreading jobs and, a few months ago, I regularly started submitting to magazines and greeting card companies again after a lengthy slacking-off period. While I'm not doing my freelance work, I maintain my blog, network to build my platform and, of course, try to make progress on the three novels I have going. Not to mention try to keep my household running smoothly and the laundry pile from rivaling the Himalayas.

In short, I keep pretty busy.

So anyway, I know there are many of you who want to break into the freelancing business but don't quite know where to begin. I thought I'd provide some links for you to check out that will start you on your way. First, though, here are some things to keep in mind:
  • Patience is mandatory. Building your freelancing business won't happen overnight. Jobs and clients may be few and far between, especially at first, until you create a name for yourself and a good reputation to go along with it.
  • If it seems too good to be true... You know the saying and I can't stress it enough here. So many people still fall into the scam trap because dollar signs are blurring their vision. Listen to your gut. Research the company and ask around before jumping in.
  • Be reliable. Deliver by the deadline (before, when possible) and give 100%. Reliability is the #1 thing that keeps clients coming back (and passing along your name)
  • Be flexible. By this, I mean to be open to what they client asks for. Even if it's not something you're used to or know much about, be willing to learn. Drag racing may not be your cup of tea but that doesn't mean you can't write about it. And if the client asks you to revise your article, don't immediately resist. Remember, they're paying you to do a job for them the way they want it done.
  • Persistence is key. To persist does not mean to annoy. But if at first your article is not accepted, try, try again. Articles can be rejected for many different reasons so don't take it personally. Make a list of potential publications and as soon as you receive a rejection, send it to the next place on your list. Unfortunately, discouragement is common among freelancers and is the #1 reason for quitting. But pressing through is the main thing that will determine whether or not your business becomes a success.
  • Say no. Wouldn't it be nice to get to the point where you have so many jobs coming in that you need to turn some down? I'm totally not there yet but one can dream... But there have been a few times when the project I was offered just wasn't something I felt I could do. And there have been times when I knew my schedule wouldn't allow me to complete the job within the time frame the client expected and I had to say no. See the BE RELIABLE tip. It's better to say no from the start than to agree and not deliver. now on to some links. Bookmark them and browse at your convenience.

THE ULTIMATE WRITING GUIDE - This link is actually to a previous blog post of mine where I tell about why you should purchase this guide. It is a MUST for all writers wanting to break in to the business of freelancing. There is a button on the right column of my blog. Click through from there to order this guide. You won't regret it!

ABOUT FREELANCE WRITING - Excellent information! I highly encourage you to sign up for Anne Wayman's newsletter. Receive dozens of writing opportunities weekly.


WRITING CAREER COACH (Tiffany Colter's blog)

WRITER'S MARKET - I subscribe to Writer' (it's $40 per year and completely tax deductible). This is a great resource because it gives you thousands of markets to which you can submit your work. Besides the guidelines, it also provides a place for you to track your submissions. Some of the best money you'll ever spend.

SALLY STUART'S CHRISTIAN WRITERS' MARKET GUIDE - While I highly recommend purchasing the yearly updated book of guidelines because of the HUGE amount of information and guidelines offered, at least check out the website. There are some markets listed there, as well. Also, FaithWriters 500 members receive a generous discount on this book!

WRITER'S DIGEST - Great website with valuable information on all aspects of writing. If you can't afford to purchase the magazine (another wonderful tool), at least bookmark the website. (By the way, FaithWriters 500 members receive a generous discount on the magazine)


There are plenty more where these come from, but at least this list will get you started. Hope it helps! Feel free to leave your comments with tips, information or links not included in this post.

Happy freelancing!

1 comment:

Jan Cline said...

Awesome and informative post! You are an inspiration to those who want to freelance and have to juggle everything else to do it!