Is freelance writing the right career move for you?
Stuck in a dead-end job? No career growth? Need more cash? Here's how to tell if freelance writing is for you.
If you're reading this article, we bet that you're new to the game.
Welcome to the world of freelancing and buckle up because the journey is bumpy but highly rewarding and satisfying.
Let’s start by talking about how the future of work is changing now. Lately, there are a lot more people taking up more side hustles due to economic instabilities, among other things. Having a part-time job or engaging in freelance work allows you to earn extra cash amidst these hard times.
If we take a look at what’s happening right now, we could see how the labor market is restructuring – more people are disgruntled with the “old normal” and prefer flexibility. Hence why the gig economy is thriving and why many are demanding remote working from employers.
According to BBC, the gig economy is a labor market where freelance work or short-term contracts are more common than permanent positions.
From opposing party perspectives, it is either a workplace that allows for flexibility in terms of job hours or it is a type of exploitation with little worker protection. Freelancers, independent contractors, project-based employees, and temporary or part-time personnel are a few examples of gig workers.
But first: Who is freelance writing for?
Unfortunately, not everyone can be a freelance writer, and especially not inexperienced writers. It is typically a career path for mid, senior or professional writers and/or journalists looking for flexible or remote work.
When you decide to be a freelancer, you are your own boss and HR. From searching for clients, negotiating writing fees, and deciding the working length — the flexibility afforded makes it a popular career choice.
There are different kinds of freelance writing, based on niches, or as they call it in the journalism industry, beats.
Although you can become a generalist, specializing in topic and form niches are better if you want to get your name out there and stand out from the competition.
Topic (or industry) niches include things like business, finance, tech, health, music, and plenty others. Form niches include articles, white papers, research, reports, press releases, books, etc.
Pick one or a few that you have experience in, and work with your editors to improve your skills at your craft.
Getting started as a freelance writer
In this gig economy, the demand for freelancers is higher than ever.
Creating a portfolio is important to help prospective clients understand what you can do. And there’s no better way than having your own website that consists of your published works with clients' testimonials in it.
Showcasing your work helps you build credibility and for the client, it’d help them to learn how you write in your niche.
It doesn’t have to be a grand or fancy website. A simple wordpress site would do just fine. Or you could use ContentGrow’s signature 100% free portfolio as well.
Beware the drawbacks
Unfortunately, being a freelancer also has its cons. Since you're in charge of everything, you’re essentially doing your own business, so everything from accounting, to marketing, to tax filing is all on you.
Here are some things you need to consider before embarking on the journey of freelance writing.
Starting out as a freelance writer is not easy at all – you can trust us on this. As such, it is important to build your network from your previous jobs as a source of prospective clients, and maintain good relationships with them.
One tip is to have active professional social media profiles such as LinkedIn or Twitter that links to your portfolio, so prospective clients can learn more about you and communicate with you on these platforms.
When you’re not experienced, you’re most likely to experience unfair treatment such as having below the standard fee with a high list of demand jobs.
It would be wise for you to prepare your profile, portfolio and research on the market rates for your niches before agreeing to taking on any job.
Some clients are great, some are utterly terrible. As such, establishing proper terms and conditions before undertaking work is essential, such as through a legal document.
In this case, either a contract for services or a simple agreement dictating turnaround time, payment fee, payment window, and even the number of revisions allowed will make expectations clear for everyone.
Register as a business
Consider safeguarding yourself by establishing a legal barrier between your personal and business assets. This means registering your services as a business, and having a separate bank account for it.
Most freelancers choose sole proprietorships as their primary business structure. All revenue is disclosed on the owner's tax return, and it is simple to set up depending on the tax laws of each country.
Registering your business as a freelancer brings you more benefits than disadvantages. A sole proprietorship provides you with total control of your business and also helps you to appear more professional. Last but not least, it gives you the ability to have a business that is not based on your name.
So what do you think? Are you ready to be a freelancer?
ContentGrow is a freelance writer's secret weapon for landing vetted inbound clients. The platform matches each client with niche-appropriate writers at preferred rates. Sign up to get your invite and free portfolio here.