"Is a Freelance Writing Career the Right Choice for Me?"

Freelance Writing Myth and Reality
Freelance Writing Myth and Reality.

FAQ on the Freelance Writing Career

"Is a Freelance Writing Career the Right Choice for Me?"

Just about once a week I get a mid-career job changer, laid off worker, new graduate or miserable cube dweller that asks about freelance writing as a career. Sometimes I have a moment to look at their situation individually and with knowledge of their specialized skills, past employment and education level. But, in general, there are some specific things I would anyone to consider before you make the leap to a freelance writing career.

 

Considerations of a Freelance Writing Career

  • Income: This is the first thing I mention, as I have no desire to be responsible for the demise of a family! Yes, there is money to be had in freelance writing . Yes, you could probably eventually support a modest household on it, if you pursue it full time (35-60 hours per week, minimum), and if you possess the skill/talent of writing. But there is a build up that takes place. As a personal example, it took me about a year to equal my full time cube work salary after I started freelancing full time.
  • Insurance: Freelance insurance is expensive, even with the subsidies that may be provided by the Affordable Care Act. Of course, if you have a spouse or other source of coverage, good. But if you're to be the sole wage earner and insurance carrier, then I'm throwing up some big red flags for you to think through. 
  • Time: Time management has been many a freelance writer's downfall, and I have a theory as to why. We're writers, and, given that, we like to read. So if you place us in front of a glowing silver box that feeds us all the reading we could ever hope for, about anything our little hearts desire, we tend to get distracted. Ok, maybe that's just me. But, it takes some serious hours to build a client base that is going to feed your kids and pay your heat. At the beginning of my freelance career, I easily logged 80 hours per week begging for jobs (umm... I mean, writing cover letters and resumes). My opinion is that a steady flow of hours is a requirement for establishment, and that you should not expect to work 9-5 for quite a while.
  • Market: Here is some good news. Although print took a hit in the last couple years, it has stabilized. In addition, the need for content producers online has really ramped up. In addition, companies looking to beef up their bottom line may prefer freelancers, who are cheaper than regular employees. So, the market is fairly healthy and ready for your entry! 

    Bottom line: Freelance writing is a viable career, but only with much forethought and planning.

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