Surviving in a freelance world

For the last seven years, I’ve managed to maintain a freelance role from home. It’s an awesome, albeit unsecure, job. I don’t have plans to go back to full time work anytime soon.

Being able to maintain this lifestyle is important for me. But I also wanted to share some of the things I learned as a freelance writer (and all rounder) for the last couple of years in case it helps others out there looking to do the same thing.

Do your job well – I received a writing gig on my Facebook inbox one day, out of the blue. A woman I interviewed and wrote an article on over six years ago remembered me. It was amazing how she thought of me years after our last contact. She offered me a good paying writing gig that was regular enough to keep the income flowing. A job well done can be memorable. You want to be remembered for the work you did well, not the work you did badly.

Send your CV – Polish up your CV and make sure you have writing samples you can send out or are accessible online. Send your CV to magazines you want to work for and just say they can keep your details on file if there are no vacancies. Guess what? This stuff actually works. After my maternity leave finished and I quit my full time job, I started sending out my CV to magazines. Over the years, I always got casual roles from different publications. Some for three months, some regular, some casual. You never know when they’ll need your skills.

Keep improving – Although I’ve been doing this job for over a decade, I want to keep my skills fresh. Doing online classes are helpful (and also a tax deduction). I highly recommend carving out some time and money for this. It’s a competitive industry and anything you can do to help yourself stand out will go a long way.

Learn to say no – I had to stop thinking that my skills are not valuable enough to charge a good fee. Avoid free gigs unless you’re starting out, like really starting out. I sometimes charge a small fee for startups that I really like but not for too long.

Blogging can lead to paid work and more – I’ve been blogging for 11 years. I’m a dinosaur blogger. I used to think blogging is not going to translate in real money and real work but it can. I learned a lot from the blogging conferences I went to and when my real work asked if I knew how to maintain a blog I said yes. My blogging skills have become useful to me over the years, especially now that most businesses have their own blogs and social media accounts.

Learn other skills – Nowadays, being a writer sometimes isn’t enough. Aside from writing, I also learned other skills such as photography, designing using InDesign, blog content writing, corporate writing, editing and so on. Pick things up along the way. It will help make you an important part of the workforce.

Any tips you want to share with other freelancers?

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