Trick or Treat? Seven Sweet Rewards & Spooky Truths of a Freelance Writing Career

#Blogtoberfest Guest Post #1, By Kristeen Moore

“Be your own boss!” “Work anywhere you want!” These are some of the common reasons why writers go into the freelancing business. With such a sweet-sounding gig, who would want to go back to working for a witch of a boss or be an office zombie? But, before you get started with this career, it is important to understand the tricks of the trade so you can successfully reap all the sweet rewards.

1. Treat: You Can Be Your Own Boss.

Trick: Accountability.

Being your own boss is pretty sweet. There is no one to report to and no one criticizing your every move. You have the freedom to do your own work in peace. However, if you are used to being accountable to someone else, this transition into a freelance career can be tricky. Without accountability, you simply won’t work as hard and will ultimately fail to make enough money.
Think of ways to make yourself accountable for success. For instance, you might put daily and weekly goals in writing on the wall of your office, or you can tell close friends and family. Once the word is out there, you can’t help but fulfill these goals.

2. Treat: Set Your Own Hours.

Trick: You May Have To Work Graveyard Hours and Weekends.

One of the greatest things about freelancing is the ability to set your own schedule. Do you want to take afternoons off? Then you can wake up at the crack of dawn and get your work done by lunch. You can even sleep-in if you are more of a night-owl.
However, this whole being-in-charge-of-your-own-hours setup may not always go your way. New projects can come up, a client might need some last minute edits, or maybe an emergency disrupts your schedule.
Oftentimes, you will work overtime to finish your projects. Depending on your unique schedule, this could mean working earlier in the morning or later at night. Most writers work on weekends, too. Also, remember that there are no paid vacations, so writers often work extra during the weeks leading up to time off.

3. Treat: Accountable For Your Own Earnings.

Trick: Need an Accountant.

As a freelance writer, you never have to deal with HR again, and you don’t have to live paycheck to paycheck if you don’t want to. Financial security is definitely a blessing, but you have to be accountable for your own earnings. Set a monthly goal and break it down week by week depending on the projects you have lined up.

There are also different financial tricks to deal with an accountant that can help you as your business grows. As a freelance writer, you will have to deal with self-employment taxes as well as itemizing business expenses. Staying on top of these items can help you avoid dealing with one of the spookiest figures around: an IRS auditor.

4. Treat: Opportunity To Be Creative.

Trick: Limits Based on Client Needs.

Writers are creative by nature, and there is nothing more satisfying than penning words that not only relay the human experience, but also serve as a meaningful purpose to others. As you pick up more writing gigs, you will quickly realize that everyone has their own sets of rules based on their content needs. Ultimately, you must write content that reflects the structure and tone the client wants.

Before you get discouraged, your creativity is never really limited as a freelance writer. The trick is understanding exactly what the client needs and taking a creative spin on the content. Remember that you are in the business of helping clients with your words, and not just writing whatever you think sounds good. You would be surprised at how creative you can get with even the most seemingly boring topics, if you really put your mind to it.

5. Treat: Write On a Variety of Topics.

Trick: A Niche Helps Progress Your Career.

Are you so creative that you can write on just about any topic? This is great, and you may be able to land opportunities with clients who need content for a range of topics, at once. The downside is that the current market trends may eventually work against you. Clients are increasingly looking for content producers who not only write well, but those who possess expertise in a particular niche.

For instance, if you have a background in marketing, then this can further enhance your career in writing for clients on marketing topics. The process of finding your niche can be a fiddly one, and it can take some time to figure out what is best for you. Nonetheless, the reality is writers with niches have more authority compared to those who aren’t specialized in any particular topics.

6. Treat: Earning Opportunities Seem Endless.

Trick: You Have to Work Your Way Up.

You can earn what you want by setting your own hours but landing the bigger gigs takes time. One of the reasons why many writers fail in their freelance businesses is due to a lack of impatience. Like any business, you need to get your name out there. The difference is that no one will hire you just because you are a freelance writer. You have to instead showoff your samples and demonstrate why they are valuable to a potential client.

The only way to gain better gigs is to build a portfolio of solid and creative clips. If you don’t have any clips, you may land a few gigs but you won’t get paid as much to start. The vast majority of freelance writers start from the bottom up—if you stick with it, you will eventually land better-paying gigs.

7. Treat: Strong, Reliable Writers Are in Demand.

Trick: Standing Out from the Competition.

There is a consistent demand for content. This leaves freelance writers with the opportunity to land new gigs all the time. It’s important to remain honest about yourself and your work—are you really one of the best writers out there, or are there some things you can work on to improve your craft?
By being the best writer possible, you can stand out from the competition and ensure that you get those new clients as they come about. Being too self-righteous may lead to missing those valuable clients. Nothing is scarier than having a freelance writing career with no clients.
Freelance writing is one of the most rewarding careers so it’s no wonder why so many people take a stab at it. At the same time, many writers give up on this career because they don’t fully understand the tricks of the trade. This even applies to some of the greatest writers around. To ensure your success, take an honest look at how you can benefit from the rewards of freelancing and work through the common challenges writers face.

Kristeen Moore Kristeen is a freelance health writer in Florida. 

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