Our guest blogger tells us how to move from full-time to freelance writing and gives us ways to cope.
Newsrooms everywhere are cutting down on staff, and it’s forcing a lot of writers and journalists to switch over from full-time careers to working freelance. This can be terrifying, but doesn’t have to be. Here are some essential ways to cope with the change if you’re suddenly thrown into the world of freelance writing.
Organising Your Finances for Freelance
Changing to freelancing means taking a different look at your finances, sometimes drastically.
- Learn to budget according to your publication schedule. In addition to this, write and pitch as much as possible so there’s always something in the queue.
- If you’re a writer who still has active work right now, start preparing for the day the work dries up – if you prepare, you can take to change better when it happens to you.
- Loans are automatically harder to obtain as a freelancer, although it’s possible with extra documents (including an ITA34) from some loan providers who allow for self-employed credit.
- Invest during good months, and apply investments during bad months. Don’t over-spend when you have the chance.
- Find your liquidity ratio: This is the combined sum of the assets you own, divided the total costs you have to cover. Your liquidity ratio (as a decimal figure) tells you how long you’d have to cover your outstanding costs if the situation were desperate.
Diversify What You Do
Writing features as a freelancer might not be enough to sustain your income. Diversification is one of the most important skills a freelancer can have, and you’ll be better off if you’re equipped to handle other jobs like translation or editing, too.
Focus on your strengths, and if needed, run a refresher course in your chosen direction.
It also helps – a lot – to diversify to markets that you haven’t written for (or heard of) before.
Strengthen Your Presence
Your online presence puts you in touch with everyone else, including prospective clients.
First, get a website. Then make sure your website showcases a portfolio of previous work, what you do and where people can contact you. Features like a blog or mailing list are optional, but are great ways to draw readership to your site. Read: 5 Ways To Make Money Blogging
Be active on social media, too, and don’t limit yourself to one platform. Many good clients and contacts can be found throughout social media networks and forums worldwide.
Build Your Portfolio Fast
Don’t have a lot of time to increase your writing portfolio? Submit everywhere – and this includes markets that can give you impressive reach and new readership but might not pay for contributions.
Showcase the best samples on your website, and try to branch out when it comes to what you’re willing to write about. Build both experience and samples everywhere you can.
Submit, Submit, Submit
When you’re a full-time freelancer, your income is directly related to how much work you’re doing right now – and how much is in the publication queue to be published down the line.
- Work as far ahead as you can so that there’s always something waiting to be published. Take advantage of markets and publications who like working months in advance.
- Submit daily, whether it’s a winning pitch, a hopeful query or a complete idea. The secret to having a lot of work waiting to be published is to work a lot – and there’s no way around it.
- Writer’s block cannot and does not exist when you write full-time. No ideas and no writing? No paying the bills.
- Keep a notebook or a folder with ideas and pitches. Choose a specific day of the week to pitch and stick to your schedule.
- The need to work a side-job never means that you’re any less of a writer; never snuff at the chance to gain experience and interact with people, even if it’s not in the environment or situation you’d expect.
By Alex J. Coyne. Alex is a writer, proofreader, and regular card player. His features about cards, bridge, and card playing have appeared in Great Bridge Links, Gifts for Card Players, Bridge Canada Magazine, and Caribbean Compass. Get in touch at alexcoyneofficial.com.
If you enjoyed this, read his other posts:
- 9 Practical Tips For Being A Faster Writer
- 6 Ways Bridge Can Make You A Better Writer
- Invaluable Safety Tips For Journalists
- 12 Newspaper Archive Resources For Journalists & Writers
- The 18 Essential Rules Of Journalism
- 9 Things That Can (& Will) Go Wrong When You Conduct An Interview
- 8 Lessons Freelancing Taught Me About Money
- Skeleton Keys: A Horror Story That Will Scare All Writers
TOP TIP: If you want to improve your business writing, buy The Complete Grammar Workbook.