Freelance Lessons Learned the Hard Way
I am so very not perfect. I would never claim to be the best writer around, the best mother around or the best teacher around. I do like to think I work hard at all of my various life choices, and I have some nice successes to show for that work. But even if you’re an amazingly awesome writer coming into this career or you’re looking at a dramatic change, as many writers suddenly are, there are going to be some knocks. I’m admittedly an imperfect writer, so feel free to take my advice with a large grain of salt – and maybe a lime – but as one who’s had her share of knocks (and more) the tone of Jenn’s Articles of late has reminded me of my own humble beginnings and a bit of wisdom that has come my way.
There are all sorts of writing – and all sorts of good writing.
Once upon a time I felt like the world was ending if I got caught in a grammatical mistake. I worked hard to separate myself from writers at a level I considered less capable, although as a teacher I tried not to look down on abilities (since I see a range of talent every day in emerging minds), but rather on how niches of the marketplace are set up and the lack of business aplomb some would-be master writers lacked.
Over the years, it’s become more and more obvious that there are tiers of writing. I don’t have to be at the very tippity top and I don’t need to criticize those closer to the bottom. I’ve found a comfortable place for now.
Cheap writers are cheap for their own reasons and they have nothing to do with me or the market as a whole. Likewise the very expensive copywriters or print writers for major publications – not my thing, so I don’t think much about it anymore. Those writers have a set of clients of their own, and often my clients use their services, too – I can’t be everything to everybody after all. I refuse to have my feelings hurt because a client wants killer sales letters or super cheap keyword stuff that I choose not to write.
Is there competition out there? Of course. Just be sure you’re focusing on the right competition and leave the rest alone to write well in a different kind or level of the industry.
The writing market is not stable, nor will it be.
Once upon a time I earned a business degree and one of my favorite lessons I still watch in action was about the business cycle. Every industry has ongoing cycles and there must be constant change and growth to keep the industry and individual companies or providers employed. In the growth part of the industry, money seems to be readily available.
Then, once the market is saturated, there’s a sort of shake out and the stronger players emerge to stick around, but only by changing and adapting to the needs of the market. The weaker companies/writers/employees shake off and go and find new jobs or opportunities.
As a writer, I started online more than six years ago, and I still consider myself a relative newbie to the game. A lot has changed in six years, and part of riding the waves is watching the industry and adapting to it with new offerings, new clients and new marketing angles to stay above the fray. I would argue we’re in a form of shake-out now. The game changed and the stronger players will come out ahead, but only by streamlining and evolving. You might be a casualty of the streamlining in the industry, but it’s just the way the game is played – either drop out of the market or evolve to stake a new place within it.
Always earn more than you need – and save, too.
I made a huge mistake one year. I planned a budget based on future income and I paid for it dearly in the end. What should have been a great year staying home with my babies and writing became a nightmare of bills coming due and some serious cash flow problems. I should have stayed put in my steady job stockpiling cash before making a big leap. I should have eliminated expenses. I should have budgeted in a totally different way, because you’ll never earn enough, especially when you seem to need it the most.
Not surprisingly, about the time we climbed out of that hole and back on top of the personal finance hill, my husband’s business went under and we were right back in cash flow problems and financial stress. I make it a policy now to always market, pitch and gather work that exceeds what I need each month, because there’s always something that comes along to throw me off.
Bottom line: make a budget based on what you’ve earned on average, not on what you think you can earn. Oh, and make a regular savings plan although I’ll be honest – every time I start trying to really save, I get wiped out by some sort of household emergency or a client’s sudden disappearance. But then, hey! It’s all part of the freelance adventure!
Thu, 27 Oct 2011 10:42:01 GMT
Tags: freelance writing, freelance writing tips, wahm moms, wahm parents, work at home moms, Work at Home Parents, work at home parents, work life balance, working parents,
Northeast Cobb E-Commerce | Navi Mumbai E-Commerce | St George E-Commerce | Walsenburg E-Commerce | Gilbert E-Commerce | Fort Collins E-Commerce | Minneapolis E-Commerce | Atlanta E-Commerce | McKinney E-Commerce | Anaheim-Santa Ana-Garden Grove E-Commerce |
Writing in itself is probably not a difficult job, except when it comes to writing for money (especially if you…
The following is a guest post from Lori Widmer of Words on the Page. Four years ago this week I decided I couldn’t take it anymore. I started my own hissy-fit inspired movement – Writers Worth Day – which has …
There are many myths being circulated about freelance writing. Unless you’re extremely familiar with what a freelance writer actually does, you could easily get sucked into believing one of these myths. What are some of the most common myths about f
freelance writing tips
A few of the places I like to work are obvious, but the others, well, you'll just have to read and find out.
With Labor Day behind us and kids in class, it's time to refocus on work. Here are 12 things writers can do to be recharged and ready for the rest of the year.
I’ve been working nights for years. This wouldn’t be a big deal if I wasn’t already working days and mornings, too. I’ve mentioned a few (dozen) times already, but I have the two kiddos to get up and out of the house every morning, while I get up and out
When it comes up in conversation about my schedule, as it usually does, that I get up at 4 in the morning and jump right into writing until 6, I usually get the same response – Wow, that sucks! And it does, kind of. It’s not fun getting up at 4 in the mor
I am many things on a daily basis, like all of us here. At any given moment I’m wearing my hat as a mother, teacher, writer, business woman, friend, wife, public servant, what have you. It’s exhausting, of course, but …
Need Freelance Writer Market? Check out our member profiles:
6 People Freelancers Meet on Social Media
We freelancers depend on social media. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and whatever else happe
The Complete Freelancing Mom Office (Finally!)
As we discussed in the comments of another recent post, every freelancer has a different ideal offic
David Allen’s “Getting Things Done”: Is It Relevant to Freelancers?
I first read “Getting Things Done” (GTD) by David Allen in 2007. Back then, I was
Dear WordCount: Can blogging help me write fiction?
Blogging can help authors find their voice, build a platform, sell books and share their wisdom. Rea
How to Keep Magazine Editors Coming Back
The following is a guest post from Denene Brox. Freelance writers work hard to build up a solid por
Freelance Writer Market Articles