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As a freelancer, you can burn your suit, briefcase, and even your shoes. All you need now is a laptop, an endless supply of coffee and the same pajamas you slept in last night. Every day is casual Friday! NOT! It's time to talk about this honestly. Ask me anything!

Tina M.
Feb 11, 2018

The freelance life sounds pretty great (think: no boss looking over your shoulder) but before you call your boss and put in your two weeks notice, make yourself aware of what the freelance job actually involves. Freelance work was once considered something you did on the side to make some extra cash, explore a new field, or develop a new skill. Today, it’s an opportunity to turn your passions into a long-term, lucrative career. Ask Me Anything about some things that are basics for every freelance worker in the world. Why? Because it’s not easy. All that freedom comes at a price. 

I'm a graduate manager of mass media and a full-time freelance content writer: journalist, blogger, and copywriter for various niches. I worked in a journalist company as a content writer for National Geographic, Men’s Health, Elle, Cosmopolitan, etc. where I successfully wrote blogs, articles, marketing material and content for social media posts in order to achieve better visibility.

Today, I lend my voice to various brands and publications in order to help them craft pithy, persuasive and remarkable content. Using call-to-action, I prompt them to buy from you, subscribe to your updates, or contact you - all in an engaging, catchy and conversational tone.

Check out my blog where I have rounded up all my experiences, as well as the advice of all freelancers who were the AMA hosts and... Ask Me Anything!

Steps to Launch Your Freelancing Career Full-Time

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Do you ever feel like returning to your normal job or do you think you have lots of growth opportunity in the freelance writing based on the excellent skill set that you possess?

Feb 18, 12:02AM EST0

How did your family react and support you when you decided to take freelance writing as a full-time career choice?

Feb 17, 10:02PM EST0

After two years of full-time freelance writing, are your financially satisfied where you are now?

Feb 16, 5:27PM EST0

Hi, Davidsturua.

As an employee, you could count on getting a regular paycheck, but when you’re a freelancer unless you’re lucky enough to land a few clients with regular, consistent work for you, the cash you’ll have incoming won’t arrive in an evenly paced manner. 

There are months when I am absolutely satisfied, and there are also those when I'm panickily searching for some new clients. Given that there are many freelancers, and that clients often have a limited budget, it happens that we suddenly stop cooperating because they need money for something else. For example, for paying developers and improving quality of their site. These are unpleasant situations because I can not foresee them.

At the moment, I want to improve my knowledge and improve myself in the field of social media management. I think it's great when I can offer my clients the ability to do two jobs at the same time, without the need for another team member. And of course, that would bring me more money and then I would be completely satisfied. Hold your fingers crossed for me :)

Feb 16, 5:44PM EST0

How much time off do you get in a week? Do you get plenty of annual leave in a year?

Feb 14, 11:58AM EST0

Hi, Ankicagestak.

On working days, I try to finish all the work by 5 PM. I don't work on weekends. And that's usually what I'm discussing with my client on the first job interview (I'm really ready to refuse a job offer if it's needed to work on weekends.) As for the annual holiday, I try to say at least two months earlier to the employer about it and make an agreement with him. I will not let my long-term client down. I'll leave him enough time to find someone to replace me if necessary. Or I will do the necessary work in advance and leave everything prepared. I usually take a break from two to three weeks.

Feb 14, 12:03PM EST0

You mention that all that freedom comes at a price.What are some of the disadvantages of freelancing?

Feb 14, 5:50AM EST0

Hi, Vukica.

While flexibility is one of the biggest plusses of freelancing, loneliness has to be one of the most obvious downsides, and it’s something that every budding freelancer should be prepared for.

You may be your own boss, but in the end, the clients who write the checks are in charge. Being a freelancer also means that you run the risk of not getting paid. This is fairly common in the freelance world. There are ways to protect yourself from non-paying clients, but sometimes you won’t realize you’re at risk until it’s too late.

Remember how it feels to be the new person at a company? Well, you’ll be experiencing it a lot while you’re freelancing. Be prepared for some awkward moments in the lift and at the water cooler as you try to explain who you are and why you’re there.

You have a lack of security. Your rent or mortgage needs to be paid each month, you have to buy food every week, the car payment needs to be made—unfortunately, none of these costs adjust themselves to your current cash flow. As an employee, you could count on getting a regular paycheck, but when you’re a freelancer unless you’re lucky enough to land a few clients with regular, consistent work for you, the cash you’ll have incoming won’t arrive in an evenly paced manner.

Last edited @ Feb 14, 6:03AM EST.
Feb 14, 6:00AM EST0

How do you keep motivated, without a boss looking over your shoulder?

Feb 14, 1:36AM EST0

Hi, Mari-campos.

The fact that the boss doesn't look over my shoulder is itself a motivation!

Feb 14, 5:27AM EST0

There are various things freelancers can do, why did you choose writing?

Feb 13, 4:07PM EST0

Hi, Hinagy.

Simple, because it's the best thing I do. You cannot just choose your profession. I'm going to do something that I know how to do 110% or there's no point in doing it at all.

Feb 13, 5:21PM EST0

What is your favourite part of being a freelancer?

Feb 13, 1:44PM EST0

Hi, Gregory. 

  • If I want to sleep in until noon, I can do that. If I want to take the weekend off so I can explore the city, by all means, I can go for it. As a freelancer, I can actually work during my most productive hours, and those hours don’t have to fall in during regular business hours.
  • If I don’t mesh well with a client’s personality or business or payment philosophies, I can pass on the opportunity and wish them the best. It’s as easy as that.
  • I can find a place in which I work best. I could work in a park, at the library, or in my living room while I'm wearing my pajamas.
  • No one is hanging over me. I'm free to do as I please when I please. Making all the tough decisions just became my responsibility; I have all the control.
Feb 13, 2:13PM EST0

What do you think of co-working spaces?

Feb 13, 10:32AM EST0

Hi, Andrej.

If you don't mind sharing a few office amenities with other startups and entrepreneurs, co-working spaces are a brilliant way to meet digital nomads, small business owners, and other creative people. Connections with others are a big reason why people pay to work in a communal space, as opposed to working from home for free. However, I still haven't tried it although I don't have anything against it.

Feb 13, 10:46AM EST0

How was it when you first started? Did you have any challenges you faced when you first started?

Feb 12, 8:19PM EST0

Hi, Patric.

As a freelancer, I've made a number of mistakes at the beginning. Initially, I have sent an unusually large number of proposals to clients - there was no response. It frustrated me because I didn't know what I was doing wrong.  I realized it's basic to know how to write a good proposal. It's the first point of contact with a client and it’s supposed to be the perfect snapshot of your work history, positioning you as an ideal candidate for that next gig. It demands perfection, originality, elegance and (in most of the cases) candidates are shortlisted on the basis of their proposals. You will see many examples of it if you search on Google. However, my recommendation is to focus on being the solution to the problem. Why do they need you? Because they have a problem they need to solve. Your goal is to show why you're the best person to provide that solution. And nobody knows better to explain why you are ideal for that position than... you. So, don't copy anything from what you find on the Internet. Be honest and unique. After all, the employers have certainly heard some sentences too many times: "I am a team player" or "I work well under pressure". (Yeah, right.) When I realized this, I started getting contracts.

Feb 12, 8:29PM EST0

What were you doing before you were freelancing?

Feb 12, 10:07AM EST0

Hi, Caitlyn.

I worked in a journalist company as an article/web content writer for National Geographic, Men’s Health, Elle, Cosmopolitan, etc. where I successfully wrote blogs, articles, marketing material and other content for social media posts in order to achieve better visibility.

Feb 12, 10:16AM EST0

Do you think freelancing is easier for freelancers based in certain countries than others?

Feb 12, 2:34AM EST0

Hi, Adrienne.

The main thing is how you are delivering your services to your customers. You can have something awesome built by anyone in the world. Sometimes, clients just don't have the budget to pay more for work. Sometimes, they might not need to spend more on higher quality. And, sometimes, they just prefer someone else. It can be hard not to take things personally, but keep in mind — it's business. If you know your value, and you can prove it, you don't have to justify your rate. The worst you can do is to adjust your hourly rate and base it on stereotypes about the country from which you are doing your job. It's just a nonsense. Be good in your business, that's all that matters.

Last edited @ Feb 12, 9:02AM EST.
Feb 12, 6:37AM EST0

How many hours do you work in a day and in a week? How do you decide your hours?

Feb 11, 9:42PM EST0

Hi, Patricia.

I work about 40 hours a week. Sometimes more, but never less than that. All my clients are long-term clients for which I work every day (an average of around 8 hours). For short-term jobs, I usually take a fixed price, per project, when and if I have time. As for determining the hourly rates, I'm long enough in this business to know how much time do I need to finish the job. On this basis, I give a proposal to the client for a fixed price.

Last edited @ Feb 12, 9:05AM EST.
Feb 12, 6:06AM EST0

You mentioned that you write a variety of things from blogs to marketing material, which kind of writing is your favourite?

Feb 11, 7:57PM EST0

Hi, Bdavis.

Definitely - sales blogs - where I must focus on the customer's needs and give the best possible advice to them. It's one of the most effective forms of marketing. For instance, if I'm on Google searching for, "what are the best vegan lipsticks", I do not want someone to point to their brand and say, "this is the very best you can possibly buy." I want them to show me why a vegan lipstick is considered the best, and what the pros and cons are of it. There I have the most freedom to be witty, creative ... and sometimes on the edge :)

Last edited @ Feb 12, 9:06AM EST.
Feb 12, 6:04AM EST0

How do you look for new clients? Do you approach them or do they approach you?

Feb 11, 7:20PM EST0

Hi, Hernadeztina.

Both! When I find a job offer that I like, I send a proposal, I'm trying to "sell myself" (I am a writer, it should not be difficult). If I cannot "sell myself" with my own words, how will I sell your product or service? I'm sending my best works and hope for the best. All I do is public; many interested clients are coming to me and then we discussing potential cooperation.

Feb 11, 7:51PM EST0

How did you attract clients in the beginning, when you were still building up your portfolio?

Feb 11, 6:13PM EST0

Hi, Cbarry.

The start is always the hardest. I started building my portfolio when I was working for National Geographics, Elle Magazine, Cosmopolitan and Men's Health. I learned from my own mistakes, I learned how to evaluate which client is actually worth the effort, and which is a waste of time. That's very important. The other thing is writing of proposals. It took me a while to learn what it's really important to say. Short, clear and on point.

Feb 11, 7:03PM EST0

Do you feel that you miss out on the social aspect of working with other people in a office? How do you network with others in your industry?

Feb 11, 6:07PM EST0

Can you imagine how the editorial staff looks of magazines such as National Geographic, Men’s Health, Elle or Cosmopolitan looks like? Yeah, a lot of people, hustle and stress. I really enjoy working in my own rhythm.Over the time, I became less and less tolerant of noise and... too many people around me :) People stopping by your desk… I hate that. That's tthe one of the things that I don't miss at all. I have a lot of friends who are freelancing, but we don't talk about job when we meet. When I need advice about something, I  usually go to some of the Facebook groups for the freelancers. That could be really helpful.

Last edited @ Feb 11, 7:00PM EST.
Feb 11, 6:59PM EST0

What do you think about job security in the freelancing world?

Feb 11, 4:57PM EST0

Hi, Janacoquilla.

You have a lack of security. Your rent or mortgage needs to be paid each month, you have to buy food every week, the car payment needs to be made —unfortunately, none of these costs adjust themselves to your current cash flow. As an employee, you could count on getting a regular paycheck, but when you’re a freelancer (unless you’re lucky enough to land a few clients with some consistent work) the cash you’ll have incoming won’t arrive in an evenly paced manner. That's true.

Feb 11, 6:50PM EST0

Is freelancing a lucrative career?

Feb 11, 4:32PM EST0

Hi, Marieg.

It's a career like any other. It takes a lot of effort, sacrifice, and nerves, and as in any other business. I do not consider freelancing as anything different from any regular job. I found somewhere the great quote: "Freelancing gives me the flexibility to panic about my job instantly anytime I want". And I use it all the time because it's true.

Feb 11, 4:49PM EST0

How do you market your services? Do you have a website?

Feb 11, 12:32PM EST0

Hi, Edith.

For now not, but I'm thinking about it. So far, all of my texts have been published both in digital and in print media. However, since I'm dealing with freelancing, I have my portfolio that clients can see.

Feb 11, 1:39PM EST0