Taking the leap from a salaried job to working as a freelance is a roller-coaster of emotions, setbacks, victories, lie-ins and genuine laugh out loud moments. From trying to spice up the dullest content from the worst brief imaginable to finally breaking through with a major client, working for yourself as a freelance writer is totally worth the hard work.
The first few weeks and months can be make or break however. I did it alongside a full time job, completing content mill work and balancing a key client with a 9-5 office job that saw me doing 80 and 90 hour weeks at the busiest times. Although it turned me into a zombie and seriously p*ssed off my girlfriend for a while, it eventually paid off when I bridged the gap between writing as a hobby and providing quality content day in day out.
As with any venture, setting up can be the difficult part. Without a portfolio and an endless string of rejections, it’s easy to give in and believe that no one wants to read your work. But to those teetering on the edge, I say work harder, longer and be more pushy.
Winning over clients isn’t about dangling best content they’ve ever seen in front of them, it’s about building up trust. Go and see them. Offer to buy them coffee. Keep sending them articles, pitches, briefs and samples, even if they’ve said no. Once you’re in the door, then you can prove that you’re not a desperate headcase but a talented writer looking for an outlet.
My biggest piece of advice to newbies however is this; don’t expect freelancing to be easy. The hours are long, the pay is often crap and you’ll entire days to chasing payments, sorting out tax and pitching to pieces of software, but it’s between 10 and 20 million times better than sitting in an office waiting for 5pm to arrive.