Should You Consider Freelance Writing Full-Time?
Sleeping late, wearing pajamas to work, being the head honcho — it all sounds like a dream come true! But is it really for you? Here are a few things to consider before taking the leap from having a boss to being the boss.
Can You Afford It?
This should be top on your list of considerations. Freelance work does not deliver a fixed salary. Some months may provide exceptional income, whereas others may be slim. Be sure to have enough money set aside for the dry spells.
Also consider vacations and sick leave — these will now be unpaid.
Are You Disciplined?
While the idea of being the boss and working from home can be enticing, it is definitely not for everyone. To be successful, you must be able to manage your time well. Your clients will be keeping normal business hours, and you should do the same. No all-nighters (unless you plan on still being up for regular business hours), and no sleeping till noon.
Are You Organized?
If you plan to juggle multiple clients and projects, you need a method to keep them organized. A project management system will help you track your time and expenses. This information is helpful when invoicing your clients and also when providing quotes for potential clients.
Can You Communicate Clearly?
You’ll need to communicate with your potential clients in a way that is clear and concise. Don’t leave room for interpretation in your discussions. Communicate with clients via their preferred method – email, phone, or in person.
Do You Need Medical Insurance?
Moving from a full-time job to a freelance job often means the loss of medical insurance. For some, this is a minor issue. But for those with health problems or those with children, it could have a major impact. If you are healthy, consider a high-deductible health plan, which provides coverage for catastrophic situations. Paying high monthly premiums for routine check-ups may not be a wise decision.
Do You Have Initiative?
Let’s face it — potential clients are probably not going to show up on your doorstep. You must be willing to do what it takes to find the work. Whether it is online, on the phone, or physically talking with people, you must be able to sell yourself and your services. Along with this, you must be able to handle rejection.
Will You Be Lonely?
Some people require a certain amount of social interaction. As a freelance writer, the bulk of your time will be spent alone. Know ahead of time if this is going to be a problem for you. If you ever feel the need to be around other people, pack up your laptop and find a library or coffee shop with Wi-Fi and work there for a couple of hours. Or join a professional organization and attend their luncheons and meetings.
Can You Negotiate?
Being a freelance writer means you will have to negotiate, probably more often than you’d think. You’ll need to negotiate your contract, obviously. And when you’re knee-deep in a project and the client asks for something outside the scope of your contract, you’ll need to negotiate for compensation. If you are involved with any third-party vendors, you’ll need to negotiate with them as well.
Be sure to have a designated work space that is separate from your other living areas. You must stay focused while “at work.” If you are easily distracted, consider keeping a regular routine. Set an alarm clock, get dressed for the day, grab a cup of coffee, and head to your office.
Are You Willing to File the Necessary Tax Documents?
Your taxes will no longer be automatically deducted from your paycheck. You will need to calculate and file them, probably quarterly. In addition, have a system for tracking expenses such as mileage, office supplies, and lunch meetings.
Just Say No
Don’t take on more work than you can feasibly complete. It’s okay to say no to a client. Turning down one project doesn’t mean you won’t be considered for any future work. Be honest with the client, and explain (if possible) why you can’t take the project. The client will more than likely appreciate your honesty.
Freelance writing can be the perfect solution for some, while for others it would not be a wise choice. Spend time researching and planning before making this decision.
Image credit: Photos.com
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