I've been a freelance editorial professional (eg, writer, editor, proofreader) since 1993. Before that I spent over a decade in corporate America. And boy, have times changed. I worked in publishing in New York City for a decade. And, during this time, the company went through six reorganizations. Every time they did, employees were laid off, reassigned and/or bought out (eg, given a severance package).
I recount all this to say, the American workforce is changing. The idea of job stability is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Proof? According to a study conducted by software company Intuit in 2010, by 2020, more than 40% of the US workforce will be so-called contingent workers (eg, freelancers, temps, etc). That's roughly 60 million people.
It's against this backdrop that many are looking into how to freelance, and one of the best opportunities around is freelance writing.
Freelance Writing: A Recession-Proof, Work-from-Home Business Opportunity
Why is freelance writing an ideal, home-based small business opportunity? In short, you can get started for $0 if you already have a computer and an internet connection, which many do.
Now for sure you have to learn the skills necessary to have a successful freelance writing career, eg, how to set your rates, how to find clients, get a website, how to invoice clients, etc. But, you'd have these start-up issues with any small business you started - and probably with a lot more cost.
But with freelance writing, you don't have to register anything, become certified in anything, or get a license for anything. You just decide - and start.
If freelance writing interests you as a career option, following are four tips to make the transition from a full-time job easier.
1. Get Used to Being Self-Motivated
One of the hardest things for new freelance writers is to get used to setting and sticking to a defined schedule. But, if you're going to succeed in this career, you be self-motivated and disciplined.
In order to reinforce this habit - from day one, get up at the same time every day and report to work - just like you would at a job.
FYI, some of the initial things you should be handling include getting a website up and running, creating your writing samples, developing a marketing plan and figuring out your service offerings.
2. Set Up a Defined Work Space
It doesn't have to be fancy; it can literally be a table in the corner of your living room or spare bedroom.
The point is, having a defined space to "report to" every day goes hand in hand with creating a routine and developing discipline as a newly minted entrepreneur.
3. Set Concrete Income Goals
These numbers will be different for every person. But knowing how much you need to earn annually, for example, will allow you to break it down by months and weeks into what you should be earning. This will keep you motivated to get up, report to "your office" and get down to work day in and day out.
4. Make Marketing a Habit
I had a business mentor years ago who said to me, "I don't care what you're selling, you can tie the offer around a dog's neck and enough people are going to see it that eventually SOMEBODY'S going to buy."
This is what I call "marketing success by the numbers." The idea is, if you reach out to enough people, you will make a sale. And this is why marketing consistently should be a habit that you get into straight away.
How to Earn $5,000 Per Month as a Freelance Writer
In the beginning, you might have to make 10, 20 or 30 touches per day. Let's say you did 10 per day. That's 200 per month (assuming a five day work week).
At just a 1% response, you'd be landing two new clients per month. If each one spent on average of $500 per month with you, that's $1,000 per month. That's just two clients. Now, let's say you had 10 clients. That means you'd be earning $5,000 per month; or $60,000 per year.
See why marketing consistently is important?
How Long Does It Take Make the Transition from Working a 9-to-5 to Becoming a FT Freelance Writer?
This all depends on you - how often you market, what your niche is, what your freelance writing rates are, etc. I've known freelancers who made the transition in as little as a week (really!) and others who did it in a year.
What they all have in common though is that once they started earning money "under their own steam" in their freelance business, it was liberating. And they say, it was the best feeling of "job security" they ever had.
About the Author: Yuwanda Black heads heads New Media Words, an SEO writing company she founded in 2008, and is the publisher of Inkwell Editorial, a blog devoted to helping others start successful freelance writing careers. She’s also the author of over 50 ebooks, most of which cover some aspect of freelance writing. They can be found on major outlets like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Get everything you need to start a successful home-based, freelance writing business.
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