It’s 2021, and how it got here so fast, I have no idea. And if you’ve been thinking about becoming a freelance writer but haven’t taken any steps yet, now is the time.
A new year often means a new you (sort of). It’s a chance to essentially hit the reset button and change how we think and do things.
It’s also a time we reflect on how well our life is working and make big changes so we can live the life we want to and pursue our dreams.
So, now is the time to look at your dream of becoming a writer and take action.
Being a freelance writer has many perks and can be a very fulfilling career. But it’s not an ideal career path for everyone. Before you jump into the world of freelance writing, ask yourself the following questions….
Do You Actually Like to Write?
If you’re thinking about becoming a freelance writer, first, you must ask yourself if you really like to write. As a freelance writer, you’ll be doing A LOT of writing and sometimes on topics that aren’t the most exciting.
It’s what you’ll do all day every day, well besides other business tasks that is.
But I tell you, there’s nothing better than getting up and knowing that you can just walk over and click on the computer to be at “work.” Plus, you’re not doing work that benefits someone else, it’s all for you!
Do You Want to Run a Business?
You need to treat freelance writing as a business if you want to be successful. So, you need to be prepared to run your own business.
The only way you’ll get high-paying clients is by being a professional writer with a website, samples of your work, a professional email, and social media profiles.
You don’t necessarily need a website to get clients, but it’s an excellent way to advertise your services, showcase your portfolio, and communicate with potential clients. If you want to quick-start your writing career, you can use LinkedIn or another social media platform to communicate with and find clients.
But we’ll talk more about business another day. Just understand that being a freelance writer means you’re running a business.
Are You Self-Motivated?
This question is one of the most critical questions to consider if you’re thinking about becoming a freelance writer. If you need pressure from workmates or a boss, to get things done and stay on schedule, then working from home as a writer might not be the right option for you.
But if you’re good with deadlines and a good self-motivator, then you’ll likely succeed. When you’re a freelance writer, there’s no one else to motivate you, so you must be able to motivate yourself and stay on track.
There’s no one to remind you of deadlines, and simply forgetting isn’t going to fly when you call your client and tell them, “Oops, I forgot!”
No one is going to pressure you to finish setting up your website or tell you to reach out to at least five to ten prospects a day. You must be able to set your own goals and follow through with the steps to achieve them.
Can You Accept Feedback and Implement It?
Being a freelance writer often means you’re bringing someone else’s vision to life or representing their business. It may be a business client that you write blog content for or the editor of a magazine. There’s nothing better than hearing a client or editor rave about your amazing writing.
But no one’s perfect, and not everything you write will be amazing. You may work on a project and have the client tell you that you missed the mark. An editor may ask you to revise your article and change the tone of your content. It hurts and trust me; us writers are known to be sensitive when it comes to our writing.
You may feel like a failure or that you suck, but the true test is whether you can react professionally and make the necessary changes. I can be sensitive and feel awful when I miss the mark, but I know tomorrow will be better and that it’s not personal.
Writers, like all service providers, need to be able to listen to feedback and implement it. If you can gracefully accept constructive criticism and learn from it, you’ll likely be a successful writer.
Are You a Skilled Writer?
Some people choose to become freelance writers because they want to escape a job they hate, or they need to start a side hustle for extra income. They think that writing is easy, and if you love it, it can be. The biggest problem is that they hate writing and find it boring. It takes them hours to even write a few paragraphs.
Truth be told, even if you love writing, you’ll have those days where it seems impossible to motivate yourself to write 100 words much less thousands. But, if you have the dream to be a writer, well you like writing. But are you any good?
Now you don’t need a fancy, schmancy college degree to be a writer, but you can’t be a train wreck when it comes to it either.
When it comes to offering services, it’s best to capitalize on a skill you’ve already developed. If you’ve never written anything but decide you want to be a freelance writer, then you’ll be learning writing basics at the same time you’re starting an online business. That’s a lot to learn all at once and may be completely overwhelming.
Are Your Finances in Order?
Before you pursue a career as a freelance writer, make sure to get your finances ready. It can take a few weeks or months before you start getting regular clients. You need to expect that it may take a while to start getting paid regularly, and you need to figure out a way to pay your bills in the meantime.
If you’re a planner, it will likely take you longer to make the jump to writing full-time from home but that’s okay! Start getting experience doing writing as a side hustle.
Most writers recommend starting off freelance writing with as much debt paid off as possible, as well as a savings account with six months of expenses. Money in savings ensures that if any emergencies arise, you and your family won’t be living off of ramen noodles.
Maybe you’re impulsive or, want to stop working in the hell your current job is. You can jump right into freelance writing but make sure you have a backup plan. In some ways, it may force you to work even harder to get new clients and set your business up because you HAVE to.
Don’t worry if you’re not financially ready to start freelancing now. Spend a month or two saving up and paying down debt. Then revisit your freelancing aspirations after your finances are in better shape.
Becoming a freelance writer can be fun and fulfilling. But like all careers, you need to carefully weigh the pros and cons before you decide to pursue it.
But if you’re ready, get started on your journey now and reduce your commute from an hour one way to just five minutes—from your bed to the coffee pot.
Don’t worry if you feel you’re missing the mark on some of these things; most things can be learned if you have the necessary tools. The most important things are to have a good attitude and a love for writing.