I don’t know about you, but when people ask what I do for a living and I tell them I’m a freelance writer, ghostwriter and copywriter, their first reaction is usually, “Oh, I wish I could work at home, how fun!”
But what people who are not in the field don’t seem to realize is that independent contractors who work from home offices really do have to work. Organization is key to the freelance writer. You may not have to punch a time clock, but self-employment requires extreme discipline. When it comes to managing a freelancing business, you have responsibilities. Develop good habits from the start. As a freelance writer, you’re responsible for:
- Drumming up your own work on a consistent basis
- Paying self-employed taxes
- Finding and paying for your own health care insurance
- Keeping precise records for jobs in progress, job completed, payments to invoice, payments received, etc.
- Marketing yourself
As a freelance writer, you must be ready, willing, and able to wear a lot of different hats. You need to know (at the minimum) the basics regarding marketing and sales, product development, product delivery, and most of all, customer service and communication. Depending on your specialty, you’ll likely find yourself dealing with a high rate of competition as well as client turnover. People who punch a time clock are guaranteed a definite work schedule on a weekly basis, and they know what their paycheck will be when they put in certain hours at work. As a freelancer, you’ll never know. You’ll have good months and not-so-good months.
Management and organization is key to starting, organizing, and maintaining your freelance business. It’s all in the details. Working as a freelance writer can be great, but don’t forget the details or you may just wish that you were punching that time clock again.