If you don’t already know, I am a freelancer. More specifically, a freelance content writer. In short, I write articles, eBooks, blog posts, reviews, product descriptions and various other online content for businesses and individuals. I have been doing this since 2005 (full time since 2010), and while I do love my job, there are a few things that no one ever told me about working in this field. And because of that, I thought what better topic to write about then what I learned firsthand in this wonderful, exciting and often stressful world of freelancing.
Procrastination is a Major Problem
Working from home is awesome, but it’s not without it’s drawbacks, and procrastination is one of the biggest. After all, you’re at home and daily distractions can get the best of you. That pile of laundry that needs washed just keeps calling your name, and you think “hey, I can get that done in a few minutes and then get back to work.” But after you get the laundry done, you notice something else that needs tending too. And it just keeps piling up and up until the day is over and you haven’t got much freelance work done. What works best for me is creating a schedule and trying my damnedest to stick with it. I also use a desktop app called Focus Booster, which uses the pomodoro technique (a time management method developed in the 80s).
Some Think Being a Freelancer isn’t a Real Job
This has been one of the hardest things for me to come to terms with, and I haven’t completely accepted the fact that some people, especially family members, don’t take my career seriously. Despite the 10+ years experience I have creating various content for companies, despite having many of my articles published on respectable websites, despite being the main bread winner in our household for several years, despite paying all the bills (including a mortgage) every month, some just don’t/won’t believe that I actually do have a job. And I just gotta learn to live with that, because, in all honesty, it really doesn’t matter what anyone thinks. This is my life, my career and I love what I do.
No Job Security
Freelancing is more like owning a small business then being an employee of a company. As a freelancer, no one is responsible for you but yourself. There is no guarantee that a client you worked for previously will continue to give you more business in the future, nor is there any guarantee that the market won’t dry up. After all, several content sites have closed their doors or greatly reduced their need for freelance writers in recent years, and the overall freelance market has become saturated with freelancers who will work for pennies on the dollar. I’ll be the first one to admit that finding clients now isn’t nearly as easy as it once ways.That is why it is important to have more than one client.
The frequency and amount you get paid usually isn’t the same from one week to the next so you will need to plan accordingly for bills. For example, one week you may get paid $350 and the next you only get $60. And if you’re working on a large, long term project, you may not get paid for weeks on end.
Taxes Are Now Your Concern
Once you are a freelancer, taxes are not automatically taken out of your pay and you are now responsible for ensuring that Uncle Sam gets his share (no matter how unfair it is) of your hard earned money. Thankfully, you have the choice to either pay the taxes you owe in one lump sum at the end of the year or with smaller quarterly payments throughout the year.
Keep in mind that the above are just a few of the things I learned on my own when I started out in the freelancing industry. Others may not have experienced the same problems. Also, this post was originally pushing way past the 1,000 words mark so I decided to split it up into different parts. So be on the lookout for Part II (or Part 2) coming soon!