By Tami Parrington
When you decide to embark on the wondrous world of freelance writing, you probably think about all of the touted glories of working from home.
- Make your own hours.
- Sleep late.
- The easy stroll from bedroom to office.
- Working in your PJs.
- No one to answer to, but yourself.
- No overhead expenses.
- Keep all the money you make for yourself.
I’m not here to dispute those benefits of working as a freelance writer, although a few of them are somewhat disputable. It really is an easy stroll to the office from the bedroom, and it’s true you can sleep late, and make your own hours. However, many of those wonderful considerations are the very reasons so many freelancer writers fail. They go back to their old worlds mumbling about lack of opportunities, pipe dreams, and how those who say they are doing it must be either lying, or deluding themselves. There’s no work out there.
There’s Plenty of Freelance Writing Work
There’s plenty of work out there. In fact, Elance, a major freelancing work area recently stated accurately on their blog that in the near future freelancing won’t be called working from home, it will just be called working. Where once freelancers were the jagged fringes of the working society, outsourcing, and hiring freelancers to do many of the tasks once done solely in-house is becoming mainstream. And yet, many freelance writers who join the ranks of the work from home workforce find themselves scurrying back to a 9 to 5 job within a year. Why? They forgot their hat.
Hat? What Hat?
Well, the thing is, there are more than one hats that a freelancer must wear in order to make their chosen career a true path to success. These hats represent the many jobs of the freelancer. You see, when you work in an office, or a store, or at any other outside job for someone else, you have many people working alongside you, above you, and maybe even under you in order to accomplish a seemingly single goal. While you all likely have your own immediate goals, the company itself hinges on the success of all involved in completing their designated tasks.
When you work for yourself, from home, you’re all alone. That’s a liberating thing… at first. After a few weeks, maybe months it begins to feel a lot less liberating, and a little more daunting if you haven’t prepared for it. You have to be the boss, the clerk, the accountant, the salesperson, the customer service person, and the public relations department. You are everything all wrapped up into one individual, and without each job getting done, pieces start to fall apart.
That’s right, it’s not all about the writing. Most of us wish it was. That’s a nice dream world. The ability to hole up behind our computers and just write. Unless you are attempting to be a novelist, or even a non-fiction writer, that dream is not a reality. In fact, even those writers need to have some skill in other departments, or pay an arm and a leg to have someone else do it for them.
As a freelance writer, I may spend 90% of my days working on my weight loss niche blog that focuses on Nutrisystem discounts and Medifast coupons, but the rest of the time I have to balance my accounts, promote my site, talk with clients who want me to write for them, issue invoices for work provided, and most of all, be that boss who stands over my shoulder and says WORK!
That is perhaps the most important job of all for a freelance writer. Beyond the skill, beyond the talent, there has to be the drive, and a driver… a slave driver. Someone who cracks the whip, because it is far too easy to get distracted when you work at home. Television shows are always more fun, a friend dropping by for coffee more interesting, that bed looking more inviting, or just running errands all day long, and then finding yourself at the end of the day with nothing accomplished. Freelance writing is about writing, but it is more than that: it is a business.
I wish all of you the best of success in your new endeavor, and want you to find your path to this exciting and enriching career. I want you to enter it with your eyes wide open, however, so you won’t fall prey to disillusion. Create your own hours, but be sure you actually make hours to work. Push yourself to work, even when the jobs aren’t fun. Pay attention to the other non-writing aspects of your career, and make sure you focus on the big picture, not just the parts you like.
If you write, and craft interesting articles or stories, you are a writer, but until you can treat your talent as an aspect of a larger job, and freelancing as a business, you can’t succeed as a freelancer.
Tami Parrington writes about marketing, advertising, freelancing writing and publishing. Tami works for Weight Loss Triumph, a blog that reviews diet and weight loss programs and offers coupon discounts for Nutrisystem meals</a> and the latest online coupons for Medifast.
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