I’ve been a freelance copywriter for exactly ten years (give or take two months) and I’ve learnt a lot, from my clients, their niches but mostly, from working for myself. When I started out, I wanted a job that could fit around my (then) young family and I definitely didn’t want to answer to the boss! I wanted to be my own boss. I am, to a degree, but I’m also answerable to all of my clients. That’s one lesson I’ve learnt and there are many more.
1 There’s Not a Lot of Free Time
Contrary to popular belief, freelancing is not a “work when you fancy it job.” If a client wants something done and you want to keep that client happy, you work when they need you (of course – you have to sleep, but that’s another blog post for another day!). So, if you’re a lady (or a man) who lunches, freelancing won’t be right for you. Equally, when you’re on a deadline, you’re on a deadline! It becomes your top priority. However, one bonus is that you can often build your work around your day. If you do want to do that lunch with friends, work in the morning and pick it up again later, so long as you don’t have a lunchtime deadline of course!
2 There Will Be Peaks and Troughs
Some weeks can be killers. I hate saying no to work, so there are often weeks when I’m juggling 10 projects at once. One client last year had me writing 150 articles a month for 6 months. I was buried. There will also be lulls. I can have two weeks of extreme quiet, which on one hand gives breathing space but on the other, can be enormously stressful. This is NORMAL, but I’ve never been one to sit back and relax. Quiet periods make me anxious. Busy periods make me anxious. I can’t win!
3 There Are Nightmare Clients
I had one just recently. I always take a deposit upfront (another lesson!). This client went backwards and forwards for two weeks before saying yes (and there were numerous, lengthy phone calls). I sent my deposit invoice and he supposedly transferred the money. 72 hours later, nothing, so I chased. I got a shirty response. I waited another 48 hours and chased again – extra politely. At that point, he said he’d resend (strange that!). Needless to say, I’m still waiting – and he was on such a tight deadline for his work, I even started it – that’s a separate lesson.
4 Platforms Are Useful
Especially if you’re getting started and even more so if you want to branch out internationally. We’re a connected world after all and managing international payments is easier through a platform. I promise you.
5 Go With Your Gut – Freelancing is Like Dating!
If a job doesn’t interest you, don’t do it. Your instinct says it all and I’ve worked for clients and regretted it, because deep down I’ve known from initial contact, the fit isn’t there. Even in quiet periods, resist. Rather like dating, you have to feel some excitement!
I hope the above lessons have helped you – of course, if you want copywriting, proofing, editing or other, you know who to get in touch with. We could have a really beautiful and exciting relationship (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com)!