This article is written by Quin Hoskins. Having studied law and several science-related subjects at degree level, this has provided him with the perfect foundation to cover an eclectic range of topics in his freelance writing career. From the Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs to countless travel sites, he is proud to be associated with companies and organizations that are definitely at the top of their game. The flexibility of his freelance writing business allows him to devote a significant proportion of his time to study and is finishing his last course – out of 6 – towards his LLB (Hons) this year. He is also an avid traveler and has proudly visited 40 other countries to date, with much more planned for the future.
If you’re reading this blog, no doubt you’re all geared up and ready to make a start in your new career choice as a freelancer? While that is great and congratulations on your eager approach, I would politely advise you just to consider how you will earn enough money to keep yourself afloat in this game.
1. Softly Softly Catchy Monkey…
Most of us would have heard of this famous saying in the past. However, it is important to note how apt this phrase will be when it comes to making a living as a freelancer. Obviously, it goes without saying that you will not be able to dive head first into freelance work and charge a premium rate for your services; you'll need to establish a good reputation first.
Instead, you can only start looking at increasing your rates over time, once you have built up that enviable reputation in your particular industry and your clients feel you are worth it.
As you become increasingly popular with regulars as well as new customers, you may find that you are working a huge number of hours per week to make sure you have tackled everything requested by your clients. While this is okay for a few weeks, of course, you cannot sustain this type of lifestyle in the long-term; something would simply have to give.
Many people feel that it is impossible to make a living as a freelancer without outsourcing some of their work. In the past, I was one of the first people to agree this is the case. However, over the years I came to realize that the people you choose to undertake work on your behalf will never come close to being anything like as good as you. They never (or rarely) put the same care and attention into the work they produce, as the business is not theirs at the end of the day.
If you have found that you have taken on too much work one week, it may be wise to approach another provider to help you out. However, I would have to say that I do not recommend this as a long-term plan. Your business standards will fall exponentially over time, and you will also notice that the level of repeat business is dropping off too.
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3. Finding the Right Balance
To earn a decent wage at freelancing, it will be a case of building up your client portfolio and making sure you hold on to the customers that are the best. Such customers will be happy to pay your standard rates and will keep coming back time and again for repeat work. This means you will have far more time to spend on your job, without having to set many hours aside each week to get out there and seek new projects.
Over the weeks and months, you will soon build up a working pattern that you will be able to trust. You can make sure this coincides with the number of hours you are available to work on a weekly basis. If you notice that your freelance projects are keeping you away from your family more than you would like, it may be a case of letting a client go. On the other hand, if you feel you could genuinely undertake a little more work per week, get out there and acquire it.
4. Become One of the ‘BIG’ Players in the Game
Once you have found your feet in your freelance market, later on, there is nothing to stop you from starting up an agency in that particular field. What I said about outsourcing to providers above still stands, however, if you are working as a more permanent agency, you may have the time to find the very best providers who would prefer to work with you and your company on a far longer term. If you are looking to achieve the big bucks in freelancing, it is said that this is where you will find it.
5. My Personal Experience
When I first started working as a freelance writer, I must admit, I didn’t struggle much to find work. I understood that I would have to take on work that was below by normal rates of pay and I accepted it. I was lucky enough to find a writing agency that was happy to keep sending work my way, and I would consider the owner of this agency to still be a personal friend of mine to this very day. Over time I reluctantly moved on from this company; as my reputation had grown such that I was able to command higher rates of pay and earn a decent living in this industry.
Whatever your experience as a freelancer, I really will keep my fingers crossed that everything works out well for you and you soon find your feet. Alas, at the end of the day, you will never know until you try.
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