A Freelance Author Displays on 5 Years In

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In early 2018, I left my company profession in human assets to go on what I then known as a sabbatical.

5 years later, I’m a contract author, enterprise coach, and writing mentor.

The in-between is a journey I replicate on typically, and I’m grateful to have the chance to share it with you.

Why I Began Freelancing

I began freelancing unintentionally. Throughout my sabbatical, I launched a weblog that partially centered on private finance.

I made connections inside the area of interest by way of social media and, after some time, wrote a visitor put up for a distinguished web site within the house. 

Once I received paid for my work, a lightbulb went off. If I might earn $50 writing, I might earn $500, $5,000, and extra.

So I instantly began in search of platforms I might contribute to usually. My first regular consumer was Girls Who Cash!

As just a few {dollars} turned to hundreds, I noticed I had met the aim of my sabbatical: discovering a location and schedule-independent method to earn a residing. That approach, I might totally present up for myself and people I cherished.

I might work round my life relatively than reside round my work.

Wish to know extra about my backstory? Try this Girls’s Cash Discuss article.

Female hands with pen writing on notebook and using laptop

Advantages of Freelancing

Over the past half-decade, I’ve loved many advantages from freelancing — some anticipated, some a shock.

In fact, I’ve cherished: 

  • Creating my very own schedule, fully accountable for the place and once I work.
  • Having the ability to scale my freelance enterprise up or down based mostly on the ebb and move of my life.
  • Selecting which purchasers to work with and which assignments to just accept.

However I’ve additionally deeply appreciated:

  • Forging relationships with different freelancers and entrepreneurs (they’re your pals, not competitors!)
  • Gaining confidence in terms of asking for cash.
  • Getting pushed out of my consolation zone (repeatedly!).
  • Having the ability to totally step away from my enterprise for greater than three months when my dad handed away in 2019.

I knew from the get-go that freelancing would supply the liberty and adaptability I needed.

However I didn’t understand how a lot that will matter till my father received sick. Then, I received to place all the things else on the planet on maintain to give attention to him, my household, and my psychological well being after his loss of life.

Freelancing gave me the dear reward of time.

I additionally couldn’t predict how a lot development I might expertise as a small enterprise proprietor.

I’ve met extra individuals and gained extra information within the final 5 years than within the 30+ years earlier than!

Associated: Ought to I Give up My Job to Freelance? [The Pros & Cons]

Challenges of Freelancing

Naturally, my journey hasn’t been all chai lattes and impromptu naps. Regardless of largely having fun with the experience, I’ve additionally handled my fair proportion of challenges.

There have been apparent points, resembling:

  • Not having employer-sponsored advantages (specifically medical insurance and a retirement financial savings plan match)
  • Not getting paid once I don’t work
  • Having to navigate paying my self employment taxes (I like to recommend getting an accountant as quickly as you begin making actual cash.)
  • Having to all the time hustle for brand spanking new and higher purchasers
  • Budgeting with variable earnings (the feast or famine phenomenon is actual!)

However I’ve additionally skilled some unanticipated hiccups, like:

  • Shedding a number of purchasers in a brief interval
  • Having potential purchasers categorical curiosity in working collectively after which ghosting me 
  • Coping with initiatives that didn’t play out as marketed
  • Chasing funds for accomplished work (I assumed I would want a lawyer to gather a number of thousand {dollars} from a consumer. Luckily, it didn’t come to that.)

My greatest takeaways from these challenges are repeatedly fostering connections in your community and getting all gig particulars ironed out prematurely and documented in writing.

That approach, you may name upon your circle whenever you run into robust instances, and there’s by no means any query about how a mission ought to go.

Plus, you have got a authorized doc to again you up if a deal goes fallacious.

Learn: Earlier than You Go Freelance, Do These Issues

If I Had To Begin Once more

If I needed to begin once more, would I do something in a different way? A part of me says no, however a part of me says hell sure!

On the one hand, I imagine all the things I’ve skilled has formed me into who I’m.

I like who I’m and suppose I’m precisely the place I’m imagined to be (despite the fact that I’m nonetheless removed from attaining lots of my targets). 

However, then again, I’m wiser now than I used to be then, and it will be good to make use of that perception to construct a greater enterprise sooner.

So, if we magically went again to February 2018, right here’s what I’d do:

  • Write extra visitor posts — and write them sooner. Doing so may need helped place me as a private finance authority and led to gig alternatives.
  • Purchase fewer programs and take extra motion. I’ve bought extra programs about on-line enterprise than I care to confess, and lots of of them sit unfinished and unimplemented.
  • Develop passive earnings streams as early as yr two. I’m nonetheless making an attempt to get just a few of these initiatives going. Had I began in 2019, I could also be accumulating an honest amount of money from them by now.
  • Work extra hours. I’ve loved the liberty of freelancing a bit of an excessive amount of… and my funds replicate that!

Sadly, my Delorean is completely within the store, so time journey is inconceivable. However I’m making an attempt to take my very own hypothetical recommendation into consideration now!

Steadily Requested Questions

Right here are some things chances are you’ll be questioning about:

How do you keep motivated to be your personal boss when so many different issues might pull you away?

The reality is – I haven’t all the time been nice at this. There have been intervals the place I didn’t work almost as a lot as I ought to have.

I can title many causes for this (some legit, others not a lot), however the backside line is that my motivation has waned infrequently.

Once I catch myself in a hunch, I discover that necessity and long-term targets propel me to motion once more. I want money to pay my payments and fund the long run I would like, so again to work I’m going!

Has synthetic intelligence (AI) modified your job, and are you apprehensive about it changing you? 

Many freelance writers fear that AI instruments like ChatGPT will finally change them. I don’t suppose that’s true.

AI can mixture and spit out data in an more and more logical approach. However the computer-generated phrases lack nuance and storytelling.

Human writers can develop connections, stir feelings, and immediate motion much better than the digitally-created copy.

That mentioned, AI instruments may be helpful to writers. They might help generate concepts for additional analysis.

Ought to freelancers have a number of streams of earnings?

100% sure! When you have got a number of earnings streams, you scale back your danger of economic bother when a number of dries up.

Nonetheless, freelancing (sometimes) inherently supplies this buffer, anyway.

Every consumer or mission is a income. So, you’ll have to consider carefully about different earnings sources you’d like to include into your corporation.

Personally, I present teaching companies to new and aspiring freelancers in addition to professionals making an attempt to develop into higher writers.

I’m additionally exploring the concept of promoting printables and freelancing-related merchandise.

Have you considered going/gone again to any W-2 work? 

I maintained some part-time W-2 work for the primary a number of months after quitting my full-time job.

Doing so allowed me to protect my financial savings whereas I found out a plan to earn a residing going ahead. Nonetheless, as soon as I began getting loads of writing gigs, I stop these roles to give attention to my freelance enterprise.

Since then, I’ve admittedly contemplated returning to a conventional job often as a result of I generally miss the regular paycheck and advantages bundle I had within the company world.

I even received deep into the hiring course of with one firm. Nonetheless, once I take into consideration all the things I’ve gained from self-employment, it turns into a no brainer for me to remain the course!

Will you shift to a special small enterprise that you simply personal when you get uninterested in/burned out on what you’re doing now?

I can positively see myself altering gears in some unspecified time in the future, which is one other wonderful cause to domesticate extra earnings streams.

Writing on a regular basis could be a grind, so I received’t essentially do it full-time eternally. Nonetheless, I extremely doubt I’ll ever return to conventional employment.

How do you cease “chasing” cash (taking over an excessive amount of work)?

Simply as there have been instances once I labored too little, there have been instances once I labored an excessive amount of.

Once I discover myself chasing cash, I bear in mind why I took that sabbatical 5 years in the past: to find a method to earn a residing and reside my life.

I have to always remember (at the least for lengthy) that the second half is an important!

As my father typically mentioned, “You’ll be able to all the time make more cash, and you’ll’t make extra time.”

Do you construct in trip time for your self? Do you have got set days off every week?

My schedule is extraordinarily versatile. I take day without work once I wish to or when life calls for it.

I attempt to work 4-5 days per week, however the days aren’t all the time the identical. I go away room for appointments, errands, occasions, sickness, and even mind fatigue.

Since writing is mentally taxing, I’m generally not in the appropriate headspace to do it.

Once I take a trip, I do one in every of two issues. I both work forward and inform my purchasers once I’ll be unavailable. Or, I’ll deliver my laptop computer alongside and write when everybody else is asleep. Each have labored properly for me.

What are a few of your finest and worst moments/experiences as a small enterprise proprietor?

Listed below are just a few of my finest moments and experiences:

  • Incomes my first freelance {dollars}
  • Exceeding my month-to-month company earnings
  • Negotiating for extra money (this one by no means will get previous!)
  • Assembly my freelancer buddies in actual life 
  • Serving to different freelancers with their enterprise
  • Talking at a convention

And listed here are just a few of my worst:

  • Chasing a consumer for $6,000 — and being made to really feel insignificant within the course of
  • Shedding profitable purchasers that I cherished working with
  • Owing taxes once I actually couldn’t afford to pay them
  • Watching web sites I wrote for stop to exist (there go these hyperlinks in my portfolio…)
  • Doubting my capability to keep up and develop a enterprise (this sense creeps in periodically)

I’m positive that I’m forgetting many highlights and lowlights. However the reality is, freelancing has given me greater than it’s taken, and it’s completely been a web achieve for my life!

Last Ideas

I hope this account of my journey has given you a glimpse into what to anticipate as a freelancer — each now and within the years to come back. However when you nonetheless have questions, I’m a fairly open e book. Be at liberty to e-mail me to speak store: [email protected]

Right here’s to your freelancing success!

Laura Gariepy Headshot

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