I realize I’ve been freelance writing consistently for just about two years now. I started back in college and picked up odd jobs here and there on Craigslist. Then, after I started my blog at the end of 2014, I realized I wanted to get back into freelancing to earn some extra money and it ended up becoming my full-time job.
I don’t talk a lot about my freelancing experiences so I wanted to change that because it’s actually a big part of my life now. It’s money related and I do it every day. Plus, I think sharing more of what I’ve learned and experienced about freelance writing will be helpful to anyone who is interested in breaking into that field.
Today I wanted to cover some common misconceptions about freelance writers. I still feel like many people I talk to don’t understand what I do and what it takes to be successful so I thought this would be a fun post to debunk some things.
Here are 4 of the most common misconceptions about freelance writers and why they’re not true.
1. All Freelance Writers Are Amazing Writers
If you write for a living or on the side, some people may think that you’re just an all-around amazing writer or else you wouldn’t have the nerve to get into freelancing.
I hate to burst that bubble and I don’t mean to knock other writers but the truth is, no one is a perfect writer – I’m definitely not. It takes time and practice for your skills to improve so don’t get discouraged if you think you’re not a good enough writer.
Also, there are many different types of niches when it comes to freelance writing and it’s best to narrow down your talents. For example, I’ve had people ask me to write papers and essays for them or do technical writing and those things are just not my forte.
To become a successful freelance writer, I think you do need to be a talented writer and have proper grammar and spelling skills, but there is more to it than that and those characteristics can also be developed over time.
2. Freelance Writers Do A Lot of Free Work
This is another misconception that bothers/confuses me. I’ve been asked by people to write for free since college. When I was a student, I was fine with doing it sometimes. But now that I run a business, it’s less likely that I’ll produce free content.
If you’re just getting started and trying to build up your portfolio, I think doing a few free guest articles for other websites or bloggers you’re familiar with is fine and can help. However, I wouldn’t get into the habit of doing it all the time.
Writing is real work and requires lots of time and energy. As a freelance writer, I not only come up with content ideas, but I also perform research, conduct interviews, edit my work etc. If you’re trying to earn a real profit from freelance writing, you’ll have to realize that you may have expenses you need to meet in order to keep your business running along with some unpaid work like emailing clients, sending pitches, creating invoices, marketing etc.
All of those things add up which is why freelance writers can’t do a ton of free work.
3. It’s Hard to Earn a Lot of Money From Freelance Writing
This is a myth that I actually believed when I got started. I signed up for freelance writing coaching program with my friend and mentor Cat Alford and I recall setting goals with her and telling her I wanted to earn at least $1,000 in freelance writing income.
Cat was really inspirational to me as she was supporting her husband who was in med school at the time and their two twins off her freelance writing income.
Once I got started though, I felt discouraged since it was harder than I thought to earn that much money in one month’s time. Fast forward to recently, I earned $10,000 from freelance writing alone toward the end of the year.
What changed? I got better at writing, pitching, and expanding my network. I write every day and I love what I do so quitting wasn’t an option. Freelance writing is interesting because it often starts out slow and you have to stick with it.
One day, you’re trying to get new clients and have a lot of time on your hands. Then the next day, you’re overbooked and have plenty of work to keep you busy. Overall, freelance writing has the potential to be a very profitable career.
I knew many freelance writers who earn six figures each year. Holly from Club Thrifty is one who earned an average of $225,000 from freelance writing alone last year.
Holly has a course called Earn More Writing that teaches you many of the strategies she’s used to find and keep dream clients and increase her writing income. If you feel like you’re stuck when it comes to earning more from freelance writing, your best bet is to seek help from someone who’s been there and done that so you can start seeing more success quickly.
4. Anyone Can Become a Freelance Writer
Freelance writing is great and I love it which is why I recommend it often to people who are looking for a flexible way to earn more money. However, it’s important to realize that freelancing may not be a good fit for everyone.
If you don’t like the idea of having a fluctuating income and the uncertainty that comes with losing and gaining clients at random times throughout the year, you may not like it.
You also may have trouble maintaining your workload over time. You may get tired of writing or start having long stints of writer’s block. To combat this, I recommend establishing clients with writing assignments that you love working on or being able to pitch your own ideas and write about things that interest you.
Another thing you might want to consider is trying out freelance writing in addition to offering another service like virtual assistant work that way you can diversify your workload and income.
All in all, you’ll have to decide whether the pros outweigh the cons to determine if freelance writing is right for you.
I don’t mind writing all the time and I actually like sending out pitches to potential clients. I also love the freedom and flexibility that freelance writing provides. I can work from anywhere and whenever I want. I also work a little less now that I’m freelancing full-time as opposed to when I worked a 9-5 job.
I feel much more present in my family’s life and most important, I’m doing something I love each day.
I hope debunking these common myths shed some light on what freelance writing is really like. If you’re looking for more tips to help you get started as a freelance writer, you can always check out the post I linked to above.
Did you ever believe any of these common misconceptions about freelance writing? Have you heard anything that isn’t on this list?
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