How/Why Did You Get Into Freelancing?

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PJ (Admin)
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How/Why Did You Get Into Freelancing?

Post by PJ (Admin) » Thu May 25, 2017 12:47 pm

I've always considered myself to be an author. That's what I always wanted to do and that's what I was lucky enough to become a few years ago. For me, freelancing was a way to fill the gaps, guarantee an income and to pay for PR for my books. It actually become much more than that, but that's how it started.

But what about you guys? How did you get into it? Did you always write, is this the end goal for you or is it just a stepping stone? I've always said that freelancing can open so many doors, but is that what you want?
P. J. Aitken. FWU Founder. Author of The Online Writer's Companion. Ask me a question using the Ask FWU forum.

Shana
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Re: How/Why Did You Get Into Freelancing?

Post by Shana » Thu May 25, 2017 2:59 pm

Good question! I think a lot of times we get asked "what's so great about freelancing," or "how much money do you make as a freelancer" but we don't very frequently look at the "why" of it.

I got my first start a few years ago. I worked on what was then oDesk, and met a few great clients. I, like a lot of people, started small, and took a few jobs that were very low paying.

Then, life happened, and suffice it to stay I had to stop. I left freelancing in a VERY quick hurry (my deepest apologies to those wonderful clients) and went back to a regular job.

I worked for a company for three years, and didn't really give writing much thought during that time. I loved the company and the company loved me until one particular director was hired. She didn't like me too much - she thought we were in the midst of a power struggle, and one week she "forgot" to schedule me. Long story short, I "forgot" to call her to get my schedule the following week, and that was that.

Freelancing, at that point, was because I was in a pinch. I decided to come back to Upwork, and was able to take on a few new clients. I tricked one other client into hiring me back despite my unannounced departure, and he begrudgingly agreed. I've got four "big" clients who have regular work for me, and many others who pop up from time to time with projects.

I started back freelancing in around January of this year, and within a month or so was able to build my client base and my work load to where I was making a full time income. It's not millions, but it pays the bills and affords a bit extra for weekend trips. I knew this time around what I'd done wrong the first time around, and if I learned one thing, it's this: if you treat freelancing as a full time job, it can easily become one.

I do see it as an end goal of sorts. I don't have any huge book ideas in my head, I can't write fiction to save my life, and I know that there's potential to make more money doing what I'm doing now.

I've got a few cool projects of my own that I work on when I've got time, and some have been pretty lucrative.

All this to say that I started freelancing as a means to an end (which was paying rent) and continued to do it because I fell in love with it.
You will always find an answer in the sound of water.

~Chuang-Tse

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PJ (Admin)
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Re: How/Why Did You Get Into Freelancing?

Post by PJ (Admin) » Mon May 29, 2017 1:08 pm

It's easy to fall in and out of love with this job. The director issue is one of the reasons it is so easy. Companies are always changing and i've had that issue myself before. I've also worked with people who have had 100% of the say on every project, only to decide that the CEO, the manager and God knows who else suddenly needed to have a say on a new project.

I have a file on my computer that contains articles I have written off, from jobs I either quit, gave up on, or walked away in anger. I ran a count the other day and there are over 50,000 words in there. Luckily, they are now being uploaded to my own sites and put to good use. But that's a lot of content that should have been paid for.

I've always found it better to walk away from a job and retain the content, then put up with clients who change the goal posts, make demands that are unreasonable, or are just complete dicks about everything. The fact that I have so much content means i'm either very temperamental or there are a lot of dicks out there.
P. J. Aitken. FWU Founder. Author of The Online Writer's Companion. Ask me a question using the Ask FWU forum.

MegStewart
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Re: How/Why Did You Get Into Freelancing?

Post by MegStewart » Mon May 29, 2017 2:55 pm

I've always written, from the time I was about ten year old but I never considered myself a writer. I started freelancing because I had my fourth child at 39 years old and wanted desperately to stay home with my two youngest girls. I was so tired of the brick and mortar world where I always seemed to work my tail off for a company that in the end didn't really appreciate the time and effort I gave.

So I started doing business and medical transcription because I could type and the topics were ones I was familiar with. I quickly got bored with that and picked up two clients who needed a consultant, one a small business startup and the other a CFO in silicon valley who needed to learn to better use technology to fit in with his younger colleagues. In between those two jobs I wrote keyword articles. Then I started ghostwriting, first a guide on woodstoves, then a report on parenting, and an e-book on marriage. I've written on everything from termites to car insurance, and from prepping to the ancient wonders of the world. I filled in as a research associate for a global recruiting firm and then became the Executive Admin to the four partners. That was two years of very steady work but it was also insane hours and I kept taking on more responsibility. I left when I asked for more money and they said they "couldn't afford it". Within three months of leaving they hired three people to replace me, an office manager, a business development VP, and a marketing associate. The BD vice president and marketing associate were both men. For six months they telephoned me asking how to do things I had been doing.

I think that experience drove home for me that no company was going to value my work the way I did. I went back to Upwork and within a month had regular clients and steady work. Within two months I was turning down invitations to interview for projects every week. I stay very busy but I only take on projects that I want to do. I have more time for my family and more time for my own nonfiction projects and fiction writing.

This year is about branding for me. I'm transitioning away from Upwork so I anticipate a greater need to market myself and my services. I also intend to publish in the next year so having a brand and a platform will be beneficial.

Shana
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Re: How/Why Did You Get Into Freelancing?

Post by Shana » Mon May 29, 2017 3:14 pm

Oooh another published author. What are you working on?
You will always find an answer in the sound of water.

~Chuang-Tse

MegStewart
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Re: How/Why Did You Get Into Freelancing?

Post by MegStewart » Mon Jun 05, 2017 2:01 pm

I've got several things in the works actually. My current fiction WIP's include Danara's Destiny which is a fantasy adventure that takes place on Earth but centuries from now after the Human Empire has been all but wiped out. I'm working on a series of short stories which will be a self-published anthology titled "Where the Lost Things Go". You can find the first short story in that series on Medium at https://medium.com/@writewizard/i-cant-find-my-pants-48af975ad176. It's titled "I Can't Find My Pants!"

What's in your queue Shana?

LadyJanika
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Re: How/Why Did You Get Into Freelancing?

Post by LadyJanika » Tue Jun 13, 2017 12:00 am

Well I guess I got passionated in writing when I was in the 3rd grade. I have always loved how words could take me to different places. Writing had helped me express my sadness and happiness. It took away my burdens. Whenever I'm feeling down or angry. I just have to write it down and everything would be better.

It would be best to conclude that writing is an essential part of my daily life.

Shana
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Re: How/Why Did You Get Into Freelancing?

Post by Shana » Tue Jun 13, 2017 4:43 pm

This is the first post of yours that I've read, so forgive me if you've already answered... what kind of writing do you do?
You will always find an answer in the sound of water.

~Chuang-Tse

Karen
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Re: How/Why Did You Get Into Freelancing?

Post by Karen » Wed Jun 21, 2017 6:29 pm

I've always loved writing. My first book/story was submitted to a contest in 2nd grade. A few years later, I wrote a poem that won a contest. In my teens, I wrote mostly about my friends and the guys we had crushes on. Sometimes I would even do a Choose Your Own Adventure in class. Instead of passing notes, I would pass the story to my friends and they would have to pick which way the story went.

I was always told that people thought I'd grow up to be a writer. I was always reading or writing but I think somewhere along the line I told myself (and convinced myself) I wasn't good enough. I grew up when self-publishing wasn't heard of. I just knew that I wasn't going to get the attention of a publisher and I'd spend my life trying and failing for nothing.

Now I'm older and I've decided to give freelancing a try. I do a bit of content writing on the side to make some money to pay the bills but it's barely enough and it's not fun at all. I'm in the process of plotting out some novels to write and then publish.

One problem I find myself running into is information overload and thinking that I need to know all these things before I start. It causes me to freeze so I've been working on it for awhile. Literally, it's been years. It's kind of hard to admit that but I know that I can move forward if I just keep trying.

Sorry for the long ramble!

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PJ (Admin)
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Re: How/Why Did You Get Into Freelancing?

Post by PJ (Admin) » Thu Jun 22, 2017 12:29 am

Karen wrote:

> One problem I find myself running into is information overload and thinking
> that I need to know all these things before I start. It causes me to freeze
> so I've been working on it for awhile. Literally, it's been years. It's
> kind of hard to admit that but I know that I can move forward if I just
> keep trying.
>
> Sorry for the long ramble!

There is a lot to take in, but you don't need it all to begin with. When I wrote the Online Writer's Companion I had a hard time getting everything I thought was essential in and didn't think it would work. But once I stripped it back, i realized that the initial steps, the ones to go from nothing to a full-time freelancer on a decent wage, were actually quite simple.

Once you start earning you'll start learning all the extra stuff that can help. There are loads of ways to make your life easier, from learning SEO/Grant Writing, to getting to grips with the portals, outsourcing and more. But to begin with, just find the right platform, send out a few applications and start writing.

It may help with the self-publishing as well. Different beast entirely, but you'll make contacts and you'll learn things as a freelancer that can help.
P. J. Aitken. FWU Founder. Author of The Online Writer's Companion. Ask me a question using the Ask FWU forum.

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