Let me be very clear, this post is about my experience. It is not a ‘how to’ post. If you want a good ‘how to’ on freelance writing you should download Allison Tait’s ebook.
When I migrated to this country 11 years ago, my journalistic skills, as stated in my CV, didn’t translate to jobs. Companies here need local experience and in order to get local experience, you need to do free roles. I couldn’t do that because I have bills to pay so I had to take much junior roles. I was pissed off at first but eventually I calmed down. It is how it is. I decided to learn from the roles I took on and be good at it.
For the last six years, I’ve managed to maintain a freelance writing/editing role from home. It’s an awesome, albeit unsecure, role. I don’t have plans to go back to full time role unless my salary is more than what hubby’s making.
Although the way I managed to maintain this job is somewhat unconventional, I thought I’d share my experience anyway just in case you get bits of information that would help your own work-from-home job.
Do your job well – I received a writing gig on my Facebook inbox one day, out of the blue. A woman I interviewed and wrote an article on over six years ago remembered me. It was amazing how she thought of me years after our last contact. She offered me a good paying writing gig that was regular enough to keep the income flowing. A job well done can be memorable. You want to be remembered for the work you did well, not the work you did badly.
Send your CV – Polish up your CV and make sure you have writing samples you can send out or accessible online. Send the CV to magazines you want to work for and just say they can keep your details on file if there are no vacancies. Guess what? This stuff actually works. After my maternity leave finished and I quit my full time job, I started sending out my CV to magazines. Over the years, I always got casual roles from different publications. Some for three months, some regular, some casual. You never know when they’ll need your skills.
Keep improving – Although I’ve been doing this job for over a decade, I want to keep my skills fresh. Doing online classes are helpful (and also a tax deduction). I highly recommend carving out some time and money for this. It’s a competitive industry and anything you can do to help yourself stand out will go a long way.
Learn to say no – I had to stop thinking that my skills are not valuable enough to charge a good fee. Avoid free gigs unless you’re starting out, like really starting out. I sometimes charge a small fee for startups that I really like but not for too long.
Blogging can lead to paid work and more – I’ve been blogging for 11 years. I’m a dinosaur blogger. I used to think blogging is not going to translate in real money and real work but it can. I learned a lot from the blogging conferences I went to and when my real work asked if I know how to maintain a blog I said yes. It’s now an additional regular income. Also, because I consider the income I get from my blog as extra money (aka ‘handbag money’ even if I don’t buy handbags), I use it to pay for things like writing courses and writing festivals.