For years I wanted to be a full-time freelance journalist so I could finally write on my own terms. But I was convinced I could never make a decent living as a freelancer.
Then, one day I thought, “But what if I can?”
One day I simply decided to believe I could make it work. And I did!
I’ve been a successful full-time freelancer for over a year now – in the midst of a pandemic.
Here’s how you can go full-time freelance, too.
Don’t quit your day job – at least not at first.
Before you can become a successful full-time freelance writer, you need to be a successful part-time freelance writer. While you’re still working your 9-to-5 (or 8-to-3 if you’re educator like I was) start writing for a few publications.
Use social media or any connections you have to build relationships with editors. Then pitch some story ideas or simply ask if the editor has any stories you could take on.
Related Reading: A Girl’s Guide to Freelancing
As you start to get gigs, be careful not to take on more than you can handle. Otherwise you run the risk of not only missing deadlines but also burning out.
Related Reading: How to Balance Freelance Writing with Your Full-Time Job
Balance Your Budget
Now let’s talk about money. I am not here for the starving artist cliché. I want you to be a well-fed writer. So, before you go full-time freelance figure out your finances.
Determine how much money you need each month to live comfortably. Now, consider the steady gigs you have. How many stories would you need to write per month to earn the income you need? Is this a realistic number?
Let’s review with examples…
So, let’s say you need to earn $4000 a month and you write for a publication that pays $600 per story, one that pays $300 per story and another one that pays $100 for a story. You’d need to write four stories for each publication each month (or three stories each week).
First, you need to ask yourself if you can handle writing three stories a week. If so, then you need to ask your editors if they think they’ll have the budget and the content to give you four story assignments each month. If they say yes, then you’re on your way!
Before you take the leap, try to have three to six months of income saved. Some publications pay weeks or even months after a story is filed, so you’ll need some cash to get you by while you’re waiting for those two magic words: INVOICE PAID.
Dream On, Dreamer
Even after you line up the gigs you need to go full-time freelance, keep going after those publications on your writing bucket list. You want to work up to writing for publications that pay more so you can write less.
Also, consider pursuing other sources of revenue such as freelance content writing for businesses.
If you want to learn more about freelance writing, check out my e-course See Jane Freelance.