Freelance Writing Clients are Cool and All…But Don’t Forget About Your Own Stuff


Something I struggle with is whether or not I should put most of my eggs in my clients’ baskets or if I should invest my time in me. With clients the pay is sometimes better and more immediate, but I’m not necessarily writing my passion. However, when I create my own projects, I have the opportunity to earn on my own terms and not have to troll for work or meet someone else’s deadlines. If you’ve been doing this for a while, you might consider how to begin earning a residual income by taking advantage of your own expertise.

What is your passion?

Now, before I go on, understand this. I’m not telling you to write about writing (unless you want to). Everyone who writes thinks they have to have a blog  about writing to be taken seriously, this isn’t true.You can write about whatever you want. Say your garden is the envy of the neighborhood year after year, you can exploit that expertise by blogging, writing ebooks, traditional books and even creating online courses for each of the difference gardening zones. I write about writing or blogging the way Gary Vaynerchuk discusses wine. I talk about it because it’s my passion, not because writers have to write about writing. Share what you love and your passion will shine through.

Everyone is good at something

Everyone has a specialty. It might be interior design, cake decorating, cars, tomatoes, or turtles. If you enjoy these things, there’s a good chance there are others enjoying them as well. If your interest is more than an occasional hobby, if you have a passion and everything you touch turns to gold, you have the ability to reach people and teach them what you know.

What can you do with your passion?

My passions including writing, blogging and social media, which is why you see me write so much on these topics. Have you noticed I’ve been doing more for myself lately than with clients? In addition to blogging, I write ebooks, speak at conferences and local business meetings, and, I even have a book proposal in the works. In the past six months, I’ve turned away at least a dozen clients. My passion has become a career and yours can too.

What next?

It’s time for a good old-fashioned brainstorming session. Think about your passion. What would you like to do with it? Have you thought about blogging or creating a series of ebooks? Make a list of goals. If your goal is to only write for clients who share your passion, think about the ways you can accomplish this. If it’s your goal to speak to others about your favorite topic, list how you will do this. Make a list of goals and research the ways you can accomplish those goals.

Find the Time

A common excuse for not starting our own projects is time. I don’t care how busy you are, time is only an excuse. Even if you find one hour a week to write a page of a book, you can find the time to do this. You have to, or you’re destined to write for other people for the rest of your life. Anyone wishing to break away from clients to become self-sufficient can do so with the right time investment. For example, to build this blog, I invested two hours of my time every day for several years. Now, it’s pretty much a full time job, but it also pays a full time salary. Making sure I had time to invest no matter how many clients, no matter how many hours worked at my full time job, ensured a return on that investment almost five years later.

It’s not only the blog, either. Investing a little time each day to write an ebook is slowly paying off. It’s not a runaway best seller but I’m earning money from my ebook every month and that’s never a bad thing. With two more ebooks in the works, I’m investing more time in my future. The more of my own projects I take on, the less time I’m spending with clients and handling their projects.

Everyone has options

In 2010, there are no more excuses. We all have an opportunity to share our passion. Never before have there been so many options available. As Darren Rowse just proved, you can self publish and still earn the same amount of money as a best selling novel. Now, there’s nothing wrong with writing for clients, but don’t forget your own stuff.

Most freelance writers have goals they never meet. There’s no better time than now to share your passion.

What’s your passion? How will you use it?

Not sure of what to do with your passion? Need to bounce some ideas around? Talk to us in the comments and we’ll help you brainstorm.


  1. says

    Geez, you’re really making us think these days! I have two passions that I want to work with, teaching (cooking and work at home moms) and fiction novels for young adults. All too often, I get caught up in trying to get everything done for my clients and I miss out on my own stuff. But you’re right, we decide our time, we have the choice to make time for our projects.

  2. says

    I have a number of fiction projects I make time for each night because I’ll go crazy if I don’t. 😉

    But in the non-fiction world, I have a number of blogs that interest me, but only one I seem to consistently find time to post on. The problem? Not much of a market for it. (Paranormal) People may like to read about ghosts, dream interpretation and psychic abilities, but I haven’t found a way to make much at it. The Google ads are just…*sighs*

    I think this one gets to stay a hobby while I try to develop the other blogs. :(

  3. says

    Wonderful stuff, and a great reminder. I do keep up with my own blogs, but I have to admit that I haven’t spend any time working on my detective story, and that’s a shame. I’ll have to find that balance somewhere one of these days.

  4. says

    Since I’ve been freelancing, I’ve given up writing fiction almost entirely and it used to be my favorite thing to do. Lately I’ve been looking at my friends who started out when I did, one is a successful romance writer, one has a TV show coming on the air soon — I feel like I’ve missed the boat.

    It would be nice to get back to fiction writing but you know. . . excuses, excuses.

  5. Lucie Lewis says

    It is nice to hear that this is not a newbie struggle. I know what made me decide to follow my dream of writing but concern over paying the bills is hovering like a dark cloud and a powerful distraction. Trolling for assignments reminds me of what I really want to be doing. I need to hold onto my focus and develop a little patience to give it time to come together.

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