How to Stop Relying on Your Freelance Writing Clients and Make A Name Doing Your Own Thing

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We need our freelance writing clients. Their projects pay the bills and if not for them we’d be at the office jobs we loathe. Still, most writers aspire to make a living writing for themselves. No bosses. No clients. No deadlines. Of course, the problem with this is we can’t stop writing for clients because we need the money.

In the Internet age, it’s easy to take advantage of our freelance writing clients in order to boost our careers. Many count on their their clients to give them a boost. Many bloggers even count on clients’ blogs and websites as a way to promote their own stuff. Certainly if it’s OK with the client, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a little shameless self promotion. We all do it, the ability to publish bylines and bios are written into many contracts. However,  if we want to make names for ourselves, doing our own thing, we’ll eventually have to jump off our clients’ coattails.

So how do we get there?

If you want to make a name for yourself beyond client projects:

Write every day….for you

Put aside time each day to work on your blogs or write your novel. Even if you have to rely on client projects for paying the bills, still try and write one page of your ebook or a blog post each day. It may be the last thing you want to do, but consider it an investment into your future. It’s sure to be slow going at first, but at least it’s going. Even if it’s one page or one blog post or one little bit of content, you’re one step closer to giving up those freelance writing clients for good.

Look into passive income

The web has opened the door for many passive income opportunities. Publishing blogs, informative websites, ebooks, courses, coaching services, workbooks and more can help you on the path to freedom.

What appeals to you?

Gone are the days when you have to hope a major publishing company likes your book proposal. There are so many ways to get your message out, and so many ways to earn money through passive income streams. The best part is that most forms of passive income require little or no investment. It doesn’t cost anything to start a blog or create an email, though you may want to invest in some bells and whistles to make the process easier.

Network on your own behalf

So you’re on Twitter and you’re promoting the blog posts you wrote for someone else. How is that really benefiting you?  It’s cool and all. However, if you put that same effort into your own stuff, you’re creating a buzz outside of a specific brand name.  You’re building up your own brand. You’re introducing people to YOUR stuff.  Now you’re walking on your own two feet instead of taking a ride on someone else’s train.

What is your goal?

What is your goal as a writer? Is it to earn a living and that’s it? If so, carry on. Client work handsomely pays the bills. However if your ultimate goal is to earn with your own stuff, you’re going to need to work a little harder. It’ll take time, but I can tell you with all confidence the effort is absolutely worth it.

Think about your goals as a writer. When people see your byline, do they think of you or do they think of the people you work for? There’s nothing wrong with bylines but in today’s world there are so many ways to break away from clients and make your way.

Is it your goal to make a name for yourself? If so, what steps are you taking to make it so?


  1. says

    Inspiring post! I don’t work for any clients, but passive income makes sense since I now have to earn a living. Will investigate how best to do that.

    And, yes, I write everyday. My goal IS to earn with my own stuff.

    So thank you for this encouragement. All the work and effort will be worth it, I know.

  2. says

    Excellent, excellent post! One of my clients asked me why I write the little profiles of people on my gardening blog, like “Remembering Miss Nita” this week…that’s the writing I do for me; it gives me the creative outlet I need in an otherwise busy week dedicated to other people’s writing. Thank you for the reminder that it’s okay to take time for my projects, too!

    • says

      Jeanne, Isn’t it funny how we never remember to take time for ourselves until someone points it out to us?

      May your garden blog bloom for years and years…

  3. says

    I highly recommend that every writer find some sort of related income stream. For me that’s been teaching nonprofits how to write good content themselves. I’ve enjoyed that so much that I do much more teaching and coaching now than writing for clients. But as you point out, that doesn’t mean I’m not writing at all. Instead, I write two blogs and I wrote a book last year that will be published this summer. It’s been a great combination that (1) keeps me from getting bored with a handful of clients (2) diversifies my income so I can roll with the times, and (3) puts my name/brand out there for future projects.
    .-= Kivi Leroux Miller´s last blog ..Want to Write for More Nonprofit Clients? =-.

    • says

      Hi Kivi,

      Welcome to FWJ! I love what you’re doing. My mom is a retired instructional designer and on spare days works with the Vincent DePaul society teaching them how to write training programs for charity workers. She does it on a volunteer basis to give back, but then she’s retired and isn’t looking for cash. That you can make it work for you financially is gravy.

      Please don’t be a stranger.

  4. says

    I am an Indonesian and teaching English at a private high school at a small town of southern sea shore of West Java. I used to translate some English plays into Indonesian for any theater groups, in addition I write for some daily newspapers but as I am busy at school I try to write about tourism destinations on a web. I really don’t know if my activity will earn me some living in the future.


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