Finding a career that suits your interests, lifestyle and income requirements can be a challenge. For some people, the idea of working from home sounds beyond perfect, with the opportunity to wear pajama pants all day and surf the internet. However, working on freelance writing gigs from home come with their fair share of downsides as well. Before you make the leap and quit your day job, here are a few things to consider to know if freelance writing is right for you. [Read more…]
Author: Kenneth Waldman is a freelance writer and content creator. He draws his inspiration out of the traveling. Get in touch with him on Linkedin.
You might be surprised to learn the number of freelance writing aspirants out there. However, many don’t dedicate time to fulfilling their dream. Alternatively, they go about their 9 to 5 traditional work routines, take orders from irritable bosses, and get paid less their worth.
If you wish to be a freelancer and your current situation is similar to the one outlined above, it’s high time you make a change. You’ll only waste time if you keep procrastinating.
Just remember that it takes some time to grow a successful freelance writing business. The steps to actually start are simple. They do not guarantee that you’ll be swimming in cash, but they will set you on the right path to gaining a solid income in the near future. [Read more…]
We all know that freelance writers run the risk of falling victim to fraud. While there are a lot of legitimate freelance writing jobs with trustworthy companies and individual clients, there are also many scammers out there.
As freelance writers, it is part of our duty to practice due diligence in order to avoid being victims of fraud. However, there are times when, in spite of being careful, we still get scammed. Daniel A. Perlman, a criminal lawyer, advises that in these cases, freelance writers should seek redress in court. There are different factors which come into play in order to win such cases, so you may want to seek legal counsel to get the best results.
It is better to be ultra careful when taking on jobs. Before you reach the stage of having to file a lawsuit, why not identify red flags so that you can stay away from shady job ads?
Here are some tips to avoid freelance writing job frauds.
Watch out for clients who avoid contracts at all costs.
While there are certain situations when you may take on work without a contract (although this is really risky for you), when taking on new clients, make sure you have a written agreement. Essential elements to include in the contract:
- Pay rate
- Number of revisions
- Scope of work
If a new client comes across as defensive when it comes to a contract, then it may be best to decline the job.
Here are more tips on writing freelance writing contracts.
Avoid paid job databases.
Aside from FWJ, there are other job databases where you can find freelance writing gigs. Companies also post their own job openings on their websites. There really is no reason to pay to look at a job board. The chances are that your money will just be wasted.
Be wary of clients who ask for unpaid samples.
Not all clients who ask for unpaid samples are scammers, but you’ve heard of horror stories about writers who don’t get hired after sending samples in and then seeing their content used elsewhere.
What you can do is tell the client that you have a lot of published samples and that you can send those as proof of the quality of your work. Alternatively, you can ask to be paid for the samples, even if it’s not the normal rate. If this doesn’t work out, you can also ask around freelance writing communities about the company or person.
Stay away from “unpaid for the first x articles, then get paid after that” setups.
This is similar to clients asking for unpaid samples. Usually, the reason given by the client is to have a trial period to determine if you are a fit. While that makes sense, the trial period should be paid, and you should ask for that. If the client does not agree, then you’re better off finding another gig.
Have you ever been scammed as a freelance writer? What happened? Did you go after them in court?
Share your stories with us so that we can learn from them.
Many of us started our freelance career by taking on odd jobs here and there while having a day job at the same time. Others may not have a day job but take on freelance writing work sporadically.
For some freelance writers, however, there comes a point when freelancing becomes a full-time business and not just some activity on the side. At this point, the story goes in a different direction. Suddenly, you have more responsibilities, potentially acting as CEO, CTO, CFO, and every other “C” you can think about.
You’re responsible for taxes. You’re responsible for ensuring the business doesn’t go under and that you don’t have to hire a bankcuptcy lawyer to help bail you out of a financial mess. You have to put processes in place – and all the things that come with running a business.
This may all sound overwhelming, and indeed it can be. You can always hire outside help – accountants, assistants, etc. – but if you can limit this, your bottom line will increase. How do you increase the chances of your freelance business succeeding? Read on for the recipe to the secret sauce.
“Secret” Freelance Business Tips
It’s “secret” with quotation marks because these freelance business tips may not be so secret. It’s just that some freelancers may not have thought of them, especially if they have not run their own business in the past.
Think as an entrepreneur
What is an entrepreneur? Short answer: someone who runs a business, taking all responsibilities for its success – from finances to hiring employees.
As a freelancer, you may have approached your work in a more laidback manner.
I’ll take on clients today. Wait for another one. Write.
As an entrepreneur, you need to go one step further. Treat your work as a business and let your clients know that.
Start with a contract. There are some exceptions, of course, but generally, having a written agreement is necessary for a successful freelance business. Make sure you cover all your bases and that you and your client are clear on the details. Pro tip: Include a clause which states that you will charge X percent for late payments.
Use professional tools. For example, when it’s time to charge the client, don’t merely send a casual email asking to be paid. Use billing programs that make it easy for you and the client to track the work done and the fees involved. It is also advisable to use a dedicated phone line when you can afford it. This avoids your child answering the phone if a client calls – a sign that your business is not so professional after all.
Hustle like a sales rep
Go through job boards every day. Look for opportunities as much as you can.
When there seems to be a lack of job ads, create opportunities for yourself. Do your research and pitch to companies. Go around your neighborhood and look out for potential clients. Do what you have to do to get clients.
Share your work. Ask fellow freelancers to share your work (and return the favor). Engage with influencers and when you’ve established a connection, don’t hesitate to approach them and ask if they are willing to share your work.
Hustle. The worst thing that can happen is that you get a no.
Create more than client work
Getting and retaining clients is great. But don’t stop there. You want your business to grow and one way to do that is to create something more than client work which will get the word out about your freelance business.
Take the time to go beyond the usual day-to-day writing tasks.
One example is to run surveys and turn the results into a case study. You can then publish this case study – making sure your brand is visible – and share it for free. This is an excellent way to build your authority and gain brand awareness for your business.
Back to you
Are you thinking of establishing a freelance business? Do you already have a registered company? These freelance business tips will help you grow and reach your goals.
If you have your own freelance business tips you want to share, we’d love to hear them!
“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” ― C.S. Lewis
I may be biased since C.S. Lewis is one of my favorite authors, but when it comes to children’s books, no truer words have been spoken. I believe that if there is one thing children’s books authors should always remember, it is this quote.
While the children’s book market is shifting, with sales numbers going up and down, the market is still strong. Factors such as reading an eBook instead of a paperback, parents choosing a personalised children’s book instead of a mass-published one, and preferring hardcovers bought in brick-and-mortar bookstores all come together to continue boosting the children’s book industry.
At the end of the day, children’s books are here to stay. They have stories to tell, lessons to teach, and adventures to be enjoyed.
If you’re a children’s book author – or you want to be one – don’t be discouraged. There are people out there waiting for your book, and even if it’s you have an impact on only a handful of readers, that would be worth your while, wouldn’t it?
And, even if you’re not a children’s book author, there are some things you can learn from children’s books. After all, these books do bring out childlike qualities in all of us.
You may not have read all the good children’s books out there, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pick up a gem or two of wisdom from some of the most loved stories. Adult and children alike are affected in countless positive ways by these stories.
Whether you need some inspiration for your story, or you simply need a boost, here are some quotes for children’s books that will perk you up, make you think, and maybe encourage you to read those which you haven’t.
1. “One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.” – The Little Prince
2. “But all the magic I’ve known, I’ve had to make myself.” – Where the Sidewalk Ends
3. “The greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.” – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
4. “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” – Horton Hears a Who
5. “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” – Alice in Wonderland
6. “I don’t understand it any more than you do, but one thing I’ve learned is that you don’t have to understand things for them to be.” – A Wrinkle in Time
7. “When someone is crying, of course, the noble thing to do is to comfort them. But if someone is trying to hide their tears, it may also be noble to pretend you do not notice them.” – A Series of Unfortunate Events
8. “You’re mad, bonkers, completely off your head. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.” – Alice in Wonderland
9. “Courage, dear heart.” – Voyage of the Dawn Treader
10. “The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.” – Peter Pan
11. “Keep all your promises, don’t take what doesn’t belong to you, and always look after those less fortunate than yourself, and you’ll do well in the world.” – The Dragon of Lonely Island
12. “Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” – Where the Sidewalk Ends
Which of these quotes resonate most with you? Do you have any other quotes from children’s books that you want to share?
Some more quotes for you:
You may run your freelance writing business from home and take care of all expenses yourself. Your focus is probably on sending pitches, getting clients, making sure your work is excellent, meeting deadlines, and cultivating repeat clients – among many other things a freelance writer has to deal with.
Have you ever thought of taking out insurance for yourself and/or your business? Maybe you haven’t because your spouse has insurance that covers the family to a certain degree, so why would you have the need for insurance as a freelance writer?
Here are some factors to think about, which may help you decide whether you need insurance as a freelance writer.
The first thing that may come to mind is that you work at home and you have no employees. Why should there be a need for liability insurance, which covers injuries that happen in your work premises?
While that is a valid point, Phoenix injury attorney Benjamin Wright brings up the scenario wherein you meet clients or contractors at your home office.
What if they get injured while at your home? A fall? A dog bite? Anything that results in a client getting injured.
This is a good case for the argument that freelancers need insurance – especially if the situation gets nasty and you have to go to court.
Do you need this type of insurance?
Perhaps more so than the first type.
Indemnity insurance protects you if a client becomes unsatisfied with your work to the degree that he files a case against you (say for breach of contract) or demand monetary compensation from you (say because of sub-par work).
Health insurance has been one of the most controversial topics in the US in recent times, and while everyone wants changes for the better, you can’t really wait till that happens. If there is one type of insurance that freelancers shouldn’t have second thoughts about, it’s health insurance.
You may be the healthiest and fittest person you know, but who’s to say you won’t fall over and get a heart attack for an unknown reason? Who’s to say you won’t get a serious illness that will keep you in the hospital for weeks or months? How do you pay for the medical bills then?
Health insurance may be an additional cost, but IF something does happen, you won’t regret having one.
You probably already have this type of insurance, but have you thought about its coverage? Is your home office and its assets covered by your existing home insurance policy?
This may very well be the case, but what if it isn’t? What if – God forbid – your house burns down or you have a break-in? Are you sure that your current home insurance policy includes your home office?
This is a common oversight among freelancers, so it is a good idea to check your current home insurance policy. If your office is covered, then you have lost nothing but time. If it isn’t, then you do need to scout around for a policy that will make sure your home office and all your work-related tools are protected from any untoward incident.
Do freelance writers need insurance?
I think you know our answer to that now. The question that remains is which type you should get.
Do you have insurance? What kind?
Does this article make you think about taking out an insurance policy, or do you disagree with it?
Working at home has tons of advantages, especially if you’re like me who doesn’t like going out much. While we may not literally wear pajamas while working, not having to always dress up is awesome in my book. There’s also the added advantage of a one-minute commute to work (depending on how far your “office” is from the bedroom).
But there is something to be said about a coworking space.
What is coworking?
A formal definition from Whatiscoworking.com: “coworking” or “co-working,” with a lower-case ‘c’, is a generic word that’s generally used to describe any situation in which two or more people are working in the same place together, but not for the same company.
In essence, you go to a building or office space to do your work with other people around you, whom you may or may not know. These people may be freelancers like you, or they can be people working for the same company renting out a room for a certain period.
With coworking spaces sprouting up all around the country – here’s a list of the top 100 coworking spaces in the US – you may want to consider coworking now and then.
The pros of coworking
- It’s less risky than renting an external office space. Some remote workers rent a small room in a commercial building so they have somewhere to go to when they want to get out of the home office. This can be a risky move – financial issues (rent) and legal issues (contracts and safety) being the foremost concerns.
- It hones your time management skills. You pay to spend time at the coworking space. That gives you an incentive to make the most of that time. One result is that you manage your time better. You focus more on your tasks.
- It gives you some social interaction. With other people around you, social interaction is inevitable. While some may see this as a negative (and indeed, it can be if there’s too much interaction that it takes away from your focus), we’ve already covered the topic of needing at least a bit of face-to-face interaction.
- It offers the opportunity to learn from others. Along with social interaction comes the benefit of learning from others. The chances are you’ll meet other freelancers from whom you can learn new ideas and practices.
- It provides chances to meet new clients. Freelance writers are not the only ones who use coworking spaces. You may meet designers, startup founders, and other professionals who may be in need of a writer.
The downsides of coworking
- It can be noisy. Depending on the setup of the coworking space, the area may be noisy, thus taking away from your focus.
- It is not conducive to phone or Skype calls. Whether the space is noisy or not, an open coworking environment is not conducive to calls, and if you have to engage in calls with clients a lot, then this is a huge negative.
- It is an extra expense. It’s the stark reality – using a coworking space costs money. Some charge monthly, others charge per day. There are also others that offer both options. If you’re not in a financial position to spend extra for a coworking space but you want to work elsewhere, you’re better off at your local coffee shop.
- It offers less privacy. Open space. People all around you. Definitely less privacy.
- It often doesn’t offer fixed desks/spaces. A coworking space, by its core definition, doesn’t operate like a normal office. As such, most coworking spaces are set up in such a way that desks or working areas cannot be claimed by one person. You may have a preferred nook, but you can’t say it’s yours. If someone else is using it when you arrive, you can’t just hop over and say, “Hey, you’re in my seat.”
Have you tried out a coworking space? Are you using one now? Why not share your experiences?
Make sure you read this before heading out:
The topic of work-life balance is a real problem, for both regular employees and freelancers. It is such a huge issue that countless studies have been done about it.
It’s easy enough to say that a freelancer can achieve a good work-life balance better than those who have day jobs, but that may not be the case. Due to the flexibility that freelancers have, the line between work and personal life becomes blurred. Some people may have problems working too much, while others become too lax when it comes to work.
Usually, however, the problem is that the imbalance is due to spending more time on work and neglecting personal life. As you may have experienced, this can have disastrous results.
What are some adverse effect of work-life imbalance?
- Health issues. You get more stressed as the workload piles up, and stress has been known to have negative effects on your body, your mind, and behavior. This will only lead to more problems.
- Absence. This can be physical and/or emotional. You may become the “flake” in your social and family circles, always being absent during get-togethers. Being disconnected may also result in relationship breakdowns. Many a psychologist or divorce attorney will tell you that absence is one of the most common reasons for serious relationship rifts.
- Financial problems. You may think that working longer and harder benefits your business, but if you get physically sick, then your finances will suffer. If you lose friends, you may go down the path of depression.
These three points are umbrella effects that can be broken down into so many other problems that point to one thing: there is nothing positive about having work-life imbalance.
How do you know if your work-life balance is askew?
Asking yourself a few questions can help you determine your situation.
- Do you have trouble sleeping at night because you keep thinking of the work that needs to be done?
- Do you wake up in the morning dreading the day because of your workload?
- Are you more irritable than usual, with little things ticking you off?
- Do you feel like you little or no control over your life?
- Do you see your life as “wash, rinse, repeat”?
If your answer to these questions is yes, then your work-life balance needs some fixing.
You can also ask the people closest to you what they think. They have an outsider’s point of view, which can discern behaviors that you may not realize.
What can you do?
Short answer: work less.
But it’s never that easy, is it? You need to come up with a plan with a specific goal and concrete actions to reach that goal.
Here are some ideas.
- Set boundaries. You can do this by:
- Tracking your time. Set how much time you spend on tasks and how much time you spend on personal activities.
- Take note of social activities. By this, I mean writing them down in you calendar and make sure you go. Clear your schedule ahead of time so you have no excuses not to go.
- Say no. It’s tempting to keep taking on work from your clients. It will make them happy. You’ll get more money. But that’s bound to lead to imbalance, so learn to say no.
- Love yourself. This means taking care of yourself by:
- Paying yourself. Set aside some money to do what you love, whether it’s going to a spa, getting your hair done, or buying something nice.
- Get enough sleep. Different people have different needs, but here’s a good resource from the National Sleep Foundation that will help you determine the best number of hours for you.
- Make more effort to connect. Whether it’s spending more time with your partner and children or going out once in a while with friends, engaging in face-to-face human interaction will do wonders for you.
- Seek help if necessary. Sometimes, we can reach a point where everything seems to be totally out of your control. If you think you cannot cope anymore, don’t hesitate to seek help – from a friend, a family member, or even a professional.
So, have you assessed your work-life balance lately? How is it?
You may also find this useful: Have you Hit the Wall of Freelance Writer Burnout? How to Deal with It
Becoming a freelancer is something that many people try at least once during their lifetime. It’s an appealing situation—becoming your own boss, choosing your clients, and working from home are all definite positives. But depending on how successful your freelancing career is, you may want to consider actually starting a business at some point. You may want to go from freelancer to founder.
Though it might seem like an overwhelming endeavour, it can actually benefit you in many different ways. Take a look at this post to see when you should consider turning your freelancing life into an actual business, including what types of businesses you can choose from, and what you will need to get started.
When Should I go from Freelancer to Entrepreneur?
The biggest difference between a freelancer and a business owner is that a freelancer works under their own name, with no office location or employees. A freelancer works for clients and may subcontract work to other freelancers on occasion. An entrepreneur builds a business by hiring employees, developing products, and registering a company.
You should consider switching from being a freelancer to founder if:
- You want to be able to provide services in multiple areas within an industry.
- You have a product or service that may perform better as part of a business.
- You would like to have a business name that is not your personal name (such as Content Queens Communications Inc.).
- You wish to hire employees to assist with the workload as opposed to contractors.
- You would like to build a business based on a partnership or an investment.
- You are in high-demand with clients.
- Your clients consistently request other services.
What Type of Business do I Need?
There are a few different types of businesses out there, and which is right for you depends entirely on your goals and preferences. Most freelancers who wish to transition to a company should either start with a sole proprietorship or a partnership.
A sole proprietorship is when you, as an entrepreneur, start a business as the sole owner. That means that you are responsible for all aspects of the business, including debts and liabilities.
A partnership is when you and another individual (or more) all wish to be co-owners of a business. The percentage of your ownership can vary based on your capital contribution. You and your partner(s) share responsibility for the company.
While you might have big dreams to start a thriving corporation down the road, starting out small will help you to scale your business while still giving you the time you need to grow.
Where Do I Start?
After you make the decision to start a sole proprietorship or a partnership, you’ll need to get a few basic things in order, such as:
- Choosing a business name and web domain.
- Learning what your startup costs will be.
- Talking to your local government to find the registration process.
- Creating a Partnership Agreement and Business Plan, if necessary.
If you are going from freelancing to starting a sole proprietorship, you likely won’t require a lot of funding to start. However, if you plan on expanding by offering products or in-office services, you will need to consider what that will cost and how you will pay for it.
When building a business, it is best to scale conservatively, so don’t worry about hiring all of your employees at once, or about having the most expensive or trendy office space. You need to create a business model that provides you with repeatable income first, and the only way to do that is to spend every penny wisely.
What Basics do I Need to get Started?
Once you have planned out your business and decided on the perfect name, you can get involved in some of the more creative aspects of your business. Before your official launch, take some time to consider whether you want or need any of the following:
Business profiles on social media. You can start with the most common, such as Facebook and Twitter, and expand down the road if need be. Match the platforms to your industry so you don’t waste time building audiences on platforms that won’t provide you with any benefit.
Website. Virtually every business has a website. Whether it’s a simple one-page site with a summary of services, or a large, multi-page e-commerce site, your customers will expect you to have some kind of online presence.
Business email addresses. This might seem like a small thing, but having a business email that matches your domain name adds validity to your business. It will also help you to organize your professional communications down the road.
Business cards. These will definitely come in handy when you start networking, and they are perfect for referrals, as per this post. You can also get them for relatively cheap, depending on your taste, so it’s a small investment that could provide you with a lot of positives.
Logos. The visual aspect of your business is what makes the biggest first impression on your potential clients. A simple logo can go a long way in adding to your site, business cards, and brand presence.
Consultants. Chances are that your clients may end up wanting services that go beyond your skills, so it’s probably a good idea to meet a few consultants and add them to your roster. This could include designers, writers, editors, web developers, marketing professionals, or others.
Taking the First Step
Starting your journey as a freelancer is hard enough, but once you have a solid foundation, don’t limit yourself. You can still grow your business as a professional without having to invest a large amount of money. As long as you scale slowly and adjust your goals according to your performance, you could end up building a successful and lasting business that could benefit you and yours for years to come.
Are you planning to go from being a freelancer to a founder? What prompted you to go ahead?
This post was written by Brittany Foster, a Marketing Writer for LawDepot.
Being a freelance writer comes with many advantages and unique challenges. While you’re technically able to set your own hours, work from wherever you want, and accept and decline projects as you please, the reality is that you’re often at the mercy of your clients. During a busy period, this can mean long hours, busy schedules, and little time for handling other issues in your personal life.
It is thus important to have a plan for your finances. One idea is this: how freelancers should invest their money. If you have something extra, make your money work for you.
Top 5 Investments for Freelance Writers
As a freelance writer, it’s essential that you learn how to best invest your time and money for optimal success. The trick is to pay for things that will further your career, while avoiding the ones that provide minimal ROI. While there are hundreds of ways to invest your money, these four stand out as the best moves for your career:
- Outsource Tasks That Aren’t Worth Your Time
It’s important to remember what your primary skillset and core competencies are. Unless you double-dip into other areas of marketing, your focus should be 100 percent on writing. While you may get offers to do things like social media management, web design, campaign development, and more, these likely aren’t cost-effective tasks for you to take on.
You always have to think about how your time is best spent and what will produce the best results. However, that doesn’t mean you have to turn down these requests. By outsourcing something like web design to another contractor, you can satisfy your client, continue focusing on your writing, and still make a small amount of money off the top.
- Pay for Quality Technology and Tools
There are tons of tools, software, and technologies specifically designed for marketing professionals and writers. Depending on what areas you need help with (i.e. organization, planning, file storage, etc.), you may be able to increase your efficiency by using certain tools. Things like auto responders, project management software, and video conferencing technology can completely change the way you interact with clients.
- Find Passive Income Opportunities
As mentioned, being a freelance writer often means you’re at the mercy of your clients. This can be particularly scary if you have to support a family and need steady revenue to pay bills. One trick is to use your downtime to research new business opportunities that will eventually allow you to accrue passive income. This could be something you’re already good at like writing and selling an eBook, or a completely new venture like investing in real estate and becoming a landlord. If you’re able to find any success in these areas, your slow periods won’t hurt as much.
- Invest in Personal Branding
As a freelance writer, you are your own brand. Whether you like it or not, people will associate your name with your work. This means it’s extremely important to invest in personal branding. Yes, actually pay for branding. This will help you establish yourself as a thought leader, attract better clients, and portray your services as having a higher perceived value.
Making the Right Investments
There is currently great demand for quality content – and the future looks even brighter. While that’s the good news, you also need to remember that an increasing number of skilled writers are entering the workforce to match this demand. If you want to differentiate and position yourself for long-term success, make these four investments priorities.