Let’s talk about money. The most important thing that newbie writers need to understand is that this is not a “get rich quick endeavor. In fact, it takes a while for one to lock down a steady flow of cash.The major difference about freelance writing and a 9to5 is the fact that the steady 2 week paycheck is not guaranteed. Here are a few things to live by when first starting out
Have a cash reserve
When starting out, you should have at least 3 months savings for rent/mortgage, car payments, utilities and other expenses you incur. The reason being is that while you may be working a lot, payments can take a while to hit your bank account. Case in point, while I’ve billed $13,500 in the past 2.5 months, I’ve seen about half of it in my account. Why? Most companies/publications have 30-60 net payment policies, so it takes some time for freelancers to get paid at times. This isn’t always the case, however– as I have clients who pay on a weekly basis. It does, however depend on your agreement with your client, so be sure to get the details on payment agreements so you can plan in advance.
Plan accordingly for rainy days
I was fortunate to start out with a bunch of work the first couple of months. It was great! That said, I’ve experienced a month or two where my workload decreased a bit.The point is, you need to have a budget and a plan in place to make sure you can stretch your dollars to the best of your ability. No matter how successful or busy you are, you will experience a dry spell, and that’s totally normal. Just make sure you take precautions to keep yourself afloat.
Don’t stop marketing
ALWAYS be on the lookout for clients. ALWAYS. No matter how busy you may seem, it’s important to never have all of your eggs in one basket. One day, your client may not need you, or they’ve hired a full time person to handle their content needs. Either way it’s a good strategy to have back up plans when the time comes. Even better, pitching consistently helps you keep up your marketing chops.
Freelance writing is a lucrative and rewarding career so long as you plan smart and work hard. Of course you can run into a snafu or two, which is why it’s key to have money set aside if that does happen. That, or have parents/family who are willing to bail you out. Hey, it’s happened to me before, so don’t beat yourself up too badly if it happens to you. 🙂 Lastly, remember to have patience and be persistent. Like any company, building your freelance career takes a substantial amount of time and it’s difficult to succeed or enjoy your work if you’re financially unsteady.
That’s it for this week’s Freelance Friday. As always, feel free to leave questions in the comments and I’ll get back to you! 🙂