When I realized that writing was my passion, but it wasn’t what I wanted as a career, I decided to become a freelance writer on the side. While the whole process is incredibly fulfilling, it’s definitely a consistent learning process. From invoicing properly, to finding time after working hours to do, well, more work, to managing client relationships – freelancing requires a lot of attention!
I’ve learned a few things along the way that I’ve wanted to share with all of you, with the hopes of opening up a community of likeminded people who genuinely want each other to succeed in following their passion.
Here are my tips for keeping my world running smoothly as a writer with a full-time job.
1. Meet your clients in person when possible
One thing I love is having a face-to- face relationship with my clients. I get a lot of leads via e-mail and often follow-up with a phone call, which is the almost the standard for doing business these days. As a writer, there’s often not a lot of reason to meet in person if you can get the job done via emails and calls, but I personally find the relationship absolutely changes once you meet in person.
Meeting in person allows you to put a face to the name and get to know someone as a real, live human and not just a voice or font. Creating this deeper relationship can help your client feel at ease by knowing you as the person doing the work for them, and it can help you by building those lasting relationships that’ll grow your business. Making it personal and having a connection will only benefit your working relationship, so it’s worth making the effort when you can, even if it’s just for a coffee.
2. Schedule your time
My biggest fault has been overworking myself. Coming home from work right at five and sitting at the table as I attempt to eat and type at the same time has caused me to burn out. My personal life, work life, and quality of work suffers when things are off balance. I’m definitely one of those people who enjoys working and always want to get everything done before I allow myself to “relax”. I wouldn’t recommend this approach!
Knowing your deadlines and scheduling your time accordingly will save you from hitting a wall. Mornings are often the highest productivity time for most people, so try and schedule time on the weekend in the morning to do some writing at a nice coffee shop after breakfast. There’s nothing better than a good latte to cure writers block.
If you have to work in the evenings after work, come home and take some time to yourself first. Eat, spend time with your family/roommate/partner, do a rewarding chore, and then sit down with a nice candle or music on and get the job done, giving yourself a deadline to stop if you can’t finish in one sitting.
3. Stay organized
You are the face of your business as a freelancer and being extremely organized will ensure you stay on track and remain as professional as possible. I’ve missed a deadline before for a massive magazine due to being frazzled and putting the wrong date in my iPhone as I was running from the subway to work and let me tell you – it absolutely sucked. I was so embarrassed!
Make sure you are diligent about writing deadlines, follow up when you say you will, read through your emails before you send them, and track everything. Give everything the time it deserves, just like you would at your normal job.
Invoicing is also important when you have a few projects on the go. Create a Google Doc for yourself and track what’s been paid, what’s outstanding, and what will be invoiced next month. It will be worth the extra two minutes it takes to input the information. Just because you’re getting $30 here or $100 there, doesn’t mean you don’t need to document everything.
I absolutely love freelancing, even though it can get crazy at times. Like everything in life, staying on track of it, checking in, and learning how to manage it in the best ways possible is the key to ensuring you’re happy, your clients are happy, and the experience is positive for everyone.
What are some things you struggle with as a freelancer? What are some of your favourite tips or things you’ve learned? Let me know!