Pursuing your freelance writing dreams, like any other worthwhile endeavor, comes with plenty of hard work, surprises, and lessons to learn. Even prior experience in the writing world can’t fully prepare you for running your own show. And while loads of valuable insight, information, and education awaits anyone with a library card and internet connection, nothing will teach you how to run a successful freelance operation quite like making your own mistakes- and learning from them.
With this in mind, launching your writing business on the side, while holding down a full- or part-time day-job, will allow you to make mistakes and learn from them, while improving your skills and developing your portfolio. Since you still have that regular paycheck, you won’t need to worry about paying the bills with only your writing income, which can prove quite insufficient in the beginning.
3 big benefits to starting small
When you know you have a regular paycheck coming from a steady day job, the stress level associated with starting a new business will stay significantly lower than it would if you had left the office behind. This will pay off big time in the long run, allowing you to use all your free time to concentrate on writing stellar content, digging up promising prospects, and showing a professional, confident image to the world.
Time to Focus
When you don’t need to take the first paying gig that stumbles your way just to pay the rent, you can allow yourself to get serious about focusing your business. You can decide what types of projects — and what types of clients — you want to work with; then focus your efforts on finding those just-right opportunities. Not every freelance writer specializes, but those who rely only on writing income right from the start might not even get a chance to choose.
Lay the Ground Work
I’ve known freelancers who went straight from a corporate job to a full-time writing career, and have done just fine. However, there remains great benefit to taking it slow, and allowing yourself time to lay a solid foundation before jumping into freelancing 100%. While working a regular job and remaining financially secure, you can build up an impressive portfolio, make valuable connections, and get all the business details (a website, an office space, and business licensing issues, for example) out of the way in your spare time. That way, when you decide to go full-time, you will experience a delightfully seamless transfer with far less stress.
Starting a freelance writing business part-time comes with loads of benefits, but it also has a downside. Working that regular full-time job requires a lot of time and energy. Having the discipline to work on your freelance writing after a long day at the office remains no small task. You may also feel that by devoting your time and passion to your side-gig, you will cheat your current employer out of your best efforts. Investigate the possibility of cutting back on your hours, switching to part-time at your current job, or freeing up your weekends to help make the relieve these reservations. Fully consider these issues before deciding to give part-time writing a go. Despite the challenges, you may find that the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages.
Are you a freelancer-on-the-side? What do you think are the greatest challenges and benefits?
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