When you get started as a freelancer writer, you’re the one that has to (politely) hassle companies to hire you. You have to sweet-talk people into letting you guest post for them so you can market yourself and your blog.
You use up a huge amount of energy trying to get a business off the ground. You think you can’t possibly keep this up forever.
Then, the tables turn.
If you set your business up correctly, people start approaching you to hire you. With more experience and work to show for it, people begin to accept your rates without questioning you. You can start turning clients down if they’re not a good fit, or telling people they’ve got to wait until next month.
Companies and people approach me to help them market their business now. Apparently, I’m “someone” and people want to be on my blog. You get asked to speak on panels about your experiences.
Hard work is rewarded with work, opportunities, and freedom.
All this doesn’t happen by magic. If you expect to be rewarded right from the beginning then you’ll set yourself up to fail.
But the universe does reward your hard work in the end.
I’ve been properly freelancing since October 2016 and my business didn’t really take off until the end of January. I think that’s particularly quickly, partly caused by the fact I marketed myself so much. I regularly went to women in tech events and blogged about it, and kept up an active twitter account.
I feverishly followed other freelance writers I admire such as Jorden Roper, Lizzie Davey, Tom Ewer and Carrie Smith Nicholson to gain knowledge and inspiration. When times got tough, I read their blogs to cheer myself up or to find some insight.
Having role models is so important for keeping your sights on the goal. Especially role models who are a bit like yourself. They help you believe that you can succeed.
It took me roughly three months to start earning my target income as a freelance writer. Before that, I had been freelancing casually since April 2016, as well as holding down a full-time job for the majority of that time.
Obstacles I overcame
Nothing good comes easy.
One of the most difficult parts of being a freelancer is dealing with all that freedom. You’ve got no employer to decide your routine for you, or assign you goals and targets. There’s no accountability – until your bank account starts going into the red.
It took me ages to realise that I was “the boss”.
I’m not that good at being a boss yet, but it means you call the shots. You’re responsible for everything in the business. You can’t run to your manager if you have a problem or ask someone else to do it. Everything comes down to you.
The potential for success or failure is terrifying. When I started feeling successful, I was really confused since I had only planned for failure. Success is a whole different ballgame and in all honesty, quite overwhelming. You feel like you don’t deserve it. It’s only a matter of time until the universe realises its mistake, and it all comes crashing down.
It turns out you get criticised a lot more when you’re successful. When you’re just starting out, a lot of people regard you as a potential failure, or a bit of an oddball. It’s easy for them to be supportive.
When you’re killing it at your business, people instinctively seem to look for a way to tear you down. But you don’t make a success of something by looking for negatives in yourselves and others.
If I meet someone who’s doing great, I try to connect with them and learn from them. Even if someone is just starting out, I try to inspire them to go for it. Thinking about others takes my mind off thinking about whether or not I deserve to have success.
It becomes about them, and not about me.
I wrote this post about the steps I took to becoming a freelance writer.
Catherine Heath is a freelance blogger in tech, business and marketing. She’s obsessed with the field of personality systems theory. She also likes drawing, yoga, meditation and being in nature.