Freelance writing is a great opportunity to step outside of the normal realms of standard work atmospheres and taking things into your own hands. For those that manage to succeed in the field, it’s incredibly rewarding. However, there are pitfalls to the decision to become a full time freelance writer. Below are listed the two biggest pitfalls of having a full time freelance writing job at home. If you can’t handle these, you might not want to quit your day job just yet.
1. Self Motivation – If you never did your homework, didn’t study, and rarely went to class in school, it might not be best for you to write at home as a freelance writer with no supervision and an open schedule. Procrastination is your enemy when real life clients with your paychecks are waiting for their articles.
2. Paydays – You never know when you’re going to get paid. In fact, as a freelance writer you might never get paid. While, most of the time clients pay within 30 days of completion, keep in mind that some projects might take you 2-3 weeks to complete. Add 4 more weeks to that and you just spent 10 days writing a massive project and won’t get the check for almost 7 weeks. You’d better make sure you have money set aside at all times. It’s a necessary aspect of any freelancing career.
3. Taxes – As soon as you make your first $1000, start doing research and figure out if you are going to owe taxes…here’s a tip: you will. As a self employed writer, you’re going to be paying more taxes than normal in all likelihood. You have to pay all of your social security (employers pay half normally), self employment tax and federal income tax. Of course, you also get to deduct a lot more stuff. Just make sure you have receipts.
4. Work space – You’re probably going to be working at home; which means, you’ll have limited space and whoever else is there with you. Try your hardest to create a secluded space to work in. If you can’t, invest in a nice pair of deprivation headphones.
5. Loneliness – You won’t realize it at first, but you will miss having coworkers. Even if you hated every single one of them, you probably enjoyed occasionally discussing the game or current events on your breaks. Get a dog and practice not being embarrassed to talk to it.
6. Reaction of your friends and family – Friends and family will be very supportive and probably a little jealous of your new found career, but often do not understand it. Most people are used to the grind of hourly work, weekends, and the corporate shuffle. You’re not in that maze anymore, so prepare to explain it to everyone you know.
7. Distractions – Everything is a distraction, especially your computer. Prepare to be overwhelmed by the urge to play computer games, check your email and read about the newest prosthetic leg molds (it will happen). The key is to overcome those urges at least 75% of the time.
8. Clients – Your clients will drive you mad. It’s a matter of time before you start working on larger projects and with larger buyers, but when you do you might start to notice that payments come slower, instructions are cryptic and criticism is unbalanced. It’s not because your clients are any less professional; it is because they are too professional. The unfortunate fact is some people do not respect the writers. You have to accept that and just be as nice as possible. Offer to do everything they ask of you and never complain. You may need their repeat work in the future.
9. Clients – Yes, they do indeed cause you that much stress.
10. Flawlessness – You need to be the best writer you possibly can when you are first starting out to get as many repeat customers as possible. When you have established yourself, you need to do the best possible work to keep those clients and continue to grow. As a freelance writer, expect to become a perfectionist. It’s a necessary step to ensuring you succeed.
11. When it rains, it pours – When you get too much work, you get way too much work. On occasion, expect to spend 75 or more hours a week working. Inversely, when you have no work, it can feel like there isn’t a single job in sight. You might only work 15 hours in down weeks. Be prepared for either possibility.
12. The next step – You’re always working towards the next major step. Unlike a traditional job, there is no “clock off” time. You are always thinking of what you can do next and which projects you will attempt to start. When you succeed on one level, the next logical step becomes to move on to the next.
For almost any single one of these things listed, you must be prepared. If you do not feel as though you can succeed at being self motivated or cannot offer top notch service to every client, you may want to reconsider freelance writing and get a job with a firm somewhere. However, the overwhelming freedom and flexibility of a freelance career makes it overwhelmingly seductive, despite the drawbacks.