kb_bailey | Dec. 29, 2021, 4:10 p.m.
In early September, I joined the Great Resignation, transitioning from a full-time copywriter for a digital marketing agency to a freelancer. I’ve freelanced both on a part-time and full-time basis in the past, and while it’s sometimes stressful, I’ve enjoyed the experiences and wanted to make a go of it permanently.
It’s a transition I’m thrilled to report is proceeding very well. However, I know this won’t be the story for everyone. Transitioning from an employee to freelancer requires changes in your routine, lifestyle, and relationships that can prove difficult. Freelancers must learn how to operate as self-employed individuals instead of team members in a company environment, a task that takes time, dedication, and flexibility.
1. Create a Budget
Whether you’re just considering freelancing or you’ve already quit your job, it’s important to create personal and business budgets to best manage your money. It’s essential to know the minimum income you’ll need each month so you can plan accordingly, taking on clients as necessary to meet your financial goals. A budget can also help you determine your minimum rates.
2. Prepare to Run Your Own Business
As a freelancer, you are entirely in charge of your business, so you need to start thinking like a business owner. That means you’ll need to think about how to keep either a steady flow of clients or a few loyal ones, how to manage self-employment taxes, how to maintain client satisfaction, and other factors key to running a successful business.
You may also want to consider developing a website or blog, buying advertisements, and/or promoting yourself on social media. Your freelance career will consist of more than just writing, which is something many new writers don’t consider. It’s a business!
3. Set a Schedule
When I made the move to freelancing, I’d been working full-time in an office for several years, and one of the biggest challenges I encountered immediately after the transition was setting a good schedule for myself. While it’s tempting to work whenever and have no schedule at all, it actually removes a lot of stress to have some sort of plan for your work hours/days, even if you are somewhat flexible with them.
Right now, I tend to create the best work between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so I generally try to do most of my writing within that timeframe. I also try to stick to a Monday through Friday schedule as long as that works with my deadlines. This frees up weekends and evenings for friends and family time.
4. Choose Your Clients Carefully
Everyone knows having good clients who are pleased with your work is crucial to successful freelancing. However, some people have a hard time turning down potential clients, no matter the situation.
If a client doesn’t respect you or pay you on time, it’s time to move on. Clients who mistreat you cost you time, money, and peace of mind. It may sound simple, but prioritizing good client relationships and knowing when to say no is a must.
5. Celebrate the Wins
You’re going to have bad days when you freelance, just as you have bad days at a full-time job. You’ll have slow days. You’ll have days where you may feel overwhelmed. Take a deep breath and move through them as gracefully as possible. And when you have good days, celebrate them! When a client compliments your work, cheer. When you get a new client, reward yourself with a small treat. As a lone worker, it’s up to you to make your day positive, and you can do so by being kind to yourself and celebrating the little wins.
Overall, I love freelance writing. I can control my schedule and have time to create pieces for clients that I’m genuinely proud of and invested in. But I would never tell someone that freelancing is easy. It’s a difficult way to pay the bills that requires unique skills and unwavering commitment. On top of that, getting started can be a challenge.
Hopefully, if you’re in the midst of transitioning from office employee to freelance writer, these tips help simplify the process. If you have any questions or advice of your own related to freelancing, please feel free to share them in the comments. I wish all the freelancers out there the best of luck with their freelancing goals and an excellent 2022!
K.B. Bailey is a professional copywriter and published fiction author.