I have been meaning to write this article for a long time but I never got the chance to do it, so today I will finally talk about how I became a full time freelance writer.
It was in March last year when I realized I absolutely hated my job and I needed a way out. Blogging was a good option, but my personal blog wasn’t a niche blog and I knew I couldn’t earn much money from it, so I decided to check out freelance writing online.
The first steps
The first website I checked out was Freelancer, and it only took me a week to realize that it was a hell hole.
I didn’t understand the payment system, I was being charged even for accepting projects and clients were only looking for low-paid writers.
I also checked out Naukri and I did find a client there. But, he was the rudest client I have dealt with till this day. Back then I got really scared and didn’t even apply for any job for a week. So, I never went back to Naukri either.
Bonus – Here are 5 websites to find freelance writing jobs
(Stay tuned for more bonuses)
The first lessons I learnt
Don’t entertain every client.
Yes, you heard that right. Not every client is interested in hiring you or paying the rates you deserve.
Some just want to get the work done or they are just checking out the market. I have also talked to some people who pretended to be client in order to know my rates.
Seriously?? Copying my rates won’t get you anywhere, set your own rates to do right by yourself.
Also, there are a lot of fake clients as well. I trained myself to filter them over time.
How I made the decision to quit my job
I was hardly earning 22k from my job and I was living in Mumbai which meant I was able to save only 5-6k per month. I decided that even if I could earn 15-20k per month through freelancing, I would move back with my parents and quit my job.
There was no way I could afford to live in Mumbai with a varying freelancing income and I didn’t want to live in the city either.
I filed my papers in May and had a one month notice period. I quit my job in mid-June and that same June, I made 30k through freelancing.
This is exactly what I recommend to anybody who is trying to make a switch.
Just calculate what you are earning, and see if you can make the same income through freelancing. Yes, you would lose your health insurance and you would have to pay your own taxes too, so technically you should be earning a little more than your income.
I didn’t take that factor into consideration, because I knew I was going to save money on rent.
Adjusting to freelancing life
I never thought this would be the most difficult part, but I was starkly wrong. When I was at my old job, I had a whole schedule mapped out and I never had any problem doing my work.
But, after going off on my own, I completely went down the rail. I got extremely lazy, I was missing deadlines and literally sleeping through the day. I even forgot about projects assigned to me because I wasn’t organizing them or writing them down.
This is my earnings chart from June 2015 to March 2016.
Do you see that big dip in August?
I get paid at the end of the month mostly and I got paid horribly less in August because I had hardly worked in July. I lost many good and long-term clients and I was devastated.
But, after 3 days of crying, I rose out of ashes with even more determination and focus.
I knew I wanted this and I wanted this bad. I knew I had made the right decision and I didn’t want to go to a job like that. So in August, I really gave in everything. And guess what?
I earned 5 times more in September as compared to August
But, I didn’t even realize this until I started doing my taxes because I decided to stop looking at my total payouts and start focusing on the work.
I am sure you are wondering about the dip in November too but that was mainly because was travelling and Diwali, I took on less projects.
Bonus Tip : Tools that helped me get back on track
Extra bonus Tip – How I kept earning more and more
I was increasing the rates every 2 months for new clients.
If I realized a client was dumping way too much work than what I was getting paid for then I let them know that politely.
I asked them for a raise since it was taking way too longer for me to complete everything or I asked them to take off some responsibilities over me.
In most of the cases, the clients didn’t want to pay me more, so we had to end the contract.
But, I didn’t care, that only meant that I had more time to find clients who would be willing to pay me better rates.
The mistakes I made (which I later corrected)
- I let the clients decide rates, because I didn’t knew the right rates going on in the market
- I didn’t set the contract terms beforehand, and that meant some clients were asking me for unlimited revisions
- I wasn’t focused well and I didn’t track my time
- I wasn’t editing my work that well
- I didn’t review the project details completely before starting an assignment
- I didn’t research about the clients before moving forward
Do you want to become a full time freelance writer?
I am not going to say its easy, it is hard but if this is what you want to do and you love writing, then you shouldn’t stop yourself from trying. Worst case – you would have to go back to a boring job but the best case is – you could become a full time freelance writer and work according to your terms.
Have any similar stories? Share with me