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.
Then I moved to Elance, which was my favourite place to get clients till the moment it died. Elance emerged with oDesk and its now called Upwork.
Bonus – Here are 5 websites to find freelance writing jobs
(Stay tuned for more bonuses)
At the same time, I was constantly searching jobs on LinkedIn, Twitter and getting some proposals through my website.
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
16 thoughts on “How I Quit My Job to Become a Full Time Freelance Writer”
Superb blog post Rithika very inspiring , A friend of mine has also become a good follower of your blog and wants to be a freelance writer ,he reads a lot but he is introvert and talks only to a few people he trusts, what advice can you give him?
Well, if I know the exact question he has, I am sure I can advice him better 🙂
Great and inspiring blog post.Loved it. Bookmarking it
Thanks a lot Datta 🙂
I am glad you loved it !
Superb article ritika.It motivated a lot.keeping writing 🙂
Thanks a lot Sandeep 🙂
Its really a great article Ritika. keep writing. Keep Motivating. Thanks for sharing meaningful article.
Sadly, the attitude of family, society and people towards a Boy doing freelance job isn’t good. Even educated people treat that Boy as an “unemployed’ person though they know he earns a handsome amount without needing to travel. They look for various ways to persuade you that you’re an unemployed until you travel far distance to an office of some company on daily basis. I mean how can you insult someone when you know the person doing a freelance writing job earns equivalent to others daily working in an office on routine basis?
I am sad to hear that 🙁
You know what I have learnt while freelancing? Don’t care about what people think, don’t tell people how much you earn and don’t let it get to you. If you are earning well, and doing good,your family will be able to see that, and it is going to be enough for you.
A lot of my extended family did not get that either, but I don’t care. I am able to buy my parents whatever they wish for, take them out to dinner and not care about the bill, and for me that is the best feeling in the world
Its as if you have spoken my dream in words. It is the exact same thing i have in mind. Be able to buy my parents whatever they wish for, take them out for dinner and never experience shortage of time or money. Most importantly,live my life standing on my own skill.
I am a blogger myself (a year old), started it bcuz i hated my software engineering job too. 🙂 and now pursuing writing just with the same idea of being able to provide, to do something worthwhile.
It is good to see that many people here are following the same goal. It inspires action.
It’s the effort that counts. Keep working hard and I am sure you will achieve your goals
I feel so much connected to you. I am a mechanical engineer (2014 passout) who loves to write. I have been writing since college days just as a hobby.
These days(from last 10 months) I have taken this freelance writing to earn my bread and butter. The government process of joining in India Railway is very slow. Got my result in Railway, Mumbai Zone in March. Anyhow, in these months I have experienced very similar things as you have discussed in your blogs, particularly this one. I love you bold decision to quit job to follow your inner call. And l also want to continue my work as freelancer even after joining. Don’t know how things would go.
I am currently at a stage where you were initially. Reading your story helped me meet my future-self. I have been writing since a year or two for my personal blog [link redacted]. I have recently quit my job and have experienced a lot of taunts and comments on leaving a secured IT Job. But I was unable to survive anymore. I always dreamt of becoming a writer but could not do it because of people around me. But now I am not going to push myself anymore.
Don’t mind 🙂 but it would be a great help if you could suggest me some part time or full time writing jobs. Mainly I write about my travel stories and working on a novel based on an Indian woman’s life.
I wish you all the best in your journey! The website is filled with articles that will direct you to freelance job portals 🙂
Highly motivating post for the newbies to start their freelancer career and also teaches newbie the methods of being financially inpendent using the new sources of income.
Thanks for the great content.
Hii Ritika, I’m at the Age of 25 and I’m still unemployed. I haven’t did any job bcz of my big dreams. I’m an IT Engineer bt my interest is in Construction company which is belong to my dad. Bt on other hand im interested in full time freelancing work. I hv been trying since 2 months bt didn’t get any job n i was abt to quit bt today i read your article and i charged up, u motivated me a lot. From today I’m going to make plan n will work hard. On same day of next year I’ll definitely msg u again n will tell u about my success. Thanks for such inspiration