Dispense with the Side Hustle: How to Make Freelance Writing Your Full-Time Gig
While there is nothing wrong with maintaining a side hustle as a freelance writer, there are many aspiring full-time writers who are eager to learn how to turn a passion into a career. The good news is that it is entirely possible to become a full-time freelance writer, and the career switch can mean greater flexibility and financial agency. If you are ready to make a change in your own life, here are some tips to help propel you to a career as a full-time freelance writer.
Schedule Full-Time Hours
One of the main reasons that writers turn to freelance career options is for the flexibility and the ability to set your own schedule. To be sure, that is a huge benefit! However, it is still important to keep in mind that right out of the gate, you may need to put in more consistent hours. Treat your new career choice as you might any new job where you want to succeed.
If you are currently working 40 hours a week, consider how you might spread those 40 hours of writing over the course of a normal week. That means you do not have to commit to a 9-to-5 lifestyle, but you will still have to put in the time. Find a schedule that maximizes your energy levels and allows you to write when you are focused, confident and ready to tackle new projects.
Carve Out a Dedicated Writing Space
This may be one of the hardest things to accomplish as a new freelance writer, especially if you live in a smaller space or if you share a home with multiple people or pets. Writing will be more challenging if you are not able to prioritize your work.
Fortunately, you do not have to create a soundproof home office to be a successful freelance writer. Instead, carve out a dedicated corner of your home where you keep your writing materials, a comfortable chair and a pair of headphones, if necessary. Or, if you know that you work better outside of the home, consider spending time in a local coffee shop or a library.
Respect Turn-Around Times
There is no question that consistent, high-quality writing is what can set you apart from other freelance writers in the industry. That being said, clients will still always be on the lookout for writers who can manage quick deadlines. If you learn to respect turn-around times, you will likely end up with a handful of dedicated clients who come to you when they need last-minute work and are willing to pay for the privilege of your time.
Tell Friends and Family Members Your Goals
Making a big career change is usually celebrated by friends and family, but that is not always the case as you move toward a freelance writing career. However, keeping your plans quiet is usually not a good idea. Instead of waiting to see how your plans play out, let your friends and family members know your goals.
Once your plans are out in the open, those close to you will be able to support and cheer you on. Plus, you might find that they have a greater respect for your time. It is also easy to see someone typing on a computer and assume they are spending time on social media, so being clear about your job can ensure that those around you acknowledge all your hard work.
Focus on Customer Service
When you become a freelance writer, you are no longer bound to a single boss or manager. That can be an incredibly freeing experience, and it is a big draw for many authors. Although that change can be wonderful, do not forget that customer service should still be a priority.
While your work speaks for itself, your customers are still humans. They still appreciate prompt and courteous messages, and a few friendly words can go a long way. If you are able to focus on customer service throughout your work, you might find that you accumulate clients at a much faster rate. This can be key for those eager to move from part-time writing to a full-time income.
Turn Off Your Phone
Believe it or not, your phone can be a big distraction on your path to becoming a full-time freelance writer. Not only are there games, messages and pop-ups to distract you, but friends and family may think that you have more free time since you are now working from home. When you establish a work schedule for yourself, make it a habit to silence your phone for a few hours each day in order to turn your attention to your writing.
Dress for Success
Plenty of freelance writers love that they no longer have to dress in business casual attire day and in and day out at the office. While it is a definite perk to be able to work in your pajamas from time to time, many full-time writers find that dressing for work can actually stimulate their creativity and help them stick to a regular schedule.
Ultimately, this is entirely up to each individual writer. If you write best when you are comfortable, then perhaps this won’t apply to you. If you find yourself unable to focus, or you get distracted easily when working from home, then consider switching up your dress code for a few days to see if that might make a positive difference.
Become a Master of Your Craft
If you successfully moved from a side hustle to a full-time freelance career, then you must be doing something right! Nevertheless, it is important not to let your skills stagnate. Take time each week or month for professional development — whether that means reading more about SEO best practices or brushing up your knowledge of AP style.
With so much writing work available, it is entirely possible to turn your writing side hustle into a true career. Each of these tips can help you become a full-time freelance writer.
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