I was a freelance writer for about a year when I finally stopped doing it. During that year of freelance writing I faced many ups and downs with it. So I thought that after one year of working as a freelancer, I could share my list of pros and cons with anyone considering pursing freelancing on a part-time or full-time basis. Now like my pros and cons list on my deadlines post- which you will find linked into this post- this is all based entirely off my experiences with freelancing. So if you’re seriously considering becoming a freelancer, I encourage you to look at other lists and articles as well before deciding whether it’s the right path for you.
- Experience/Beefing up the resume: At the time I started freelancing, I had been out of college about 6-7 months. I had plenty of writing experience from college and from a year of writing book reviews for a teen lit site that no longer exists, but I knew that wouldn’t be enough to help me get professional writing jobs. So I joined a freelancing website and started getting jobs writing for various websites on various topics. Writing for those websites gave me professional writing experience that I could put on my resume and links I could send potential employers so they could see firsthand my versatility as a writer. So gaining all that experience is my biggest pro to being a freelancer.
- Set your own schedule: I used to be a night owl. I would be up all night, asleep anywhere between 6am and 9am, awake anywhere from 4pm to 6pm, and then repeat. This made it hard for me to find a “normal” job. When I became a freelancer, I got to control my schedule. If I woke up at 6pm and started writing from 7pm until midnight, that was fine. The people I wrote for didn’t care what time of the day I wrote at as long as they got their articles on time! So if you are a night owl like I once was, then the schedule freedom that comes with freelancing will be a big pro for you.
- Takes you our of your comfort zone/Makes you think on your feet: Before becoming a freelancer, I wrote about very limited topics. Obviously in college you are writing literary papers and writing creative pieces in creative writing classes. I took one class- Writing for the Media- that was the closet to what a freelancer does. I was given a topic, had to research it, and then write several different types of articles about it. Being a freelancer gave me the ability to write about different topics I would have never thought to write about before. I wrote gift guides for various scenarios, health and wellness articles, car accident articles, law articles, and more! These are things I would never write about on my own because they all seemed overwhelming to write about, but thanks to the skills I acquired in college, I was able to think on my feet and come up with well-informed and unique articles! And I feel that stepping out of my comfort zone has helped me become a more confident and versatile writer.
- Slow start: Starting out as a new freelancer can be slow. Since you don’t have a reputation built up on the site you use, people only have your resume to look over and decide whether you might be a good fit for the project or not. So be patient and don’t give up! Once your reputation starts to build up on the site, more offers will come in!
- Dealing with rejections/People who never message back: Though you might not want to hear it- Your skills aren’t going to be fit for every job. It sucks to hear, but we have to own up to it. I applied for freelancing jobs knowing I didn’t have the right qualifications, but hoping that due to the positive reputation I was building up and my passion for writing that it would be enough… and more times than not it wasn’t enough. I’ve also seen jobs posted that I knew I would be an excellent candidate for because I had the right experience for it… and then they simply never messaged back and then eventually you get a notification that the job is closed. Most people looking for writers post across several sites looking for freelancers and they eventually find one, so they close the job without looking at any other candidates. It’s frustrating and it sucks, but it’s all a part of the experience.
- Money: Now you’re probably reading this and asking- How is money a con? The simple answer is- It’s a con when you’re not making much of it after all the hard work you put in. In my experience, I’ve had many potential employers ask me if I would take lower than my asking rate. Sometimes I said yes if the project interested me or the person seemed easy to work with, but most of the time I said no because they wanted a lot of work done and I knew their offer wasn’t fair. It might seem scary to say no especially when you’re starting out, but it’s important to know what your time and skills are worth. It’s also important to note that freelancing sites will take a percentage of what you earn, so take that into consideration when deciding on your rate and how low you’re really willing to go. I personally found it hard to make a living off of being a freelancer, which is why I had to go back to working a retail, but I know some people can make a living off it. So all you can do is try and see where freelancing takes you.
I know I only have three reasons for each, but I don’t want to overwhelm anyone! Also with the amount of detail I put into each pro and con, this post has gotten quite long! So my question is- Any freelancers reading this post, do you have any pros and cons you want to add? Do you agree or disagree with my pros and cons list? And how have you found your freelancing experience overall? I would love to know!
The main thing I want to say is that though I’ve given up freelancing, it doesn’t mean I love writing any less. I just know that as of right now, it’s not the right choice for me. With being back in grad school, working toward the future I want with my boyfriend, and working on my novel and blogs, it doesn’t feel like the right thing for me to do at this time. Maybe as time goes by and things change, it could be the right thing for me, but as of now I am happy sharing my writing with all of you and working toward other things I’ve wanted for a very long time! So with that said, I hope everyone has a great week!