What It's Like Being A Freelancer (What I Wish I Knew)
Today, I’m addressing a topic that’s a real sticking point for me at the moment, only because I’ve been thrust back into this role recently. If you don’t already know, I’m a freelance content writer. I’ve been one for the last year, ever since I discovered Fiverr (if you don’t know it, check it out, I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to start out!).
Now, I was made redundant at the beginning of 2020, when the pandemic first hit, and in that first year, I thought I could try to make it on my own, with this blog, my film productions and basically, all of the personal projects I’ve had waiting, up until that point. But, in 2021, I remembered Fiverr, and the services they offered, and since I liked writing blog posts for my blog, I thought, “Hey, why not give it a try!”.
So, for the last year (and 2 months), I’ve been a freelance content writer (on and off, thanks to the jobs I’ve had for the last 7 months). But what is it like? How do I get clients? And can I live off of being one? Well, here’s everything you need to know about what it’s like being a freelancer.
1. It’s Not Easy But It’s Rewarding
I’m not going to lie, it’s a difficult job, because you can’t guarantee you’ll get clients with a snap of your fingers. When I first started, I was charging $5 per article (hence the name “Fiverr”). And initially, I was getting clients left, right and centre, only because my services were cheap. However, when I started working full-time, my clients began to dwindle. Not only that, but it was starting to become a chore, with the new job. I was too tired, every time I came home, I couldn’t even concentrate on one article. Eventually, I stopped doing them altogether. Now, I’m just praying my old regulars come back to me, now that I’m available again.
Of course, it’s not all bad. I did manage to get back in touch with a few clients, who are now working closely with me, and I’m getting frequent jobs from them. And in all honesty, it’s so much more rewarding! I feel accomplished every time I touch that “Deliver Now” button, or whenever I send off an article to them! I mean, I’ve accomplished at least 2 hours of work, using my own creativity, my own words, and my own research!
2. You Use All The Skills!
One of the biggest lies about being a freelancer is that you get to do whatever you want, whenever you want. Actually, being a freelancer means being on your game 24/7. Whenever a client contacts you, you’d better be on your best behaviour, because they’re going to pay you for something they want. Sometimes, they’ll have something specific in mind, and if you can’t deliver it, you won’t get their money.
So, you’ll need to be good at communicating what you can and can’t do; you need to be good at haggling for more if you know your services are worth it; and you’ll need to do your own research, especially when you don’t have a single clue about what you’re doing. It’s not going to be easy, but once you get the hang of it, boy will it be fun…and somewhat addictive, because it means you get to put your stamp on the project, even if it’s just a tiny one.
3. It’s Not As Scary As You Think
When I was just coming out of university, I was told many scary stories (mostly from family and friends who were in regular jobs) about being a freelancer. I was stuck in this mindset with phrases like “you’ll never be successful on your own” or “who’s going to notice your work when there are thousands out there better than you?”. It got me scared, and I kept saying that being a freelancer would be a back-burner role that I’ll dip into every now and then. That was one of the biggest mistakes I’ve ever made.
When I had graduated from university, with a film production degree, I thought I’d get a standard job somewhere like the BBC or Sky (the biggest film and TV brands in the UK), since their studios were close by (just a half an hour drive away from my home). I thought that there could be a stable job for me as a producer out there, but that was a much harder role to find.
Now, however, I regret not taking a more active approach to it, because if I can get a few good clients as a content writer, imagine what I could have gotten if I’d stuck it out as a film producer! I probably would have been working on a lot more film and TV jobs now. Of course, it’s never too late to start. So, no matter how old you are, or where you’re from, just keep on trying! You will get that one client or production that will hire you.
4. Have Proof
Starting out isn’t always easy. And although it’s not as scary as you think, sometimes, people will be wary of your services, because they can’t guarantee you are who you are. So, have proof. Show the world exactly what it is you can do. There will be many scammers out there, and yes, it may seem like you’ll be seen as one, but as long as you have links and proof of your work, you’ll be fine.
There will be that one client who’ll constantly come back because of your work. There will be that one client who’ll take that risk and choose you. So, don’t lose hope or be disheartened. Just keep showing people that your work is genuine. If you’re a writer like me, then have a blog like this one. Set up your own YouTube channel, if you’re a video editor. Lead people to your Instagram profile if you’re a graphics designer. There are lots of clients out there, looking for good talent, so prove to them that you’re the one they’re looking for.
Take A Chance
The last thing you need to know is that it is up to you, whether being a freelancer is your career path, or not. For me, I was thrust into this life, both back when the pandemic started, and now. And while I might not be making the big bucks that I would be making, at a “real job”, I’m so much happier and less stressed out. I’ve realised that I was rather miserable, in the last seven months than I was since the beginning of the pandemic. The reason why? I was doing a job that I did not enjoy.
Yes, the teams I worked with were friendly and helpful, but it wasn’t the job that I wanted to do. I was doing menial things that didn’t make me feel proud of what I was doing. But being a freelance writer does give me joy. It gives me a sense of accomplishment and pride. And although I may not be credited for most of it, I am still proud that I wrote that article in the first place. It means that my skills, effort, and time were valued. So, if you want that freelance life, take the plunge and just do it. It won’t hurt to try.
Well, that’s it from me today. I’ll see you guys next time! And as always, don’t forget to like, subscribe, comment, share and follow me for more updates and the latest posts here on Feather’s Charm and on my social media! Oh, and please share this with all your family and friends, who might be interested in my content! I’ll see you later!