In September, I made the decision to go part time and spend the rest of my time working for myself as a Freelance Copywriter. I’ve wanted to be a writer for the entirety of my life, in one respect or another, so having the opportunity to take a crack at it and follow my dream has been fantastic. I must admit that it hasn’t been an easy six months, and finding myself having to make up a large proportion of the full time wage I had become accustomed to was a bit of a reality check. Six months down the line, I am happy to say that I am both thriving and motivated to see where my little business will take me in the coming months.
I’m obviously not citing myself as being an expert in the field of Freelance Copywriting, but in the time I’ve been doing it I have come to quite a few realisations about the field, my goals and my expectations for the future.
Staying motivated can be tough.
As obvious as it might be, freelancing relies entirely on your own ability to be motivated. Luckily, I am usually quite motivated, especially knowing that any money I make copywriting I’d being saved for a particular goal. In spite of this, there are some days when I get up and there’s absolutely nothing I’d rather do less than spend an hour writing about mortgages and equity loans. I’ve found that getting myself up early and getting dressed into work clothes gives me that good start to the day that I need. Working on the dining room table or in my office ensures that I stick to what I should be doing for the most part but on those days where I’m really struggling to get going, I find that a walk to the nearest coffee shop helps me on my way. I always feel more motivated to work if I know that there’s a chance of someone sat watching and judging me for wasting my working day on Twitter, as crazy as it might sound.
Acquiring new clients is a never ending process.
To be quite frank, being a freelance copywriter isn’t always a reliable source of income so working continually to acquire new clients is something that I’ve been really working hard on the last few months. A lot of my newer clients have come from word of mouth via other clients but taking the time to pitch to new clients and apply for opportunities wherever I can is top of my list of goals. I use LinkedIn and Twitter primarily to look for opportunities – the worst that can happen is that the potential client doesn’t hire you. There’s always an opportunity for further work so staying professional in rejection is very important – if you approach someone and they don’t have work for you, thank them for their time and offer your services for the future. I’ve found that this has resulted in them getting in contact with me at a later date as I’d made a lasting, positive impression.
Having a quiet month is stressful beyond belief.
After Christmas, I had a good week and a half where I didn’t hear from the vast majority of my major clients- that is, the clients I do the most work for on a weekly basis. Naturally, my stress levels went into overdrive and I started to panic. Had I done something to upset them? Had I been blacklisted for some reason? I sent polite emails outlining my availability for the week and the fact of the matter was that, just after Christmas, they also didn’t have much business to pass on to me. A few days later, everything was back to normal and the emails were landing in my inbox faster than ever. Ultimately, this has taught me that this is a business that has busy periods and then periods where work is lacking and I have to take this in my stride and look at other outlets to acquire work.
Some people won’t understand what you actually do (no matter how many times you explain it.)
Whenever I tell people that I’m a Freelance Copywriter, they either look at me blankly and change the subject or else ask what on EARTH it means to be a freelance copywriter. I tend to just explain that everything they see written down, whether that be leaflets, websites or press releases, has to be written by someone and I am one of those someone’s. Trying to explain to someone that essentially, you sit at a computer all day and write to earn a living can be challenging when technology and digital careers are such a new thing to some people.
It’s not easy.
I never expected the experience to be an easy one but I really didn’t guess at just how tricky it would be. Keeping myself motivated, ensuring that my finances are in order and just getting stuff done has been really difficult and I have a newfound respect for everyone and anyone who has been doing this for a long time. People often look down on freelancers and imply that they’re lazy and don’t really do all that much but it’s clear to me now that that definitely isn’t the case.
It’s incredibly rewarding when invoices are paid.
I must admit that every single invoice that clears makes everything that I’ve been doing worthwhile. Every time I’m able to pop money in my savings account, every time I treat myself to something with the money I’ve earned through freelancing, every time I think ‘I’ve been able to do X, because I work for myself as a Freelance Copywriter’ and all of the difficulties, the misunderstandings, the stress about sticking to deadlines, the stress about lack of work… it has all been worth it. Every single second of it.