For someone who started a freelance writing career with the sole intention of making some extra pocket change, I’ve done well for myself. In just 2.5 years, I’ve grown from a bottom-of-the-barrel newbie to an experienced freelance editor who manages her own team of writers.
As my career continues to evolve, I’ve noticed that my view on freelancing clashes with a lot of the freelance writing advice floating around on the internet.
“Just follow these 5 steps for a successful freelance writing career!”
“How to make your first $10,000 as a newbie freelance writer with no experience or qualifications!”
That advice won’t work for everyone.
(And honestly? It sounds kinda gimmicky.)
Are you looking for a fresh perspective on freelance writing from someone who knows the ins and outs of the business?
Fine, but I’m warning you — my view on building a successful freelance writing career is a little…different.
It’s called freelancing for a reason.
Because you’re free to do whatever you want.
(And that’s what makes it the best job in the world.)
You pick your clients, your schedule, your workspace, your work clothes.
You. Pick. Everything.
So no, you don’t have to follow someone else’s “infallible five-step process” to create a successful freelance writing career — if you don’t want to.
Of course, there’s a catch: freelancing is the definition of a competitive sector, and you must have the skills needed to attract quality clients who pay well.
(Yeah, that’s on you. Some of the freelance writing advice on the internet seems to suggest otherwise.)
If you don’t have the skills, you need to learn them. That’s on you, too.
Debunking the “get-rich-quick” approach to freelance writing
Listen, I really hate to break it to you, I do — but you’re probably not going to make six figures your first year of freelance writing.
(Yes, sometimes Pinterest lies.)
(I know, shocking, right?)
I could be wrong. In fact, I challenge you to prove me wrong.
But I also challenge you to be realistic, for your own sake. Don’t fall for the get-rich-quick scheme, my friend! (Especially if you don’t have at least some experience and/or credentials.)
If six figures is your goal, by all means, shoot for it. Again, freelancing. But if your content and skills aren’t worth six figures, you won’t reach it.
I know, it sucks. Sorry not sorry.
A radical perspective on wealth
Personally? I’m not in this to make six figures. In fact, I’m not in this for the money at all, never have been.
If you are, that’s fine. (Again…freelancing.)
But y’all, the earth is literally dying because we produce too much. I don’t want to take a similar attitude toward my business.
I don’t want more money or more clients just for the sake of having more — because unchecked growth has disastrous consequences.
Our ultra-capitalist society has taught us we should never stop chasing. It’s taught us we should never be at peace with what we already have, to never “settle”, because there’s always something “better” out there.
I think that idea is bullshit, and it’s one of the many reasons our stress levels are through the roof.
I’m happy with the clients I have now. I work part-time hours and make full-time money — and I’m not gonna let anyone shame me for “settling”, because the place I’ve “settled” in is super comfortable.
(I haven’t always been able to say that.)
Besides, if I ever do need more money, or if I get bored, I can always take on more clients.
Am I saying you shouldn’t set goals, or that you should settle for less than you’re worth?
This is just my perspective on wealth.
If I do eventually make six figures, that’s cool. But as long as I got clothes on my back and food in my belly, I’m good.
TL;DR: There’s more than one road to freelance writing success
I think the big problem I have with a lot of freelance writing advice is that its definitions of success are a little narrow, and it all sounds the same.
From what I’ve seen, success = more money and more clients.
But that’s not everyone’s definition of freelance writing success — and it’s certainly not mine.
My definition of success is loving what I do and learning something new in the process. And in that respect at least, I’m the most successful freelance writer I know.
I realize this post is a little controversial, but I refuse to nod along to what everyone else is saying just for the sake of it.
I also think it’s time we heard from some folks whose end goals involve more than just dollar signs. Money ain’t shit to some of us, so stop trying to make us feel guilty about it.
That’s my two cents on freelance writing success — now let’s hear yours! Drop them comments like they’re hot, my friend. (Or don’t. I’m not your boss.)