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Starting a Freelance Career: A Couple Frequently Asked Questions

Are you new to writing and exploring what type of writing you want to do? This eBook excerpt, How Do I Start a Freelance Career?, from the Beginning Writer's Answer Bookcovers everything from freelance writing to technical writing and writing for niches - such as comic strips, book reviews, and more!

freelance writing | technical writing

In this post, we've picked a couple of frequently asked questions about freelance writing and making money. Enjoy!

For many years, I’ve had a deep-seated desire to write, and I’d love to break in to the field and make enough money to support my family. How much money can I make freelancing?

A lot of money can be made by freelancing, but most writers receive fairly little income while they perfect their writing and marketing abilities. There are hundreds of full-time freelancers who make good livings but who started slow—freelancing on the side while holding down a day job. Your best bet is to begin with magazine articles, since the market is large and varied, and fodder for articles is everywhere.

What are the advantages and disadvantages I might face as a full-time freelance writer?

There are many advantages to being a full-time freelance writer. You are your own boss. You control your working hours and, in a sense, the amount of money you make. You practice as a profession the thing you enjoy most. You may have much more opportunity to be creative than if you worked as a staff writer. You choose what you want to write about, and get paid for learning something new through research. You can work at home, and if you’re a parent, you can save on childcare expenses. In addition, the research involved in writing can bring you into contact with interesting, stimulating people.

On the other hand, most writers face innumerable rejections (and no income) before making their first sale. To avoid losing faith in yourself and your career at this stage, it helps if you are thick-skinned, self-confident, and persistent. Unlike a job in a company, freelance writing jobs do not bring regular paychecks in regular amounts. Further, you are responsible for collecting your own payments. You receive no fringe benefits, such as the insurance and retirement benefits that company employees receive. Being self-employed, you must spend part of your working time on administrative tasks like bookkeeping and filing income tax and social security forms.

Writers usually work alone, and this can be a disadvantage (depending on your personality), especially after a number of days without contact with your colleagues. If you’re married, it’s best to have a spouse who approves of your career and all it entails, since your irregular working hours and irregular income will affect him or her.

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