This sixth feature in our Self-Employment Series is of Lisa Tanner, a freelance writer, who took the 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success course.
In case you missed the other five, here they are:
- My interview on how I made $32,000 as a part-time proofreader
- How Michelle makes $100,000/month as a full-time blogger
- How Cynthia makes $22.50/hour minimum as a legal transcriptionist
- How Kirstin makes $1,100/month as a part-time bookkeeper
- How Vashti makes $2-3,000/month as a part-time virtual assistant
Let’s get started!
What is freelance writing?
Freelance writing is the process of using your written voice to create content for others. It includes writing for the web and writing for publications.
Why and how did you decide to pursue this career?
After leaving my career as a teacher to homeschool my children, I wanted to find a way to help boost our household finances. I was researching work from home opportunities, and came across freelance writing.
Why did you choose “30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success”?
I found Gina’s site at the very beginning of my research into this career. Using the free information on her website, I was able to land my first client. I realized that she knew what she was talking about, and once I’d earned enough money to purchase the course, I took it to learn more.
How long did it take you to complete the course?
I finished the course in about three weeks.
How long after completing the course did you obtain your first client?
I’d already landed a client prior to taking the class, but within two weeks of finishing the course I was commanding higher rates and landed additional work.
How much do you make a month? Do you work part time or full time?
I average around $2,100 a month.
I’ve increased my work hours to about 20/week now to accommodate a new client, and my latest monthly income was $3,385.
What are your expenses (business-related expenses)?
My biggest expenses are related to my website—domain and hosting. Additionally, I’ve invested in a variety of courses to help hone my skills, and membership in a mastermind group. I’ve recently started hiring someone to create some graphics for my blog each month. Finally, there are the never-ending PayPal fees. [Adrienne’s Note: Using FreshBooks eliminates those never-ending PayPal fees]
What are your duties? Can you describe a day in your life?
A typical day for my business is a mixture of client work, marketing, pitching, and writing/updating on my own blogs.
My life is kind of crazy, but here’s a typical day:
I tackle farm chores in the morning, and then move into breakfast/chores with the kids. Next we do our homeschooling for the day, which includes a ½ hour writing time. This is when I usually write for my own blogs.
We typically finish school late in the morning, and I have about half an hour to tackle some business to-dos before lunchtime.
After lunch we have family playtime, and then our hour and a half quiet time. This is when I knock out client work and pitching.
I try to tackle marketing through social media in small chunk of time throughout the day as they become available.
I don’t like working in the evenings, but I will put in time after the kids are in bed if necessary. In the last couple of months, I’ve made a bigger effort not to work on the weekends. I could definitely earn more if I put in more time, but my family is taking a bigger priority right now.
What is your least favorite part/hardest part of being a freelance writer?
My least favorite part is pitching. I really like landing long-term clients, because it means I don’t have to pitch as much!
What is your favorite part of being a freelance writer?
I love the actual writing, and any research that’s necessary. I enjoy learning new things!
What traits do you feel are necessary to being a good, successful freelance writer? Which ones are taught and which ones are inherent?
There are six traits that successful freelancer writers need. They are:
- The ability to move past fear
- A sense of self-worth
- The ability to write
Freelancers need to be able to keep going with a business even when times are slow. They need to be able to take no for an answer, but not take it personally.
When fear of failure, or fear of success kick in, successful freelancers can recognize it for what it is, and decide to move forward anyway. They know that fear can’t prevent them from trying.
Once a gig has been landed, a freelancer needs to actually get the work done. Organization goes hand in hand with responsibility in this sense.
With so many words published on the web, freelancers need integrity. It’s very easy to borrow a few words from here and a few words from there and slap together a post. But, that’s not what clients want. Clients want to know that the freelancer they hired is actually putting time and effort into creating quality content.
A sense of self-worth is vital to a successful career. Freelance writers offer a valuable service, and deserve to be paid for their work. If you don’t believe that you are worth it, your clients will quickly see through you and you’ll be working for pennies (or less). Believe in yourself, because you’re pretty awesome! Just don’t be too full of yourself, because no one likes a bragger.
The ability to write well in the language that you’ll be publishing in is essential. Freelancer writers need to be able to write well. Your editors will thank you!
Of these traits, many are inherent. However, they can all be improved through practice and diligence. There are courses you can take that’ll help improve your actual ability to write. You can try different methods of organization to see what works for you.
Do you have any advice for someone considering this career?
My biggest piece of advice is to always be willing to adapt and revisit the goals you set for yourself. You might launch your career with the intention of only writing blog posts for clients in a certain niche, only to discover through an assignment that you actually enjoy writing white papers.
The field of freelance writing is wide-opened for writers in all different fields. Don’t force yourself into a tiny box when there’s a whole lot of opportunity just waiting.
Any final thoughts?
Don’t underestimate the value of finding a group of writers who get it. Freelancing is something that your friends and family may not understand. That’s why I love the Facebook group that comes with 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success.
It’s a group of people who understand the struggles and wins that freelancers go through.
Even if you don’t purchase this course, make it a point to find a support group of likeminded individuals. That can make a huge difference when times get tough or you don’t land a gig you were hoping for.
Lisa Tanner is a homesteading, homeschooling, freelancing mama to seven kids (with number eight on the way.) She loves helping moms minimize their decisions and maximize their productivity as they balance diapers and deadlines. You can find her over at lisatannerwriting.com