Freelancing For Newbies: Don’t Give Up!

I think a lot of people have a misconception about freelancing. It feels like, for many, the idea is that you completely chuck your regular 9-5 aside, hop on the internet, slap together a profile, and then BAM, you have ten potential clients lined up, vying for your otherworldly talents, praising you for how amazing you are, scrambling to give you their money.

If only. 

The reality of freelancing is that it is just as hard, if not harder, to land jobs with potential clients as it is applying for ‘regular’ jobs, say like in retail or sales. More often than not, you will be rejected, for whatever reason. Perhaps another applicant has more experience than you, or their application was more impressive. It can be a number of things. And it’s very easy to feel, after the first, second, third, rejection, that you’re never going to get work, or you’re never going to be hired. The questions that arise are, am I even good enough? What was I thinking? 

The only way to get passed and get on with these feelings, is to keep on trying. Which, sounds very cliche in the grand scheme of things, but is entirely, one hundred percent, true. Freelancing is not a career choice where one rejection means the end of the world; it means that you have the chance to move on and seek more, perhaps even learn why you didn’t land the job you wanted in the first place, and then have the tools and knowledge to potentially land the next job you apply for.

To put things in perspective, I’ve been freelancing since February of this year. Not very long, but long enough. I have held steady jobs with several clients, and currently have three that I’m working with long-term. That, in my opinion, is pretty good, considering before now, I had never professionally freelanced, nor did I have ‘professional’ experience writing for companies or with publishing houses editing. I simply had writing under my belt, and have had experience proof reading and editing others’ work (for free.)

Here’s what my hiring history from February to this month looks like, which includes jobs that I initiated by applying to them on my own, as well as jobs that interested clients invited me to apply to:

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That’s four hires out of nineteen applications sent in, with ten of those applications being declined by potential clients, three being withdrawn by myself, and two applications that expired because a client simply didn’t respond to the activity on that job. I’ll admit, it looks somewhat discouraging.

What you’ll notice,  however, is that there’s a lot of application activity, regardless of the fact that there are so many declines (ten remember? That’s more than half.) The very first job that I ever applied to through Upwork, was declined by the client. Ten days later, I was hired on by another client for ghost writing, which turned out to be a good experience for me, because I was able to work with an established author on their work, and I gained a lot of feedback on my writing that went on to help not only my own writing, but other ghost writing projects as well.

You’ll then see that my next four applications were declined before I was hired again, and that it was another three applications before I was taken on by another client. Had I given up after the first, second, even third rejection, I wouldn’t be where I am now, which is working with a team of clients that I truly, honestly enjoy working for.

Now, keep in mind that all of these contracts are, or were, on-going contracts, meaning that they weren’t one-time projects. My first client has offered me work since our initial contract concluded (a project I declined because of creative differences) and subsequent contracts have given me numerous projects that I’ve completed. Large gaps (April-May) where I have no application activity, is where I was working steadily with one or two clients, and when worked dropped off, applications picked back up as I began to look for more work, and more often than when I originally started freelancing, I would be hired.

The point that I’m trying to make here, for anyone who is looking to freelance through writing, or editing – or even blogging, copy writing, whatever it is you’re doing, etc. – is that to get jobs you have to apply to jobs. You have to apply to them even when your last ten applications have been declined. You have to apply to them even when you’re asking yourself why you’re even bothering – because the answer is simple: it’s what you want to do! And starting out, unless you already have established experience, is likely going to be slow. It’s going to feel like a lot of uphill walking. But those four landed jobs are invaluable in comparison to the ten that you didn’t get, and the more you work and the better the reputation you build up, the more you’ll (1) be accepted for jobs and (2) the more likely it is for clients to approach you because of their interest in having you as their freelancer.

Just keep in mind that it’s something that takes time. It takes perseverance, and a willingness to trudge past all of the potential rejections until you get someone that wants to hire you.

 

Productivity & Progress

I haven’t been around the last few days, and for once, I actually have a good reason.

I recently landed two jobs. One writing, the other editing. They take up a lot of time, in addition to my retail work, and general every day life. The usual stuff, getting into the grind of busting out regular work, building experience.

I’ve also decided that I want to do more with taking control of my work and being able to do something with it. Being a writer isn’t necessarily easy – it takes time, effort. It doesn’t always pay the bills. This isn’t something that I want to give up, or have to put on the back burner. I love what I do, and I’d like to keep doing it.

Over the next few months, while I get into this blogging groove, work out the logistics of… what it is I want to do here, I’ll be rolling out a Patreon, then. No pressure, no pushing. If you like what I do, and would like to support what I do and perhaps make it possible for me to be able to write more and make more content, then feel free to join it. To me, it feels like a good starting point, especially for a young freelance writer looking for more and more opportunities in the field.

Soooo. That’s what I’ve been up to. In addition to planning a lot of fun things to roll out come October, working on NaNoWriMo planning, and generally getting my writing act together. I’m excited.

Happy writing, all!

 

Morning Thoughts | 9.20.16

Today I woke up with thoughts of the past.

I had never seriously entertained a career in writing and editing. I had always assumed I would have another kind of professional career (I started college with the intent on getting degrees in psychology, and becoming a psychologist.) I loved writing. I loved reading. It was never a thought to make anything out of it.

The years that I was in school taught me a lot of things. I grew up a lot after high school.

Part of that was realizing that my passions didn’t lay where I thought that they did. I got more and more into writing and networking with other writers and blogging. I was less and less enthusiastic about my degree. I eventually ended up changing majors and working towards a degree in English, and after a lot of trial and error and hard work, I earned my AA.

Now that I’m working in my field, saving money to continue my education… I’m so very thankful that I found what I want to do, something that I’m truly invested in. Something that I love.

I feel good about that.

 

Morning Thoughts | 9.16.16

I’ve been thinking a lot about success. What does it mean, as a writer, to be successful? Does it come with stacks and stack of plotting material? Does it come when people praise your work? Does it happen when you get published? Published again?

I always used to think that success as a writer came when you’d sold millions of copies and signed movie deals for you five-book series, or when you were touring the world promoting and news networks were calling you for interviews. But how many writers actually ever get to that point? Do the millions of authors out there that never hit that point, count as unsuccessful writers?

I don’t think so.

It feels to me, now that I’ve been writing continuously, that success comes more from where you see yourself. Success can come from finishing a novel that you never publish, or writing poetry every day, or publishing a blog post on time. It can be found in a friend telling you they love a piece you wrote – or a complete stranger saying that you made them feel something.

Success is what you make of it.

Morning Thoughts | 9.15.16

There’s this sort of groggy, tired, early-morning plotting that I tend to do in the first thirty minutes of  my day. It usually involves having had a very, very strange dream, and then in the haze of being roused from sleep due to my lovely alarm clock, it somehow ends up relating to something that I’m writing, or want to write. The – somewhat foggy, half-way brilliant – plotting that follows usually entails me laying face down in my pillow, talking to myself, before I realize that I might want to write that thought down before the thought runs away.

Up, out of bed (semi-reluctantly,) over to my desk. There I rummage about until I find the right notebook – because I have a notebook for everything, and I can’t just jot this brilliant idea down wherever I want, it’s got a proper place to go.

I let it sit there. I eat, organize, review the day’s to-do list. Perhaps I procrastinate a little on that video game I recently got back into. I go back to the brilliant idea. Sometimes, when I read the idea with a clear head, it’s not half as brilliant as my early-morning brain thought it was. Sometimes it’s more brilliant. Sometimes it’s stuck somewhere between complete mediocrity and the next big thing.

 

Planning, Plotting, & Pacing | Mid-September Check-In

September is almost halfway through, and I’m pleasantly surprised with how much I’ve kept up with what I said I would set out to do this month and into the next. For a small recap, this month is my trial-and-error month for figuring out my writing schedule, learning how I want to pace myself, and in general getting into a writing routine.

So far, I’ve done well. I haven’t stuck to my ‘homework,’ but I have written every day since the start of September, and on most days I’ve met my word count goal. I’ve gotten into the habit of knowing that I need to write – whether it’s a blog post for my 30 day challenge, writing for work or writing for myself – and sitting down and doing so. My motivation is up. I’m doing more.

What I think my issue was, in regards to where I fall behind, is trying to do too much without pacing myself and giving myself room for breathers. Doing something every single day isn’t always feasible. Things come up in life and sometimes you just can’t do something you’d planned that day. Sometimes you need a break. I’m learning that that’s okay, too, and I can’t always just schedule myself a breather day. Sometimes that ‘breather’ day is the most productive day of the week, and a day that I planned on having work done is a day where I do nothing but decompress and game.

It’s a learning process, and I’m learning. I’m looking forward to the rest of the month and the coming months – and to writing more.

Morning Thoughts | 9.13.16

I’m thinking more and more on the idea of doing more flash fiction. I’m not new necessarily to one shots, but writing short pieces (really, really short pieces) I think will be good practice for me for learning how to cut down on words while still telling a good story. I’d also like to build […]

Freelancing For Newbies: Before You Freelance

I want to preface this by saying that I am in no way an expert in freelancing. I’m relatively new myself (I’ve been officially freelance editing and writing for a little under a year currently) but in the eight months that I’ve been doing so, I’ve learned a lot of valuable information, especially when it comes to what you should know before you start up.

A lot of this will be taken from my experiences with Upwork, Outsource, and Freelancer, as well as what I researched when I originally started doing freelance work.

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Morning Thoughts: Evening Edition | 9.11.16

Sometimes it pays to re-vist old work, and revamp it. Other times, it’s best to just scrap everything that you’ve done and start from scratch.

I’ve gotten the fun/pleasure of doing the latter, and am working through an old(ish) fantasy world and giving it a complete overhaul after realizing that the initial story line and plot was… not good. Which is good! I’m getting better and better at finding what does and does not work for myself, and getting to the point where it’s easier for me to tell what’s good material and what isn’t.

To work!

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Work, Work, Work, Work, Work

Client assignment: Done

Writing on short story submission: Progressing

Blog planning: Successful

Today has been a shockingly productive day, writing wise. I didn’t think that I would get too much done, considering the fact that I had errands to run. But there’s a bit of credit to be given to my bursts of motivation, so hat’s off to that, I’ve got myself together and I’m getting things done.

So. Break time for now. Then back in the grind. Might even have more WIPs or possibly a full piece to post sometime soon. I also have some ideas for weekly/daily posting aside from just the usual Morning Thoughts posts that I’m doing for this month’s 30 Day Challenge that I’ll be drafting up for days to come. So there that!

Huzzah!