As I get ready to teach a class at Frederick Community College on making a living as a freelance writer, I figured that I would write about the advantages that I’ve found as a freelancer over the years. Then next week, I’ll touch on the disadvantages just to be fair.
Set your own hours
I work early morning before my kids get up, then I get them ready for school, work some more, break for awhile to go to Y, work, maybe do something fun, etc. You know the work that needs to be done, so you set your time accordingly. If you are freelancing part-time, this means it will fit whatever work schedule you have.
Work from home
This is a double-edged sword. On the one side, it’s been a great advantage during the bad weather. My work commute is walking down the hall from the bedroom to the den. On the other side, it means I have to work on bad weather days and don’t get a snow day. It can also be distracting in the evenings or mornings when there’s lots of other people moving around and making noise so you might need to set limits like if your office door is open, you can come in, if closed leave me alone. I can also play what music I like or some old-time radio shows. So on the whole, I count it as an advantage.
Choose your work
You can choose your work in two ways. 1) You’ll send out queries, pitching story ideas or companies about your abilities. You only send out for ideas or companies you’re interested in. 2) Once you start getting contacted about stories, you can choose what you want to do. However, if you turn too many down, you might lose the client’s interest.
Income depends on you
When I worked for someone else, I’ve had my boss tell me, “I wish I could give you a bigger raise, but the company’s not allowing it” or my wife had a job where all the raises in her department had to average out to a set number, which meant for one person to get a larger than average raise, someone couldn’t. As a freelancer, your income depends on you and you alone. If you’re a hard worker and inventive about finding revenue streams or very productive, this is an encouraging prospect. My income has grown by at least 10 percent each year I’ve freelanced.
You can write off part of your mortgage and home expenses on your taxes. You can pad your retirement. I have found that there are a lot of things that I use in my business that I might otherwise have bought – computer, new desk chair, etc.
You aren’t dependent on one revenue stream
When you work for a company and get one paycheck a week, you are dependent on that company. Your fortunes rise or fall with it. As a freelancer, you can work in a variety of fields and in a variety of media.
So any of you freelancers out there: What are the advantages that you have found as a freelance writer?