In my last blog, I wrote about the advantages that I’ve found as a freelance writer, but there are some disadvantages, too. So just to be fair, I’ll let you in on what they are as well.
By this, I mean making sure that you have enough money coming in each month to pay the bills. I have clients who pay twice a week and clients who pay 6 months after a piece is publishing, which can be a year from the time I get the assignment and everywhere in between. Trying to balance my cash flow so that I’ve got enough each month is impossible if relying on cash in hand. I’ve developed a budget of expenses. I put all income into a savings account and then at the beginning of the month, I transfer the budget amount into checking. It’s the only way I can work it.
Though you will go to meetings and do interviews, those things don’t give you personal, non-work interactions. Freelance writing can be lonely work. That’s why I like the old time radio shows playing on my computer while I work. They provide white noise in the background. It’s one reason why I joined a writer’s group so I can have dinner with fellow writers once a week and talk and laugh.
Discipline to work at home
It’s easy to get distracted. Oh, there’s dishes to do or a show on TV I want to watch and doing those things beats the hard work of putting together an article or marketing campaign. There’s also the problem of friends who think you’re always free so call or stop in when working so make sure to set your limits.
It’s easy to work too long, too. When I was starting out, I did that to grow my business. Now when I’ve got free time, I find myself at a loss for something to do. It’s hard to turn off the work sometimes, but you’ve got to or you can burn out.
You do everything
You’re a one-man show so you just can’t write. You have to market yourself, keep the books, answer phones, etc. Don’t be surprised to find yourself spending about half of your time doing non-writing types of things.
Don’t let these drawbacks to freelance writing discourage you, though. Many of them can be overcome, or at least managed as you become more experienced and/or successful at what is a very fun and interesting career.