When I left my full time job three months ago, I hoped to be successful as a freelance writer, but it seemed like it would take me a long time to find that success. Especially with a baby and no consistent childcare situation (nor the financial means to afford one). I felt pretty trapped–trapped between being a SAHM (Stay at Home Mom) to my daughter and being a WAHM (Work at Home Mom) and bringing in some much needed income for my family. When was I supposed to find the time to make money while also taking care of her?
Well, you can see a few of my solutions for cheap childcare, a WAHM schedule, and ways to entertain the baby here and here. So with these solutions in my toolbox and the steps below, I was able to do it!
Here’s how I made $2,000 this month by working less than 20 hours a week:
- Find the time. So using all of the resources I had, I was able to carve out a solid four hours a day (from 8pm to midnight) after my daughter went to bed. Over 5 days, this added up to 20 hours a week. Sometimes I was lucky to get a few extra hours throughout the day if she napped, but this time was never reliable, so I only scheduled enough work that I could complete in four hours a day.
- Find the work. I find some of my freelance work through a creative staffing firm called Creative Circle. They have offices in 28 cities across North America and they help writers, editors, designers, etc. find remote, part time, full time, and freelance work. I also have a gig through a local content marketing company, where I write blog posts for small businesses and large corporations alike in the Dallas area. Both of these are how I’ve been able to pay our rent with my freelance income. If you’re looking to hire a Dallas freelance copywriter / copyediter, please check out my portfolio and contact me for details.
- Ask for the right rate. The first month or two I started, I had a tendency to take jobs that were not paying high enough for someone with my skill level and background (I have an MFA in Creative Writing and I taught writing for four years before transitioning to a career as a freelance writer).
The Writer’s Market and Linda Formichelli from The Renegade Writer gave me confidence that a writer with a background like mine should not work for less than $0.50/word for an article. Blog posts may go for a lower rate, but not for less than $100/post. Sure, you can get a gig on a content mill website a lot faster than pitching a client, but you will end up putting a lot of work into an assignment that just isn’t going to pay your bills. If you’re a WAHM, you need to use every hour wisely. Value your time and decide on a rate that is appropriate for your experience level.
4. Make a good impression. One of my assignments this month was
to write 36 award recipient profiles for a yearly book project. The team liked my work so much that they are likely to consider bringing me back on for next year’s book. That means in January 2017, I may have part of my income already accounted for. Part of a freelancer’s job in the beginning is building a network and earning a spot in editors’ stables of go-to writers/designers/creatives. The better impression you can make on a client, the more likely they are to send you work in the future, allowing you to focus more on completing work and less on finding it!
January 2016 Income:
Blog posts: $850 + Profiles: $1,152 =Total: $2,002
Are you making money as a freelancer? How did you get your start? If you’re not there yet, what’s the first action step you plan to take to start heading that direction?