If you’re reading this post, I bet you would love to jump up and quit your job, and strike out on your own to learn how to become a freelance writer. Of course, that’s not always feasible. If you’ve got a lot of fixed expenses and not a ton of savings, you probably need to keep your income steady while you learn how to freelance write. Plus, it’s great to have the security of a full-time job as you learn whether you can really make money writing.
I’ve had it both ways. I started out freelance writing when I didn’t have a job. That made it easy: I didn’t have to decide whether I wanted to quit my job or not! But a little while later, I did take a staff writing job, and I quit that to make a more serious effort to be a full-time freelance writer. It was really stressful to not have that full-time income coming in right away, and I recommend holding onto your job until you have at least a few steady clients coming in with freelance writing.
So instead of marching into your boss’ office today, you may want to start your freelance career while you’re still working your day job. This is challenging, but it’s ideal in many ways. You’ll be able to test the waters to see if you enjoy (and are good at) freelance writing before worrying about how to make a living at it. You can put some time and experience behind you, and get some beginner mistakes out of the way, so that when you do try freelancing full-time, you are well prepared.
It will require a lot of discipline, planning, and motivation to keep on top of your freelance goals when you’re already working 40+ hours per week. Here are some ways to ensure you continue to make progress:
Set Aside At Least 1-2 Nights Per Week to Learn How to Become a Freelance Writer
For a while, freelance writing will become your new after-work hobby! Try to pick a consistent night or two per week (or more) where you can focus on learning, writing, and marketing yourself. Note that when you start to pick up some client work, the time demands will grow, and you may have to bump up your time commitment again.
It will take patience and understanding from your friends and loved ones, and it will take some commitment from you to set aside those hours even if when you’d rather be doing something else. But think of the goals you have and how much better your life could be, permanently, if you make freelancing work!
Make a List of Bite-Sized Tasks
You come home from work and you want to work on your freelance writing career a bit, but you’re tired and you can’t think of what to do next. You give up before you even start.
But if you already have a list of bite-sized to-dos you can accomplish in an hour or two, it becomes much more automatic to pick up the next task on the list and get it done. You can squeeze in a bit more progress in with a spare hour here, or a subway ride there.
Make a List of Strategic Questions
Another way to maximize your spare moments and harness them for your freelance writing business is to keep a running list of things you need to figure out. “What industry would I like to focus on?” “Do I want to work for small businesses or Fortune 500 companies?” “What’s currently missing from my portfolio?” “How do I feel most comfortable finding clients?” “What’s next to become a freelance writer?”
The mind mills things over without you even being aware of it. You might find that the answer to the next question on your list comes when you least expect it. If you can get some of these questions out of the way before you sit down to work, you will maximize what precious little time you have.
Set a Goal for How Long You’ll Do “Double Time”
Working all day and then freelancing on the side is tough work. It helps to have some end goal for when you’ll feel comfortable quitting your job and writing full-time.
When you’ve consistently got more than 10 hours of freelance work per week, for instance, it may be time to start planning the transition to full-time freelance work so that you can completely focus on your writing. If you’ve got that much client work, that’s is enough to show that you’ve got what it takes to find other clients and build a full-time income... if only you’d give yourself permission to jump in.
Keeping some end goal in mind for when you’ll be able to focus on writing full-time can keep you going on the days when it seems really difficult to juggle everything. It is, but it’s also so, so worth it to persevere!
Have a Clear Vision of The Path
Working and attempting to freelance on the side is a tough balancing act. But it just means you have to be selective about how you use your time, and you need to have a clear vision of where you want to go and how you’ll get there.
My Freelance Writing Jumpstart course teaches you how to become a freelance writer in 6 weeks, following a structure that incorporates everything I’ve learned from the past 7 years of my freelance writing career. Especially when you’ve got limited time to produce results, it helps to learn from someone who’s already been where you are and found ways to solve the exact same problems.
What About Your Ideas?
Are you burning the midnight oil trying to work on your freelance writing dreams? Have you done it in the past? I would love to hear what has worked for you!
Please pin this article!
Who Wrote This?
I’m Renee Hyde and I’ve been a digital nomad freelance writer since 2012. So far I’ve visited 60+ countries and counting! On this blog I share tips about dreamy travel destinations, travel hacks, ways to work remotely and travel, and advice for living your best nomadic life!