Want To Write Full Time? Here’s How To Set Up Your Business

By on November 3, 2016
Want To Write Full Time? Here’s How To Set Up Your Business - Writerslife.org

Becoming a full-time freelance writer can be a scary decision to make. This is particularly true if you already have a comfortable job, you know, one with a contract in place, a steady salary and all the usual ‘perks’ such as paid holiday, sick pay or maternity/paternity leave.

The idea of leaving that behind for a job where the onus is all on you might seem crazy. A job where if you fall ill and can’t complete your work you not only won’t get paid but might very well have a disgruntled editor breathing down your neck. One where if you fancy a long weekend you have to make up the time and make sure you fit in an extra days worth of work either before or after so you don’t lose out on any money. One where one month you might be doing lots of great assignments only to find the next month you are twiddling your thumbs and becoming increasingly concerned about how you are going to pay your rent.

You’d have to be mad to do it, wouldn’t you?

The problem is, anyone considering a full-time career in freelance writing is probably doing so because it is their passion. It is what makes them happiest. It is all they want to do. If that is the case, after a while, it becomes pretty hard to ignore, and each day you spend sitting at your desk in your comfortable 9-5 office job makes you increasingly more miserable.

Happily, there are things you can do to make the transition easier, and give yourself the best chance of security and success. Working for yourself has many benefits, and if you are smart about it, your freelance writing business can turn into a very lucrative one indeed.

Here are some practical pieces of advice to help you begin to set up your freelance writing business.

Invest in a good programme to help you look after your finances.

As soon as you go freelance, you need to be aware of the money you are making, and if you don’t have a good system in place from the word go, it is very easy to become muddled quite quickly. You need to keep track of your work, how much you are getting paid, who you have sent an invoice to, who has paid you, who you need to chase and so on. You can use something as simple as an excel spreadsheet or invest in more sophisticated software such as Freshbooks or Quickbooks, or even hire an accountant to help you. Whatever you do make sure you are super organised about this as you need to keep your finances straight at all times.

Set yourself earning targets

Being a freelance writer, it is always important to set yourself goals both regarding your writing and how much you earn for it too. Just as in a regular job one might have a plan of how to work their way up the ranks, you should continuously be trying to improve. As a start you should work out how much you need to earn to survive and make that your goal, but as you get longer term assignments and gain experience you should be able to get better paid work and therefore push yourself to earn more. Make sure you spend some time developing good working relationships with editors and searching for longer term projects which will allow you to plan ahead and feel more secure.

Set up a website and reach out to potential clients.

Having a good online presence is so important when it comes to business success. Make sure you have a professional website set up where you can create a portfolio of work. Ask satisfied clients for testimonials and also use social media to reach out to your audience. Invite people to like your page, set up a Twitter account and join in relevant conversations. The more you can build a following and get yourself noticed the more influential, reliable and professional you will appear.
Create a schedule

It can be very easy when working for yourself to end up working far too much, or sometimes far too little! Try to view your new job as a freelance writer as exactly that - a job. You need to set yourself boundaries and make sure you give yourself breaks and time off, as well as ensuring you are productive and hardworking. Even when you don’t have writing assignments you can focus on pitching, and developing your business. Learn how to prioritise tasks strategically - a good move is to always force yourself to do the work you want to do least first - doing so means you will get it out of the way and then have time to focus on tasks you enjoy later in the day. If you do it the other way around, it will be much harder to tackle.

Setting up a freelance writing business can be challenging, but it is also an exciting new step in your career. Stay organised, remain positive and continually push yourself and you will give yourself the very best chance of success.

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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