As a freelancer, the question I’m most commonly confronted with is, “How on Earth do you make money?” The fact of the matter is freelancing is becoming more and more popular as Millennials and Gen Z make their way into the workforce. Being part of the later at 21, I can confidently say we have higher expectations for our careers than 20-somethings used to. As freelancing rises as a common solution, however, it has become increasingly higher to get freelance jobs. The market is competitive, and let’s be honest, no one can just wait around for their next gig and make their rent on time. So, how do I do it?
Learn to Juggle Multiple Freelance Jobs
I got lucky – really lucky – that my first job was such a great job, but my resume and professionalism are what officially got me in the door. My first ever freelance job was with a company known formerly as Book In A Box. Recently, they’ve re-branded to Scribe Media, and I’ve now worked with them for about a year and a half. During my first few months, I mostly copy edited manuscripts. It paid well, and it was a great first job out of college. I was able to do it from wherever I wanted, and it was non-committal enough that I had time to pursue other options, such as my job with a marketing company in Mobile, AL as a Content Strategist. Now, I work with Scribe Media as a Writer and Manuscript Cleaner (but hopefully expanding my horizon with them very soon, fingers crossed). As a Writer, I write the manuscripts for business CEOs that aren’t writers and need help. It’s like ghostwriting, but it’s more along the lines of copywriting, seeing as I’m provided transcripts from various author interviews on their selected topic. As a Manuscript Cleaner, I’m essentially a proofreader/copy editor. With both, my jobs are project based, and I must wait my turn. The work is not consistent, which is why I have my job as a Content Strategist to fall back on.
As a Content Strategist, I build out campaigns for various clients. A campaign essentially holds a specific idea, tool, or project a client wants to highlight through marketing resources, such as email and social media. For example, if one of my clients wants to highlight their strength as an innovative "market disruptor", then I would build a campaign encompassing emails, social media, blog, website, and BI around that specific content. For one client, there can be upwards of 20 different campaigns running a quarter, all surrounding their various projects. Of course, I don’t build everything. I use research and communication with the client to generate a “campaign brief”, and the rest of the team at the company uses the brief to complete their parts. I spend most of my day organizing calls and managing multiple clients with multiple campaigns each. It can be a lot to wrap my head around, and it’s a relatively new job, so I’m still learning. Before I was promoted to Content Strategist, I worked as their Social Media Coordinator.
Keep an Open Mind About Freelance Job Variety
Both jobs are not jobs I ever saw myself doing, but they help me make my rent – and that’s the lesson to take away from this article. Many of us believe we can have exactly what we want. While that is true, and I 100% believe that, it doesn’t mean you will have exactly what you want right from the get-go. If you manage that, then props to you, but the reality is it can take years before you’re doing exactly what you want – with or without a degree.
I’ve always wanted to be an author. I want to write Fiction, make lots of money, and have an amazing home with an amazing family. That’s my dream. I never in a million years thought I’d be working as a Content Strategist or – shockingly – as a writer for others’ books. I spend every day working to make others’ visions come true, and though I wish I could just write my own stories, I’ve got rent and bills to pay. I know that one day I will be able to write books and that be all I do. That day is simply not today, and I’m okay with that.
Too many of us get stubborn with our expectations, which in turn blocks out every other possibility and any open doors for greatness in our lives. There are so many things I’ve come to realize I’m really good at, and I never would have tried those things had I said, “I’m only writing books. Screw everything else.” Today’s society is all about quickness. Everything must be now, and we all forget, I believe, to stop and think about what we may be missing out on because we force ourselves into a specific mindset.
Go After Any Freelance Job That Sparks Your Interest
So, how do I make money as a freelance writer? Not the way I thought I would, but it’s still a way, and each day I’m expanding my horizons by trying things outside of my path. All of this, however, is not to say for you to not chase after your dream and to settle. I still chase my dream every day, but I’m also not being close-minded. I take steps toward my goal by introducing myself to industries that will pay me to write – even if it’s not the type of writing I dreamt of doing. Making my rent as a freelancer is difficult, but I do it by keeping an open mind and not turning down opportunities just because they aren’t “what I wanted” or “what I went to school for”. My advice to every freelancer out there – writer or a different niche – is to go after any job that sparks your interest, even ones you never saw yourself doing. You cannot grow as a person (or grow your bank account) without trying. Be the best you can be by setting goals for your dream and accomplishing them, while simultaneously expanding your resume with new opportunities. There may be a ton of competition, but a diverse resume will set you apart from everyone else, especially if your different jobs can give you a great recommendation. Employers respect employees who are willing to work, no matter the job. If you want to learn, then there is a job waiting for you.