While career of most women take a backseat when they become a mother, I found a blossoming career as a freelance writer thanks to motherhood. Actually I had never imagined earning money through freelance writing mainly because till then I had only heard about content mills that offered peanuts. I plunged into the world of freelance writing by sheer chance. But of course, it required hard work and dedication to blossom.
To escape from the monotony of being a stay-at-home mom, I started a parenting blog. That was the turning point in my writing career. Seeing my blog, my first client approached me with a 6-month project to write 4 articles per month. I was reluctant at first because as I said I never thought there was any money in freelance writing. But when they offered me $50 per article I literally had dollar signs in my eyes. I agreed and that $1200 project became my first break. Of course I had to toil hard to get new clients, but being a mother helped me a lot in my career as a freelance writer. Here are a few things I learnt in the process that could be useful to anyone contemplating a career as a freelance writer.
Freelance Writing is Not A Job
If you delve into freelancing with an employee attitude, you are not likely to succeed. There is going to be uncertainty. There are going to be times when you are up till the brim with orders and there are going to be times when you have none. You will have to grind away till you create a name for yourself. In many ways motherhood prepares you for all these. It molds you to embrace the uncertain, it helps you find your hidden potential, it teaches you patience and shows you the extent to which you are capable of toiling. It unleashes the entrepreneur in you and instills in you a never-say-no attitude.
Time Management is the key.
Everyone has just 24 hours a day. For a SAHM, out of this 24, 12 hours are spent managing the kids, 2 hours for the household chores and 5-6 hours for sleep, which leaves just around 4-5 hours a day to write. I would sneak my phone without my son knowing and pitch articles, draft mails, network and search for new jobs. While he was napping, I would exclusively use that time to write articles. Whether you are a SAHM or someone trying to transition from a full time job to a freelance writer, you will have to multi-task and work while commuting, while eating or even when in the loo.
Quality Over Quantity
As time was rather limited, I was able to write just one article a day. So, I did not want to take up jobs that paid peanuts. I filtered out all low paying gigs and focused my energy on providing good quality content to my clients even if that meant writing just around 5-10 articles a month. That strategy soon paid off. While applying for new jobs, I was able to submit some good quality samples and soon I was even able to demand better rates for my job.
Write About What You Like
I do not have the luxury of slothing on for hours in the name of research. Once I had taken up an assignment to write 10 articles on Satellite Communications, a topic that was Greek to me. My life during that month was a mess. It took a great deal of my time and I had to sacrifice a few family gatherings to complete the job on time. I learnt it the hard way and decided to write only on topics that I was interested in. This helps me to write good quality articles and in turn get maximum returns in the limited time that I have.
Pitch The Right Way
Until you grow to the point where clients seek you, you will have to seek them. This means you will have to pitch to almost every listing in the job boards and respond to every ad you see on Craiglist. But a publisher typically receives around 200+ mails to an ad. So while pitching, you need to have something eye-catchy. Read your client's blog and pitch some interesting topics that are hard to resist. Always give relevant samples and a kick ass titles that prompts your clients to click the sample links and read your articles.
Take a break
Whether you are struggling or thriving, take a break once in a while to keep up your productivity. Go for a jog or hit the gym. If you are thinking of saving that 30 minutes break to slog more at work, you cannot be entertaining a more destructive thought. It often isn't how hard you work, rather how smart you work that matters. Stay healthy to stay productive. After all, you are selling your skill for a living and if you are unhealthy, so will be your skill.
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