Earning a Freelance Income You can Survive On

Many people avoid freelance because of the uncertainty of income. That is completely understandable. I started into freelance writing as a way to ADD income to our household. It was only about three months into my serious pursuit of a freelance career that my husband left his job and our family became dependent on the freelance income. It was scary times.

It has now been a year and I’ll confess that times are still scary occasionally. I have learned to survive by making a few changes in the way I think, the way I work and the way our family functions financially.

  1. Budget – if you don’t already have a budget then there is no way that you can survive on a freelance income (or probably any self-employed business). There are just too many factors involved with income not to have complete knowledge of what you are spending and how you NEED to be spending. We have a budget, and I stay on it for the major things, but I will admit that I’m slacking on the minor things. I know that if I just get that spending under control then we will be more financially secure.

    The key to living off a budget is to you LAST months income for your budget. That way you never panic if a payment is late or if the site doesn’t buy your article.

    For finding employment or freelance opportunities there are SO many different places a freelance writer can find work. The local newspaper, online content companies, local business and anywhere else that needs something written at some time. Put together a letter of interest or a query and send it out to everyone that you can think of that might need some writing expertise. There are also several online sites that offer great links to possible jobs:

    • www.freelancewritinggigs.com – not only will you find job links, but you will also get some great information about being a freelance writer.
    • www.aboutfreelancewriting.com – Anne offers some great links from all over the web.

    • Craigslist – check under the gigs section of your region and also the writers sections.

    • www.performancing.com – this is a site for bloggers, but they do have job listings.

    • www.probloggers.net – this is another great blogger site that offers information for content writing and also job listings.

    These are just a few of the jobs that you can find around the internet. Think about what you want to make per hour and then look at the job in that perspective. If you can write a blog post in 20 minutes then you can multiply the per article price by three and see if it meets your hourly needs.

  2. Start a blog – every online writer (and really any writer these days) should have a blog where contact information, fees, and sample articles can be easily accessed. Besides, posting on a blog on a regular basis will help to keep your muse dancing.

  3. Tackle print possibilities – there are many print magazines that offer premium payments for articles. Even some of the religious magazines pay $.05 t0 $.25 per word! Find a magazine that fits your voice and start submitting queries.

  4. Continue learning – attending conferences and classes will not only expand your skills but will give you connections and opportunities that you could not find anywhere else.

  5. Be professional – meeting deadlines, providing quality material and being willing to work with editorial needs will make employers eager to continue a relationship. Several of the sites that I started my freelance career with last year have already offered me a raise (or two). Some of them have sent my contact information to other employers (resulting in more job opportunities).

  6. Comment on forums and blogs – quality comments can lead to possible jobs. I have picked up three jobs (one a regular gig) from comments that I left on websites.

  7. Check out some of the shared income sites – Associated Content pays well for some people (although I haven’t had much success). eHow is another site that can be easy to write for and that pays for the number of visits to your posts (I’ve had much more success with them). Some of these sites also hire writers occasionally.

  8. Step outside the traditional – I make pretty decent money each month from working with grants. There is a great deal of creative writing involved in the grants process. Take a couple of classes (online or at your local university) and then begin charging for your services.

  9. Ghost writing – writing for other people that then don’t put your name on the material may not be as professionally satisfying as seeing your name in print, but it will help to pay the bills.

There are some many opportunities for expanding your freelance career. It can be easy to make a living if you just step out in the right direction (and then continue stepping) until you find the success.

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