Career College

My Freelancing Life

Let's talk about freelancing. Current location: A coffee shop in Casablanca, Morocco, where I'm working on several assignments that are due this week. My freelancing career certainly didn't begin this way -- and there's no way I could have anticipated the adventures I would experience since I began writing for clients located around the world.

I started freelancing as a recent college graduate, unmoored and not knowing what I was supposed to be doing with my life (spoiler: I still don't know). I was working at a coffee shop in my college town until a friend convinced me to finally get serious about writing. Someone else telling me to go for it was the push I needed and I waded into a world where I was my own boss -- and I loved it.

Baby Steps

I started with a few small projects through a website called UpWork. These projects allowed me to apply for bigger assignments as my reputation and experience grew. By actively using my profile on freelancing websites, I was able to move up in the rankings fairly quickly once I had a steady stream of completed projects. After about three years I'd achieved a stable set of clients, found the kinds of projects I work best on and can now ask for more money than I could when I was just starting out.

But it's not easy money. Normally, you won't get paid until you deliver a product to the client's liking, and you have to constantly seek out new opportunities to keep money coming in. I've been lucky to find a few clients that I work for regularly so I can stay busy with projects I enjoy.

Another great perk: The variety. You can create social media posts, write press releases, transcribe interviews or write blogs for a company's website. As you find your niche you can start pitching ideas to magazines, blogs or other places where your talent can shine. During my travels I'm always seeking out places where I can tell those stories apart from my usual freelancing work.

Every Day is Different

Freelancing allows me to work around the typical 9-5 life. I wake up early to meet deadlines and go to bed late after occasional Skype calls with clients. I write in my pajamas, I write in bus stations and I write long after everyone else has gone to bed. I can make my own schedule and adjust my work around my travels, but I have to manage my time extremely well and stay on top of deadlines so I don't deliver rushed, sub-par work. I work a lot of irregular hours, but I also get to work from anywhere -- as long as there's a good Wi-Fi connection.

Freelancing isn't for everyone; it involves a lot of self-motivation and perseverance in the face of rejection. Not everyone will like what you write, and clients can be mean. All of my work is done online, which is a blessing and a curse because clients don't always remember there's a real person on the other end of their email.

Right now, freelancing is as close to a career as I have. I write to fund my travels, and while I don't make enough money to pay back my student loans, I don't have to worry about rent or a car payment. As I gain more experience and continue working with great clients, I hope to make freelancing a more profitable career option for myself. The road to a freelancing career is long, but every step along the way is a great learning experience.

Photo by eefeewahfah via cc