Work From Home: How to Be a Freelance Writer

Have you ever thought about working from home? Today, I am going to share with you how you can become a freelance writer as a part of my Work From Home Interview Series. This position seems to be more and more popular. I know a lot of freelance writers that work for several people to make extra money as a side job. You can read the answers below to find out more details!

This series was created to show you all of the possibilities of earning an income from home. It is fun to learn about all the different positions and how people got started. If you already work from home and your position has not yet been covered in the interviews please feel free to contact me to participate and share your knowledge with my readers {no MLM’s or direct sales please}.

Personally, I LOVE working from home and creating a blog was the best decision I ever made. If you are interested you can check out my guide on how to start a blog or watch the video tutorial

I will be adding more interviews over the next few weeks, so sign-up for my email newsletter so that you do not miss out on any of the work from home jobs that I post.

Other interviews:

Graphic Design

Daycare

Tutor

Office Manager

Do you want to work from home? Do you enjoy writing? Check out how you can earn an income working from home as a freelance writer.

Tiffany HathornThe questions below were answered by Tiffany from Single Mommy Warrior. She blogs about her life as a single WAHM. She also seeks to encourage other moms to live life by design rather than by default. If you have any questions or would just like to chat with Tiffany, you can reach out to her on her Facebook fan page. You can also find out more about her business by checking out her freelance website.

 

 

1. What is your work from home job and how did you get started?
I am a freelance writer and a blogger. I have been blogging for 5 years, but have only been earning an income from blogging for a little over a year. Blogging began purely as a hobby. I started my blog during the summer of 2010 when I was about 7 or 8 months pregnant. I saw it as a cool way to document those last few weeks of pregnancy as well as my life as a first-time mother. It was really just going to be an online diary of sorts. Nothing more.

My son was born in October of 2010 and for pretty much that entire first year I blogged very sporadically about my life as a SAHM. In May of 2011, I became a single mother and had to go back to working outside of the home. I HATED it. It literally made me depressed having to leave my son every day to work at a job that was not only low-paying, but that I did not enjoy. It had nothing to do with my degrees or my passion. It was just a way to pay the bills. If there is one thing that I cannot tolerate, it is being stuck in a situation that make me feel negatively. So I quit my job and went back to trying to make ends meet from home as a network marketer. But I kinda (really) suck at sales (though my team-building skills are pretty awesome), so I would get to the point where my dwindling bank account would freak me out. So I would get another job. But then I’d end up being miserable and eventually go back to trying to make it work in network marketing.

After about 6 months of this back-and-forth cycle, I decided that I wanted to be a full-time WAHM. I was just fed up with it. I was tired of doing work that I was not even remotely passionate about. I hated leaving my son every day to sit in an office being miserable. And I felt like it was pointless to do all of that and still struggle to pay the bills because I was being sorely underpaid. I felt like if I was going to struggle, I might as well struggle on my own terms. So I did it. I decided to make that leap to committing to working from home full-time. I quit my job and threw myself into network marketing.

I was doing ok, but I knew I needed something more. I just didn’t know what. It was around this time that I discovered a SAHM blog that talked a lot about working from home. I saw that she was looking for ‘mompreneurs’ to interview that wanted to share their story. I contacted her and asked if I could be one of her featured moms and she said yes. She basically sent me some questions to answer and I wrote my response. Of course, as a blogger, I treated it as a blog post. She enjoyed what I wrote for her so much that she actually offered me a position as a ghostwriter. Thus began my career as a freelance writer!

I worked for her as a ghostwriter for about 2.5 years. Over that time, I gained several other clients and expanded my services to include such things as ebooks, articles, rewrites, edits, sales pages, and more. I started monetizing my blog about a year ago as well as being a contributor for online and offline publications. I was also given the opportunity to serve as a brand ambassador for a state educational agency, which was a major step for me as far as realizing the types of opportunities that are out there. You just have to seek them out.

2. Why did you decide on this position?
When I was really young, I wanted to be a veterinarian. I soon realized that I was actually afraid of many animals up close, so that pretty much counted out a veterinary career. Ha! But then I had an epiphany. I have always been an avid reader. I clearly remember reading Harriet the Spy when I was 7 or 8 and determining that I wanted to be like her. Not necessarily a spy (though Tiffany the Spy does have a nice ring to it), but someone who could make keen observations and record them in a way that would ring true. I wanted to tell stories that mattered, even if no one else ever read them. From the time I read that book, I became a writer-in-training. I kept a diary that I wrote in daily. When I filled one, I begged my mom for another. It became my passion.

As I got older, I started writing fiction. Poems. Short stories. A series (which was like a teen version of The Ghost Whisperer, lol). In high school and college, my teachers always exclaimed over how much thought, effort, and creativity I poured into my writing- whether it was for English class or a research paper for Psychology.

I have since attained 3 degrees – none of them dealing with writing as a profession. However, writing has always been a passion. After telling my story about my determination to be able to stay home with my son, despite being a single mom, I was provided with an opportunity to do the one thing that I had always wanted to do AND get paid for it. Since I was looking for a way to be a fulltime WAHM, it felt like it was the answer to my prayer. I honestly didn’t even know what being a ghostwriter entailed until I got that offer, but I knew that it was an opportunity that I would be stupid to pass up. I suppose you can say that this career sort of fell into my lap. Sometimes the best opportunities come when you least expect them. You just have to be open to them.

3. Is this job full-time, or part time? How many hours a week would you say you spend working?
I don’t think that I can honestly say that this is a full-time job since I don’t do it 40 hours per week, however freelance writing is my primary source of income while blogging provides supplemental income. The amount of hours that I work varies depending on my client load. I am working on getting the word out about my writing services so that I have more steady work coming in from a few quality clients that I can work closely with.

4. How do you find time to work with your other everyday obligations?
Being 100% honest, time management is something that I continue to struggle with. As a single mom, writer, blogger, and homeschooler, I have a lot on my plate and don’t always do the best job of juggling everything in the most efficient manner. Time management is definitely a skill that I have to constantly work on improving. However, I try to focus on my top priorities and fit in everything else as best as I can. I make sure that I meet client deadlines and that I make my parenting duties a priority. I also try my best to make time for myself, even if it is just catching an episode of a favorite show on Netflix or reading a good book in the tub.

5. What is your favorite part about working from home?
My favorite part is definitely being here to spend quality time with my son. The flexibility is great. I also love that I get paid to do something that I genuinely enjoy. I am one of the few people who can say that they currently do what they wanted to do always said they wanted to.

6. Did you need any training or experience for this position? Any particular qualifications?
The only experience that I had when I was offered the ghostwriting position was that I was blogging and had submitted a sample of my writing style. I do have three degrees, but none of them are relevant to this field. Other than that, I just had a real passion for writing. I think that is a biggie. If you don’t really enjoy writing, you probably shouldn’t do this.

7. What affect does your income have on you and/or your family?
The biggest impact that my income has on my family is that it has enabled me to work from home for about 3.5 years. I can’t say that a make a ton of money. However, I am happy to have been able to stay home with my son for this long and have plans to expand my business to the point where I have complete time and financial freedom.

8. Would you recommend this position for someone who is looking for a work at home job?
If you enjoy writing and helping others to achieve their goals, I would definitely recommend freelance writing as a potential career option. I will say that one thing that might be difficult for some is that you have to have really strong marketing skills. Writers are definitely a commodity. Skilled writers are highly valued. However, you have to be able to put yourself out there and let people know that you are amongst the skilled. I’m not the best salesperson, but I do have a portfolio, samples, and testimonials that speak for themselves. It is also a great option for people who want to work from home, but don’t have a ton of money to invest in getting started. Having a website to promote your services is definitely beneficial, but as long as you have a computer with writing software and internet access, you have the basics.

9. Any advice for other people who are looking to get started with this position?
Here are a few things I wish I had known when I first started:

A. Improve your writing and marketing skills. Those two skills are critical because you have to be able to illustrate to potential clients why they should hire you. I constantly seek out opportunities to learn new things about writing and about operating a business. I read books, take courses, watch videos, listen to webinars, and attend conferences whenever possible. I also network a lot with other writers/bloggers and entrepreneurs who are a vast source of knowledge. If you focus on learning something new each week, you will find that you grow a lot. As you grow, so will your business.

B. Do your research.
This goes for any career you choose to seek out. You have to do your research. You have to know what others in your field are doing and how much they are charging. You have to know what your target audience (i.e. your potential clients/employers) is looking for and how you can reach out to let them know what you have to offer.

C. Treat finding opportunities for freelance work as a job in itself.
One thing that many people don’t realize is that when you are a freelancer, much of your time is going to be spent securing clients and work. Only a portion of your time will be spent actually doing work. At least until you have a steady stream of clients and a steady workload. In the beginning, you will spend a lot of your time pitching yourself, your ideas, and your services to your target audience. It may be frustrating in the beginning. You may feel as though you are just wasting your time. But that time will pass anyway, so you might as well use it to plant some seeds, right? If you keep planting those seeds with potential clients and watering them by following up, your work will pay off.

D. Have a contract for client.
Always have some type of written agreement when you do work. Even if it is just outlining everything in emails, you want to make sure you leave a “paper trail” that you can refer to should you ever come across a client that doesn’t want to pay, says that you did not do what you were supposed to do, or any other variety of situations that can occur when doing business as a freelancer. It is best to have an official contract. Think of it this way – when businesses hire employees or offer a service, they always have them sign a contract. Even stores have receipts that cover all of the bases by outlining their return policy and things like that. When you are a freelancer, you are a business owner. Don’t be afraid to act like one.

E. Don’t be afraid to say no.
I learned this lesson the hard way. When you are a freelancer and that is your only source of income, it can be hard to turn down opportunities. Even if you know that you won’t enjoy them. But I have found that when I take on writing gigs that I dislike, it makes me feel resentful and sucks all of the joy out of writing. It made me feel like I was once again trapped in a job that I couldn’t stand. That totally defeats the purpose of working for myself. So now, even though there are times when I accept jobs that are less than ideal, I will never again accept something that I know I will dislike.

F. Charge what your time and skills are worth.
This is honestly one that I still struggle with. But trust me when I say that working hard for less than you deserve (or need to survive) is no way to live. This goes for if you work for a company or if you work for yourself. No one wants to be underpaid. And when you are the one setting the rates, the only person you have to blame for being underpaid is yourself. As I mentioned before, be sure to do your research. One book that I highly recommend for freelance writers is The Writer’s Market. It is a great resource on a wide variety of topics in the industry, and also includes an extensive chart of freelance rates. You can refer to that to determine how much you should charge for your services.

Most of us charge what we need to survive. We also work hard to ensure that our clients are satisfied with the quality of our work. We treat it as a business and, as business owners, we seek to earn an income that enables us to do all of those things that are necessary in life (i.e. paying bills, buying food, providing for our families, etc.). Do not make the mistake of feeling like since you work from home, you are not doing legitimate work. Value the time you spend working from home just as much as you would if you were working in an office.

G. Work daily and have a schedule.
Again, this is something that I admittedly struggle with. However, I definitely feel that having some structure to your day and week makes things run so much more smoothly. If you get into the mindset that working from home means that you can just work whenever you feel like it, I can almost guarantee that you will find yourself not working as much as you should. When that happens, you will find that your business suffers. If you have to trick yourself into being more productive by setting an alarm in the morning and getting fully dressed, and pretending like you are actually leaving the house to go to work (even though you are really just going to your home office), then do that. Whatever it takes to get you into the mindset of “my business is my job”.

Thank You Tiffany!

Are you interested in bring a freelance writer? Check out these magazines that hire freelancers.

Check out other interviews in this series and keep checking back for more posts on different work from home jobs. Some of the positions you can expect to see include daycare, tutor, web designer, photographer, freelance writer, laundry care and more!

Do you want to work from home? Do you enjoy writing? Check out how you can earn an income working from home as a freelance writer.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Hello there!!!
    Thank you for sharing your story!!! I understand everything you said, I have a son too and I recently wanted to start to work again, and the pressure you have when you want to is too high sometimes so thank you for sharing your experience. For me was a little bit more different, but always with now my best friend the internet, I have a 2yearold son and He’s my everything, however I wanted to accomplish my own things. Before I gave birth I was in the process to create an online business about “how to make moccasins” but because of birth and all the details you already know I couldn’t make it happen too fast. Now I have already my site, meeting designers, and I feel I’m taking what I paused when I became a mom. It is hard, I’ve cried so many times, but has rewards too. I work at home doing all my moccasins stuff and I have the chance to know myself better and being a mom too. I completely identify with your post. So thank you for sharing!!!

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