Okay, so…first, before I start on a tangent, I’d like to say one thing. Money isn’t the only measure of success. Of course, money is a necessity if you don’t want to be homeless and if you like fancy things like indoor plumbing (water) and electricity. I dunno about y’all, but I also like to eat. So, when I talk about success, I certainly mean making enough money to cover the bills. Past that? Well, define success on your own terms.
Use the Resources at Your Disposal
So, how do I know that most aspiring and new freelance writers aren’t using the free resources that are abundantly present? Well, it’s fairly obvious for two reasons. First, I’m asked the same questions day in and day out. To some degree, I understand (in the beginning) how hard it can be to look something up on the Internet and then wonder if the site is legitimate. Yet, the questions I get aren’t things like “Is X site legitimate? Have you ever heard of X site?” It’s “Where can I go and find work?” You’ve got the entire Internet at your disposal. Frankly, if you’re going to be successful at this gig, you must know hot to do your research and evaluate sources.
Second, my own stats reflect it. My Facebook fan page has almost 800 fans as of January 2018. My personal Facebook page has over 730 (if you find me, don’t send me a request unless we have a mutual friend or I can tell that you’re not a trouble maker of some sort). My Twitter account has over 650 follows. I also have several Tumblrs (I don’t always post jobs there because Buffer doesn’t feed to it directly), LinkedIn, G+, this blog…the podcast…you get the picture.
When it comes to Facebook (both the fan page and my personal page), Twitter, G+, and LinkedIn, I post a lot of freelance / remote writing and editing jobs each week. I send out articles written by other professional bloggers and writers that discuss how they got started. I use Buffer to send all of that out. Buffer gives me the ability to see how many clicks a particular link gets. Guess what? Most of the jobs, despite having hundreds of followers that want to be freelance writers, do not get a single click. Those articles on getting started? Same.
With an abundance of free resource available to you, why wouldn’t you take advantage of them?
Set a Schedule
Yes, really. I know that a lot of people who want to freelance (or who are building a freelance business) are parents or they have some sort of family obligation that they must be able to handle. So, all in all, I don’t care if someone sets their schedule for mornings, afternoons, evenings, night, or whatever. A schedule is important for you as a professional and for your clients (or future clients). Here’s why.
Setting a schedule benefits you in many ways. Two of the most important ways:
- It makes you feel more professional. When you feel professional, you’re apt to take your business and business building seriously.
- It protects your time. This is important because if you fall into the “I can do it later” trap, and sometimes it will be people you love who say that to you, you could miss deadlines and ruin your business. If you had a traditional job, would you be able to take off, keep someone else’s kid, go run their errands, etc? No. You have a job and you’re expected to do it during a certain time. When you work from home and if you decide to do all of those extra things when you should be working, by the end of the day you are fucking wiped out. Even if you do the work, you may not be putting your best into it.
Oh, and setting a schedule makes it easier for you to draw the line between work and home life when you work from home.
It benefits your clients because they need to know when you’re available. If you opt or must work nights, you should still be available in some way during your client’s business hours just in case they have questions.
Get Your Shit Together – Your Clients Shouldn’t Suffer Because of Your Life
A lot of us work from home, as I said, because we have children. However, this is something that we choose to make work. Freelancing, especially if you have a family, is definitely a lifestyle. If little Johnny was up all night with the sinus plague, I feel your pain…but your clients shouldn’t suffer from it. In fact, they shouldn’t feel the pinch of it at all.
One of the nice things about freelancing is that you really can do it on your own time. So, if you need to take a day off to take care of something, it’s cool. Yet, that shouldn’t bump into a deadline. You know when your deadlines are. Work ahead and make sure you take care of them. Stay in contact, but don’t mistake professional friendliness for anything other than that. You may have to work when you’re sick. That’s life.
If your clients feel inconvenienced because of your life, they will go somewhere else. And they won’t use you again.