Please share a little about your career as a freelancer, in particular your successes and why you think it’s the right field for you (thus setting up the awesome benefits of freelancing).
I’ve been freelance writing for about 2-3 years now. I started mainly writing for contests and for my blog, but I eventually expanded into online publications and print magazines. I have also aided students write papers and done some social media work. My first job was honestly a disaster and really made me reconsider if I was fit to work in this business. But the next two jobs I received after that were offered to me without them even seeing my resume,which showed me that maybe I was actually pretty good at this! Ha.
But I honestly believe that freelance writing is the career for me because it’s my calling; I seriously believe writing is my God-given talent and I love it so much! When you get to the point where you would be okay doing something without money,you know it’s love!
What made you decide to freelance right out of college?
Well, I’ve actually been freelancing since high school, but I didn’t really seriously start freelancing until my sophomore year of college. I graduated this past May with an Associate’s degree and two freelance writing jobs, so I have chosen to take a break from obtaining my Bachelor’s right now to focus on my career. I chose to do this because I honestly and truly believe that writing is my calling, and I knew that if I were to continue working and go on to school one of the two would suffer. So I chose to take a leap of faith and see how I could do freelancing with an Associate’s!
What was the hardest part of making that decision (friends and family pressure, fear, situational obstacles, finding a skill you could freelance with)?
I have to say the hardest things for me where peer pressure and self-doubt. I live in Mississippi, which isn’t exactly the first place you’d think of when considering where a freelance writer would live. Not to mention that freelance writing is a job that your average person isn’t familiar with, so when I first started coming out as an actual freelancer, people didn’t know what it was, therefore assumed that it either wasn’t a big deal, wasn’t real, or wasn’t a job where I could make actual money. So that, mixed with my own initial insecurities as a writer(I think most writers struggle with this from time to time, no matter how experienced they may be) made the decision a hard one to make. So I just finally left it in God’s hands and allowed Him to guide me. But my family and friends were extremely supportive throughout the entire process.
What considerations did you give to the financial side of things as you decided to freelance as the sole income provider for the family of you?
Since I decided to take a break from college and pursue my dream, money was something that I really thought about. For one thing, I was going to miss those amazing refund checks from college(LOL), but I knew I couldn’t just go back home and not do anything – I’m only 20 so I still live with my parents, but still – I don’t want to be a bum! So I made a deal with myself: the summer before school is supposed to start back for everyone, I’ll work my two steady freelance gigs and really try to get things going. I will keep track of what I make, and if it doesn’t seem to be doing anything, I will get a part time job in the fall. I told my parents my plan so that there would be other people to hold me accountable.
How did you manage the health care and benefits side of it?
I’m still on my parent’s insurance, so I don’t really have that issue right now. I have read that certain freelance unions offer healthcare for certain areas, but that’s something I’ll figure out when the time comes for me to fully be on my own.
What do you think it takes to be a good freelancer right out of college or at all?
Let me first clear up one thing: being a good freelancer has nothing to do with a degree. I’ve read about great freelance writers who barely made it out of high school, let alone college. Being a good freelancer takes an open mind, confidence, and humility. An open mind will help you to embrace new and different experiences, which can teach you just as good as any college course. Confidence is the ability to pump yourself up, especially when you get rejected(and it will happen!).
What advice would you give to someone interested in doing so but very intimidated by the idea of not getting a full time job?
If someone was nervous about putting themselves out there, I would tell them to take baby steps to make the process easier. Instead of keeping their full time job, maybe they can find something part time so they can start freelancing and have some security starting off. That way if they find that freelancing isn’t for them,they’ll have something to fall back on. But I would also tell them not to worry and just step out on faith – you never know what could happen!