As some of you already know, I quit my job as a social media marketer to become a self-employed freelance writer. It wasn’t exactly out of the blue – after all, I’ve been writing since I was fifteen, and my goal has always been to make my own way in the world.
Because of that, I thought it’d be fun to take a look at my journey and share a few bits and pieces to help other aspiring freelancers along the way. Let’s go.
How my book blog helped my career
SocialBookshelves.com has always been an integral part of my career. I first started the site back in 2013 as a way to catalogue all of the books that I’d read, but I also thought it was a good idea to do it because I was working in social media marketing. I did a lot of blogging and blogger outreach for work, and so it seemed like launching a blog might be a good idea.
Running this blog has helped me in so many different ways. It’s debatable whether I’d even be here without it – after all, it introduced me to Jesse James Freeman, he introduced me to Booktrope and Booktrope published my first books. Despite now being defunct, that had a huge impact on my career as a writer while simultaneously giving me extra confidence.
As a marketer, I was always telling people to start blogging. The reason for it was simple – blogging positions you as a thought–leader, and people want to do business with thought-leaders. As a reasonably successful blogger, I receive all sorts of freebies and unique opportunities from authors, publishers and publicists, and I can occasionally earn a little extra money through sponsored posts.
The grass isn’t always greener
Of course, I’d be lying if I said that it’s all been plain sailing since I started being self-employed. There have been plenty of challenges along the way, starting with the work I had to put in while I was moonlighting to get the business off the ground while serving out my notice period at my old company. I was working 12-14 hour days for weeks on end..
In fact, time management has continued to be an issue. I’ve had to get serious about my planner and to book clients in, instead of just taking work on and dealing with it one deadline at a time. I’ve had to set myself dedicated working hours and to stick to them – no matter how tempted I might be to do a little extra work in the evening. I have to put my health first.
Then there’s the difficult task of managing clients‘ expectations. When I used to work for marketing agencies, I was always on the ‘creative‘ side – they had account handlers to talk to the clients. That’s why I applied what I learned from working with bloggers and social media influencers instead. The key is to give clients as much of your time as possible, but to simultaneously set expectations. There’s no point saying that you’re going to do something unless you can follow through with it.
But don’t let that put you off
Freelancing is awesome. I’m serious. It changed my life, and it enables me to finally feel comfortable with who I am. I don’t have to blindly follow orders anymore – I can go out and find my own way in life, work with the clients I want to work for and do the kind of work that I want to do.
Sure – you have to make sacrifices if you want to make it as a freelancer. But the good news is that for every sacrifice, you gain a dozen gifts that will make your life better. The life might be more unpredictable, but I thrive in unpredictability and love the environment. It forces you to constantly change and to focus on doing the best that you can – after all, you’re representing yourself, and you’ll pay for any mistakes with the damage to your reputation.
For me, I’ve never worried too much about money coming in. I take the attitude that I’ll make it work, and since going freelance full-time I’ve actually been making about 30% more than I need to live on, which means maybe I’ll be able to treat myself to some time off.
Freelancing isn’t for everyone. It takes a certain type of person to be able to make it work – and to make it work without losing their mind along the way. But if you’re entrepreneurial, passionate and able to make money from doing something that you love, why not go for it? I did – and I wouldn’t change it for the world.