As a journalist, let me tell you how often I’ve danced with the concept of a full-time freelancing career. Will full-time freelancing succeed or fail? Will I get enough job prospects? Can I manage my money and build a solid professional reputation? The decision whether to pursue that career is rearing its head once more because I’m at a career crossroad. I hear the tango music playing again; it’s time to dance.
The first time I got into freelancing was after college graduation. Fresh out of Fairleigh Dickinson University with a Communications degree in hand, I wasn’t able to enter the workforce immediately. Why? Because I had a one-year-old daughter to raise. So the next best thing was to freelance for publications.
Though I was impatient in getting a full-time job, I volunteered to write for one local newspaper and was paid a measly $40 per article by another one. Meanwhile, I pondered the possibilty of freelancing full time. One obstacle, though, was my lack of business savvy. I tried to get more organized as part of my new venture, but the thought of channeling an insane amount of energy into finding writing gigs that paid pittiance soured me. I would rather work for a fixed salary with benefits than drive to a school board meeting miles away from home for $40 … which went back into the gas tank anyway.
The lack of a steady income has take a toll on my morale as a freelancer. I was far from realiable to both newspapers I “worked” for. Eventually I quit both publications when I found a full-time job at a wireless company, dealing with business customers. It wasn’t what I wanted to do, but I got good pay and benefits.
Months later, I left the wireless company and started working part time as a newspaper editorial assistant. I pinned my hopes on expanding that to a full-time position with benefits through hard work and more responsibilities. Yet when the newspaper publisher wouldn’t grant my wish, I moved on to a sister publication, where I ‘m still employed as a beat reporter for two towns. Am I happy with my present job? Let’s just say there’s always room for improvement.
All throughout the time I worked for my current paper, I sought newspaper freelancing opportunites wihtin the pubilshing company that owns my paper. I freelance now. I write business profiles in a local town. I once did some editorial assisting for extra money. And I tried once again to extend my client base to a few more media outlets. But again, the discouragement stonewalled me.
So why now? Why am I finally going full speed ahead with establishing my freelancing business? For one thing, I understand that with drive and hard work, I can make much more money as a freelancer than as a local newspaper staff writer. For another thing, time flexibilty. As much as the people I’ve met over the years are basically pleasant, I’ve gotten bored. Night after night, week after week, year after year, it’s been one meeting after another. It’s been the same stories to write about year after year. Plus, I miss my down time with my family. And I know they miss me.
Speaking of flexibilty, I also know that freelancers have more choices in projects, from blogging to article writing to editing. Also, I’m pursuing ghostwriting opporutnities. And I can do them all from home.
I’ve been sending out resumes to potential clients, signed up wtih elance.com and guru.com (both great sights for freelancers!), and reasearching advice on new career choice. I’m looking into insurance options and want to file my business, “Teresa Edmond Writing Services” with the state.
As a freelancer, I’m going to take desitiny into my own hands. I’m not going to let anyone else chart my fate. I don’t want to send out resume after resume to employers only to get turned down. I want to set up my own business, work hard to build it up, and be in charge of my own employment.