How I Became a Full-time Freelance Writer

I generally don’t talk about myself as I accept that people don’t come here for my personality. Instead, people like you come for the information I provide that I hope helps you in your life.

From reading other blogs, it looks like many love to hear how writers and freelancers went full-time. So here’s the full story.

Starting with web design

After kid No. 2 arrived, I started New York University’s online program in Internet Technology while on maternity leave. Initially, I planned to go into web design. After a few Web design projects, I discovered web design was more frustrating than enjoyable.

Around this time, an email newsletter came in. It had a contest where readers could submit an article related to web design. The winners received high-quality software like Photoshop, so I gave it a shot. Readers loved the article, so I wrote a few more.

The series built my writing portfolio and helped me land my first paid professional writing gig with a web design magazine. Slowly, I picked up more paid writing assignments discovering I loved working as a writer.

However, I was apprehensive about pursuing a career as a writer. Many people talk about how they wanted to be a writer. I honestly didn’t think I offered anything special to stand out. It also didn’t help that many talented bloggers and web site writers hit the writing circuit. Regardless, I kept my eyes open for gigs and considered writing a sideline since I still had my corporate job.

Furthermore, I never dreamed of having my own business. I feared the sales aspect — getting more clients — because I had to use a relay service to make the calls. As if cold calling wasn’t hard enough. It was worse with a relay. Then there was finances, bookkeeping, the usual business stuff.

Returning to the Dilbertesque world

I returned to work a couple of weeks early from maternity leave on a part-time basis in hopes to convince management that I could do the job part-time. Management wasn’t receptive to the idea.

I wrote a memo with various options supported by data. Eventually, the company let me work part-time because there was another part-time employee who joined the team. However, we didn’t job share. Together, we made up one full-time employee.

Eventually, she went with the wireless part of the business and I stayed with long-distance retaining my part-time status. This let me build the writing business

Dot com blah

I lost several clients when dot com went kaput. This was a turning point. I could either scramble to get more clients or resign myself to a corporate career.

I wrote an email. A pit in my stomach formed. It took time to work up the nerve to hit send. The email went out to people in my network including those I had interviewed for articles. I landed two new clients, one of which I met in person for the first time after working with him for six years.

I worked part-time until March 2005 when my company required me to return full-time. By then, I had plenty of business writing experience and a healthy portfolio.

The benefits… the benefits…

I couldn’t quit my job yet because my husband didn’t have health benefits. We had three kids, so we needed mine.

By June 2005, my husband landed a job with benefits. A month later, I retired from corporate America for full-time freelancing.

6 thoughts on “How I Became a Full-time Freelance Writer”

  1. Indeed, Bob! Hubby is corporate — so can’t complain… that’s where the benefits usually are… and the federal government (which I worked in my first job out of college).

  2. I was just going to ask you how you got started and came across this post! Are you reading my mind? 🙂 So how do you manage your time with three kids? There are some days that I can’t see straight!


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