Get Over the Hype! – Megan Shannon

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When I first entered the world of online freelance writing, I was a bit worried. Would I be able to do it? Would I make enough money? Well, luckily, I was able to answer both of those with a resounding yes! For the first five years of my freelancing career I did it part-time. This meant that the income was basically ‘extra cash’ because my full-time job paid the bills. We moved a few years ago and, unfortunately, the move put me in a bind. Needless to say, I was going to have to find a way to increase my income from freelancing, and turn it in to a full-time career. Since then I have obtained several new clients, and manage to pay my part of bills, groceries, and whatever things my seven-year-old needs; clothes, necessities, etc. My hubby pays a lot more than I do on bills but he makes a lot more, too. Having the responsibilities that I have now, I am still able to feel like I’m contributing to our family; even if it’s significantly less than what I contributed a few years prior.

So how did I do it? I got over all of the ‘hype’ I found everywhere with people claiming it’s so easy to make money writing from home. It’s easy once you get started, but getting started can be pretty tough. It’s a competitive market and, no matter what anyone tells you, it’s up to you to get the gig. You have to portray your professionalism through text instead of voice and demeanor like you would when interviewing for a position in person. It’s more difficult in this respect but it’s definitely doable if you have the drive, motivation and self-discipline that is required for anyone working from home.

Freelance writing consists of a lot of trial-and-error, which I think is a great way to learn what to do and what not to do. I was getting gigs from a content mill but I no longer write for them. Up until recently, all of my writing jobs weren’t credited to me because I was writing for other people. I finally started a blog to help get my name out there because, even though I could tell people I’d been writing for “x” number of years and have had “x” number of clients, if they don’t see the published work, they may choose not to hire me. So, blogging has helped me in that respect and I love doing it so it’s a win-win situation.

There is a lot more that I wish I could do, and many places I would love to write for but, because I had to make this my full-time income, I had to change up my ideal day of work. What this means is that one of my clients offered me a position doing administrative tasks, in addition to the occasional writing tasks, and I accepted. I had already been working for him for almost two years when he offered this new position to me. As of January of this year (2013), I am an official full-time contractor for his company. It feels good to know I have a reliable means of income, and a variety of work to do.

When my workload decreases, I like to look for new gigs, whether it’s a one-time gig or a permanent gig, I’m willing to apply if I qualify.

My advice to freelance writers looking to make a living with online writing is to stay positive. You’re going to go through tough times, rejections, mishaps and other roadblocks along the way. But, you can still succeed. You must accept that writing is your new “job”, or career, or however you need to look at it in order to be successful. Sometimes you might have to write out of your comfort zone. I’ve found that somewhat refreshing because I get to learn about something new and it opens the door for many more assignments in that niche, even if I’m not an expert in it. You can always improve yourself and your writing but stay focused on the goal at hand; to be a successful freelance writer. And, remember; never take on more than you can chew. Disappointing or letting down a client, even once puts you at risk of losing that client for good, which means losing potential future income.

Megan Shannon has been a freelancer for more than 7 years and is a wife and mother of one. Her favorite topics to write on include Business, Blogging, Parenting, and Health. She enjoys writing on topics out of her expertise because it gives her a chance to learn something new and showcase her talents to her clients. She has ghostwritten content for both online and offline publishing and currently works part-time as a freelancing book editor which has proven to help with editing her own work on a regular basis. She hopes to publish her very first book within the year and manages the blog www.writingforaprofit.info.