How to Make the Most of Your Freelance Break by Greg Thorpe

How to Make the Most of Your Freelance Break by Greg Thorpe
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At the end of 2013, I quit my publishing job after 12 to pursue the life of a freelancer. I announced my plans across social media and, although it wasn’t intended as a pitch, I quietly hoped the announcement would lead to some interesting (paid) work. Soon after, a local independent arts venue contacted me to say they were fans of my blog, they had recently been awarded a grant to produce some writing, and would I be interested in working with them? I knew this was the kind of break I needed. I said yes right away, and arranged a meeting.

To make the most of this opportunity, I had two questions in mind:

1. How can I impress them?
2. How can I use the position as good career leverage?

The first was simple. I arrived brimming with enthusiasm and I wrote well. The second needed planning. I took to the Internet to find out which publications had previously written about the venue, and found one excellent cultural tourism website that seemed to publish one or two articles a year about it. I pitched to this website the idea of a monthly column written by the venue’s ÎWriter in residence,’ i.e. me. They loved the idea, and one writing job became two…

At my first meeting with the website editor, she casually mentioned that they were also producing a website to re-launch our city library after a program of extensive refurbishments. On the spot, I pitched for some copywriting work and I began writing for the new library website the very next day. Two jobs had now become three…

I publicized my first website columns as widely as possible and the editor soon informed me that they were the most read pieces on the site. This gave me the confidence to pitch new ideas, one of which they accepted as an ongoing series, for which I’m about to submit my second piece. Thus, three assignments turned into four…

At the end of this remarkable learning curve, I have not only secured four sets of income but, just as importantly, I have formed ongoing professional relationships, and a great start to my freelance portfolio. My advice is to seek out the connections that already exist within your chosen field, and draw on them for your own writing work. Thereafter, write well, authoritatively, and with enthusiasm.

Greg Thorpe has worked in advertising and academic publishing, and now writes, edits and DJs for a living. He has a blog: http://manhattanchester.blogspot.co.uk, and has been a freelancer for seven months. He lives in Manchester, UK.