In 2012, I made plans for my freelance writing career to grow to full-time over a three-year period. The plan included keeping my full-time “day job” so I wouldn’t have to worry about paying the mortgage. This also afforded me the ability to refuse grasping at the low-paying and “low-hanging fruit.”
After deciding on my pricing, I vowed not to take work that paid below my established rates. Three things happened simultaneously:
1. I lost a hefty project with a non-profit that didn’t accept my rates.
2. An international company did accept my rates and, after more than two years, continues to engage my services.
3. I celebrated the fact that my time and talent have value and I shouldn’t write for pennies.
I approached the international company through a friend, and jumped right into writing about an industry outside of my realm of expertise. Although I had no prior knowledge of the industry, I did have years of marketing writing experience, which is exactly what they needed.
In the first year of freelancing for this client (and a few smaller companies), I grossed the amount of my full-time salary (minus benefits) in about a quarter of the time. Of course, the nature of freelancing is such that the next year looked different in the amount of work and income. Nevertheless, this first client has continued to supply me with a steady stream of projects.
Consider the advantages of freelancing for a large company:
+ First, these companies have large budgets, and are willing to pay for quality work. Don’t assume big company + big budget = no need for freelancers. Similar to small companies, staff members are stretched, and departments will often outsource.
+ Second, after establishing yourself, your contacts may refer you to other divisions and branches that have similar needs for freelancers.
+ Another advantage includes the variety of projects. I started writing and editing copy for sales brochures, which led to website projects and newsletter features.
+ Finally, you’ll be stretched in your knowledge, research capabilities, writing skills and remote communication abilities. Best of all, you’ll be inspired and empowered to acquire similar clients who will help you grow your freelance writing business faster.
Amanda Cleary Eastep is a marketing writer and public relations professional with more than 25 years of experience. Motivated by the desire for flexibility and a home office with a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, she has been building her freelance business in the wee hours of the morning, late at night, and on weekends. She blogs about small business marketing at her site, Word Ninja. Connect with her on Twitter @AmandaICleary.