One of the most frustrating aspects of working for yourself is getting other people to take you seriously as a professional. This is doubly true if you are a freelance writer. I believe that the reason is that many people do not think that it is possible to make money working on the Internet or as a writer. They think that writing is not a real job.
I originally graduated from college with a degree in English and a minor in accounting. My goal was to use these skills for business, yet at the time almost everyone that I talked to thought that all English majors became teachers. Teaching was definitely not in the cards for me; I had enough trouble dealing with my own children.
I didn’t start writing on the Internet until 2008, in order to earn extra money to support my brick and mortar art gallery. I started out writing on article sites that earned money from ads and commission sales, and was surprised how quickly I was able to earn a small income. Since then I have become proficient at writing online, SEO and other techniques that I learned through experience. In the last two years, I have spent more of my time as a freelance writer for hire.
I find it a bit ironic that I am now using my English degree in my career.
The honest truth is that earning money as a freelance writer is not only possible, it is profitable. Like many jobs, you have to earn your reputation and expertise through long hours of low-level jobs, before earning a better wage. Working as a freelancer means that you have to sell your service as well as produce it, but it does give you flexibility and independence.
Because the Internet is accessible almost anywhere through mobile technology or Wi-Fi, a freelance writer has the ability to work from home, on vacation or while waiting for their spouse at the doctor’s office. This means that it is the perfect job for a stay-at-home parent, someone who is disabled, a college student or anyone else that wants a flexible schedule.
Even close family members do not take my work seriously sometimes. To combat that problem, I have a few techniques.
- I email detractors links to articles that I have written that are published on the Internet.
- I send them copies of articles that sound professional or scholarly.
- I take them out to lunch to prove that I make money.
- I tell them interesting tidbits that I learn from my research.
- I tell them how much I made the day before.
- I ignore them.
Some people will never believe. While this can be disheartening, I have learned to let that roll off my shoulders. I have found that as a writer and an artist, since I work in a segment of society that is outside the normal 9-to-5 routine, my work is not considered a job by some. However, as more people work at home and on the Internet as mobile technology becomes increasingly sophisticated, eventually I will be considered a pioneer. This thought motivates me to continue to make strides in my “pretend” job as a freelance writer.
Paula A is a freelance writer who works with a cup of coffee at her side to keep herself fueled. When she is not writing, editing or drinking coffee, she is chauffeuring her family to activities, making jewelry, trying recipes or making a quick run for a hazelnut latte.