“Take the leap – become a freelancer!”
That’s what other copywriters were telling me. So, without knowing how I’d pay the mortgage or afford to feed and clothe myself, I did just that.
The first three months as a freelancer
I was lucky when I leapt. I snagged a tremendous job working for iFi audio rewriting 30+ product descriptions as well as refreshing most of the copy on their website – and that’s before I started writing their blog posts, press releases and media packs.
They put me on a retainer, which meant a fixed sum every month. Many freelancers know they’re starting the first of every month from £0.00, I’m lucky enough to have a nice little amount guaranteed (which made the leap much easier, I can tell you).
My first two weeks were hectic, writing:
- Product Descriptions for iFi audio
- A Blog for a Wedding supplier
- Five web pages for an events company, and
- Proofreading a short story for an author
These, on top of attending two networking events, meant I barely stopped.
This is what freelancing was all about – and starting at 7:30 am and finishing at 4 pm, well, those hours suited me fine.
- Happy, and
Two things that every freelancer wants and I planned to take two thirty-minute walks per day to keep me from piling on the pounds with no commute anymore (I used to walk to and from work).
But did it stay that way?
The dreaded dry spell
Those first two weeks were marvellous – then it changed (apart from the walks, I do them religiously).
The World Cup started.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking: “You lazy bastard, the footy started and you did bugger all.”
And I wouldn’t blame you for that initial reaction, but the truth is, work dried up quicker than Harry Kane’s goals after playing rubbish teams like Tunisia and Panama.
For three of the four weeks during the World Cup, I barely had a bean to do all day. Sure, I had bits and bobs for clients, but nothing substantial and certainly nothing that filled an entire week.
So, what did I do?
I threw myself into networking.
- Attended more events than I had done previously
- Signed up for a Wedding Networking group, and
- Did everything I could to be seen and heard – especially on LinkedIn and Twitter.
I used the time I had to the max.
I could have worked a two day week and watched TV all day the rest, but I didn’t.
I used it to work on my business.
No matter how experienced you are, every freelancer will go through a dry spell. And by putting the time into working on your business, in time, work will come.
Oh, and I did watch a bit of the footy – well, you can’t blame me.
Reaping the rewards
Those three weeks were I had piss-all to do were the most important during my first three months.
Yep, you read that right.
I knew I’d lose two and a half weeks work due to my wedding and honeymoon in mid-August, so it was essential to make connections and hope they’d pay off.
And they have.
Fellow copywriters have asked me to write articles to help them out when they’ve had too much on.
Cold emails I fired off in that time have reaped some rewards, as has the networking.
I’ve since been accepted into the Wedding Industry Network and have attended several wedding industry events, offering copywriting services and wedding speech writing.
By getting my name out there, people I spoke to two months ago are now coming to me asking about writing for them.
The next three months
In my short time as a full-time freelancer, I’ve learned a lot.
Some weeks you’ll wonder why you’re doing it, the next you’ll have five emails land in your inbox requesting a quote, and while most of these come to nothing, some will.
By talking to copywriters, I’ve built a rapport with them. They’ve become friends and given me work to ease their load. And when that happens to me, I know I can return the favour.
The next three months are crucial because I know Christmas and January are quiet times – for any business.
September is looking healthy. I have a few jobs on the go with the possibility of three more coming in.
I’ve set myself a monetary target to reach every month, and if I can’t make the money I need, I won’t panic.
Because I’m happy to take a short-term job.
Two days in an office, or stacking shelves, I don’t mind. If it means paying the bills when it’s quiet, I’ll take a small job, but I’ll also make sure my networking doesn’t fall away.
Having a support system has been vital, so if you’re new to freelancing, or you’re considering leaping, make sure you’re networking before you do.
Your drive and determination are pivotal to your success – but so is a good support network, because you never know when you can help one another
Until next time,