An accurate assessment by writer Alexandra Wong writing for The Star Online: Not really a love letter, though — more like a listing of the various myths about the freelance life. Myths such as not having a boss (no, now you have lotsa bosses), no more politics (think again), and that freelancing is a solitary profession:
The biggest myth about being a freelance writer is that it’s a solitary, lonely position. Far from it. On a direct level, your very survival depends on whether your editor trusts or likes you enough to assign you that plum assignment, and once you’ve landed it, whether you have enough contacts to track down that lead.
Writer Cassandra Leveille writes a short piece called 3 Pro Tips For Millennial Freelance Writers in which she talks about how millenials often choose to freelance rather than take a traditional job. She offers three specific pieces of advice: learn how to negotiate payments and contracts, save money so you have something to fall back on, and be political:
Our generation has to be political by necessity of the cultural moment we find ourselves in, one defined by transition. Moving forward, freelancers must advocate for a less convoluted tax code so they can see more of their income, and for benefits to carry over outside the confines of the traditional work place, which no longer offer them. Because traditional models don’t take freelancers into account, they often risk their financial security.
Good advice for any freelancer of any age.
One of the most difficult things about being a freelancer is figuring out how much to charge for your work. Charge too little, and you’re cheating yourself, and possibly undervaluing yourself to your client. Charge too much, and you may lose that important assignment.
This situation is exacerbated by the problem that some freelancers may be good at what they do, but are not very good at marketing themselves — and what you charge isn’t only part of your income, but part of how you’re presenting yourself.
Amber Leigh Turner has written a nice column on “How to price your services as a freelancer” for TNW. She offers several tips for figuring out what to charge, including the always frustrating-but-true: Every single freelancer’s situation is different:
For example, a freelancer living in New York City who is married with three kids and the only breadwinner in their household has different priorities and responsibilities to someone who is single, with no kids, and who lives in a very rural part of Europe. There are just too many factors differing from one freelancer to the next that it is impossible to generalize and make sweeping statements that group thousands of freelancers together when it comes to pricing.
She also offers links to some interesting resources, such as the FreelanceSwitch Hourly Rate Calculator, which is something I could have really used when I was freelancing.
Mike Wood writes some excellent advice for beginners in his article on the site B2C (Business2Community) called Landing Your First Freelance Writing Job In A Cluttered Freelance Market. He talks about the necessity of charging less for your work than is practical — but just in order to get started:
One of the main rules that you must live by is to never discount your worth (charge what you are worth as people will pay for it if you are actually that good); however, you must break this rule in the beginning in order to get your career going.
It is a good way to start. When I was first starting as a freelancer, I was lucky in that I had a backlog of articles that I had written for that travel magazine that I had worked for when I first graduated college. However, I also wrote local theater reviews for a neighborhood newspaper for about $5/shot plus free tickets to the productions, just so I could plump up my scrapbook (and in those days, it was literally a scrapbook). Those, and a few additional assignments, enabled me to ask for reasonable rates from later publications.