Before the tips, a quip:
“When you reach an obstacle, turn it into an opportunity. You have the choice. You can overcome and be a winner, or you can allow it to overcome you and be a loser. The choice is yours and yours alone. Refuse to throw in the towel. Go that extra mile that failures refuse to travel. It is far better to be exhausted from success than to be rested from failure.” ~ Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics.
Without a doubt, you’ll reach obstacles in your freelance writing career… and they can make you stronger, smarter, and savvier! Or, they can send you running for cover. That’s okay – I’ve spent many an hour hiding under my blankets – but I’ve always come out with my dukes up. So far, anyway.
If you want to be a freelance writer, or if you’re a freelancer who’s struggling to make ends meet, read The Renegade Writer: A Totally Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing Success. It’s one of my favorite books about freelancing for magazines.
And, here are five tips for creating and maintaining a steady income as a writer…
Job Security for Freelance Writers – Tips for a Steady Income
1. Join an in-person business owners’ club. My business club meets every Tuesday morning for breakfast, business talk, and lead sharing. Not only is it motivational and informational, it’s a fantastic source of writing jobs. I’ve turned down work from several business owners and their friends, because my Quips and Tips blogs are my full-time job. If you’re a freelance writer who craves job security, don’t ignore the plentiful opportunities that come from in-person business contacts.
2. Learn how to make money writing online. I earn approximately $4,500 a month from my Quips and Tips blogs and ebooks — and I explain how in 75 Ways to Make (More) Money Blogging. I started making money online with Suite101, and quickly realized that it’s far more profitable to blog for myself! Granted, this tip for a steady income takes years to build…I started my first Quips and Tips blog in 2008. But, even if you only make $50 a month from your blogs at the beginning, remember that your income is exponential. Making money writing online is like compound interest, it grows over time.
3. Diversify your writing. Job security for successful freelance comes from a flock of clients. Preferably, well-paying ones. Even though Quips and Tips is my full-time job, I also write monthly articles for BC Women’s Hospital, teach a “how to make money blogging course” at Simon Fraser University, and accept speaking engagements. Before, when I was focused on my freelance magazine writing career, I wrote regularly for three national and a bunch of regional publications. The more irons you have in the fire, the more you’re guaranteed to have a steady income as a freelance writer. And don’t settle for irons that don’t pay well — keep moving up the pay scale.
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4. Work or volunteer somewhere that isn’t writing-related. Getting out of your writer’s head and office is a great way to generate new ideas, inspiration, blog posts, plot twists, character developments, and so on. Getting paid or volunteering to get out of the house will keep your creative juices flowing and your productivity high. And, part-time or seasonal paid work will keep your income steady — because droughts are inevitable to all freelancers.
5. Pitch column ideas to editors – and be open to different opportunities. I pitched my “Canadian odd jobs” column idea to several magazines (Reader’s Digest said yes, but I pulled the idea after too many miscommunications) and newspapers (The Globe and Mail was interested, but ended up pulling out). I thought a regular column would be a source of steady income, but it didn’t go in the direction I anticipated. Instead, it morphed into Quips and Tips From the Working World — which I’ve hired bloggers for! If you’re seeking job security, be open to different types of freelance writing opportunities.
If you have any thoughts on job security for freelance writers — or questions on my tips for a steady writing income — please comment below…