Freelance Writing

Is it challenging to be a work-at-home freelance writer?

I will start working when my coffee does

When I first started freelancing, I was living in Portugal and split my time between the beach, the bar and my desk. It was a pretty idyllic set up, so I struggled to understand why more people didn’t do this.

Fast forward a few years, and I slowly started to see why living in Portugal and making a living as a freelance writer when you’re 22 isn’t quite the same experience that everyone else has.

The issue I see is that so many Instagram and Twitter accounts highlight the many benefits of being a freelance writer without ever truly being honest about the reality.

So, is it challenging to be a work-from-home freelance writer?

Absolutely, but only in the sense that anything worth doing is also challenging.

It’s not for everyone. I don’t know which Myers-Briggs type you need to be, but you certainly need to have a few key qualities. So, in favour of balance, here are some of the hardest aspects of being a work-at-home freelance writer.

You have to find your own source of motivation

When you set your own schedule, it’s very easy to keep pushing things to the next day, and then the next day and suddenly, you’re working at the weekend to catch up. When you work as a freelance writer, you have to find your own source of motivation and you need to be incredibly disciplined. Remember, you’re running your own business. There is no one else to take the fall for your mistakes or later delivery.

Feedback is rare

One of the things I really miss about working in an office is getting the chance to sit down with my supervisor and talk about where I am and where I need to be. Feedback of this nature is rare when you’re a freelancer. However, if you are working for companies long-term, they might be more willing to give you feedback on your work.

I have a few clients who are more than happy to schedule a catch up call every few months so I can make sure I’m on track. It’s also a great opportunity to find out what skills they are missing and see if I can up-sell my services.

You’re responsible for your own career progression

Similar to the point above, it’s very easy to get stuck in your ways once you have a steady flow of work. Learning to push yourself to accept more challenging roles or to learn new skills is difficult. When you are a full time freelance writer, it can feel like you have to account for every single second of every single day. This can make it difficult to set aside time for your personal development.

I try to contain my work to four days a week and then allow myself the flexibility to work on other projects on the other day. This might not work for everyone, but I would recommend giving it a go.

If you dream of creativity, it can be stifling

I want to write a book one day. But the last thing I want to do at the end of a full day of copywriting is look at the screen and type more words. This is the case for all writing roles, whether you are a freelance work at home writer, or if you work in an office. However, I think it gets a little more intense when you work from home. This is simply because you don’t get a change of scenery, so it can make switching between work and personal projects far more difficult.

Have I missed any other pitfalls of freelancing? Let me know in the comments! And if you have any top tips for staying focussed while working from home, feel free to share them below!

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