On Becoming A Full Time Freelancer
The last few months, actually, this whole summer, has been extremely overwhelming and emotional, but for a really positive reason. I’ve made a dream come true that I wasn’t sure ever would — especially in just a little over a year’s time.
Going back to the beginning — I realized about a year and a half ago that the regular 8-5 grind just wasn’t for me. I had no idea how I was going to make a change until I landed my first freelance writing gig for Brit + Co. It made me realize that if I could grow my side business of writing about lifestyle topics like relationships, careers, food, etc. and utilize my marketing skills, maybe, one day, I’d be able to earn a living without a traditional office job.
Fast forward to today and here I am, officially making a living as a freelancer.
So, what does that mean exactly? I’ve gotten that question a lot from my friends and family — even from people who I thought would have an understanding. It's ok, though, because I know I've chosen a "non-traditional" path, so I'm happy to explain.
You can be a freelancer in almost any industry, from my perspective. You basically just have to build a positive reputation so companies and individuals will trust you to work for them independently. This way you can charge your own rate and not have to worry about splitting it with the company who employees you, and — my favorite part — you make your own schedule.
Brit + Co served as an incredible springboard for me to launch into the writing and creative freelance world because it’s a very credible, respected website that a lot of people in the lifestyle space are familiar with. When I started reaching out to people/websites to see if they were looking for any kind of content development or social media support, I was able to reference my work for Brit + Co, which was always positively received.
A lot of becoming a freelancer is also building a network. Once I landed one job, that person likely new someone else who they would recommend me to. All the sudden after a while, I realized I had several opportunities popping up.
My first big break came when I connected with Chelsea from Becker Editorial. I stumbled across the BE website one day because I realized Chelsea was contributing posts to one of my favorite blogs. In a nut shell, BE provides creative and editorial support to bloggers who have reached a point where they’ve gotten too big to manage all their day-to-day tasks. It sounded like a DREAM — working on lifestyle blogs I loved and getting paid to do it. (If you're wondering how bloggers make money to hire people like me, click here.)
I emailed the address listed on the BE website and within two weeks I was brought on as a freelancer, helping to provide support to some of my favorite bloggers and websites — meaning I write, help to develop content and ideas, manage social media, etc. I couldn’t believe that all of this happened just by sending an email. It really opened my mind and showed me that reaching out to people I respect and would love to work with is not a crazy thing to do.
My second big break came when Taylor Wolfe from The Daily Tay put out word on her Instagram story that she was looking for some social media help. Once again, I just sent an email and crossed my fingers. A few emails and a phone call later and she hired me to work on social media for her t-shirt brand. She also happens to be something of an Instagram celeb and has helped to bring attention to my blog, which I'm incredibly grateful for. Check out her Instagram here — it's a chronicle of her and her dog Harlow's life in Chicago (she's also a comedian, so that keeps things interesting as well). You rock, Taylor!
Now all that’s left to do is figure out how to operate on a daily basis as a freelancer. I have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m hopeful I’ll figure it out. :) Stay tuned.
Photography by Brooke Confer