A Freelance Writing Guide for the Coronavirus Shutdown

Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

Friends. I started this blog in 2010 when I was brand new to the city. Back then, I was mainly an actor, which meant I was actually paying my bills by temping, babysitting, and catering/working auctions at events. Any breakdown in social structure–such as our current state with the coronavirus–tossed my budget out the window in just days.

When Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012, my now-husband and I were both living freelance paycheck-to-paycheck, but our recent move to Jersey City meant that our income essentially halted. The Path trains to NYC shut down for a month, and though private busses started up eventually, you typically had to wait in line for hours to get a seat. Our income was non-existent for about two weeks, which was more than enough to make us scared about groceries and rent. After the whole debacle, we both took full-time jobs and focused away from theatre for nearly five years (and never truly turned back, honestly).

For everyone suddenly separated from their only source of income, I hear you. Times like these are not only scary for next month’s rent, but can scare you out of the field for good. If there’s one piece of advice I learned from our experience, it is to never make life-altering decisions or declare massive changes when you’re in a panic. However, the massive change after Sandy did eventually help me find my current full-time freelance career in marketing writing.

If you are interested in learning a new work-from-home strategy while we all have time, read on!

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Tips for New Freelance Writers: Avoiding Shady Job Posts

Photo by Hannah Wei on Unsplash

Now in my third year of freelance writing, I occasionally catch myself turning down potential clients and invitations to interview for no discernible reason. I’ve been burned more than a handful of times–as many freelancers have–both before and after I’ve done the requested work, so I can be a little quick to judge.

On one hand, just because something sends up a red flag doesn’t mean the client will drag me through the mud if I give them a chance. On the other, finding new work is a large percentage of freelancing, so it’s important not to spread yourself thin if you know the client won’t be a good fit.

So how do you know a potential freelance client is worth pursuing? And once you get started, how do you welcome a potential client while clearly communicating your needs?

UpWork was (and still is) an excellent resource for my freelancing career. However, whenever I speak to new writers looking to break off into freelancing, I say, “There are a lot of garbage job posts out there. Same as any other site, you just have to sort through them to find the good ones.”

Though you may never know if you’re a perfect fit with a client until after an interview or initial assignment, you can pick up on a few clues before getting started. So if you’re just jumping in (or if you’re a freelance veteran and have some to add), take a look at these red-flag job posts I’ve learned to avoid.

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