Making a solid income as a freelance writer is more than possible. I must admit, when I first started out I was scared that reaching a reasonable income level would never happen. But within a few months things started to break my way, and the rest is history. This is not to say that making a living as a freelance writer is easy, but it is a career path that you can follow if you put your mind to it.
Here are three keys that are essential if you are interested in working as a freelance writer, and of course, making enough money to support yourself.
1. During the early stages of your career do not be afraid to take lower paying jobs. This does two things for you. First off, low paying jobs will give you confidence in your writing skills. Even though you are not getting paid a lot, you are getting to practice your craft. Additionally, these lower paying jobs can add up over the course of a month. If you do not have any other jobs on the table, why would you pass these up? Any work is better than no work.
2. If possible, make yourself available to write on a variety of different topics; at least when you are getting started. This will give you the ability to service a wide range of clients, and also get a better feel for what topics you like and donâ€™t like.
3. It is essential to turn one project into another. In other words, you need to garner repeat business. This is the lifeblood of a freelance writer. Once you find several clients who hire you time after time, you will notice that your freelance writing income is building.
These three tips should help you when chasing your dream of making a solid freelance writing income.
Freelance writers have the ability to control their own income in more ways than one. First off, the time that you put in will be directly related to how much money you earn. I have found this out time and time again. In addition to the actual money you make, you may also have the ability to control when you receive it from clients. The question is: should you cash in now or hold off until the new month begins?
There are two ways of looking at this scenario. There is a side of me that likes to hold money over from one month to the next so that I can get off to a â€œgood start.â€ For example, I have three invoices from the month of September that total more than $1,500. Even though I am confident that I could send them and get the money within a day or so, I have decided to hold off until after the first of the month. This way I can add the money to my October total, which will make things much less stressful during the early days of the month.
The downside of holding off on sending invoices is that clients can and will disappear. One situation in particular stands out in my mind. I was working with a client who I thought I could trust. For this reason, I decided to push their $750 invoice from one month to the next. The result was the client disappearing for weeks, and upon coming back into the picture, paying me in small chunks of the entire voice. Of course, this still may have happened if I would have sent the invoice right away, but something is telling me that as I was waiting they spent my money on other things.
The only time I will hold money over is when I know the client is good for it. In other words, never wait if you are working with a client for the first time. You might as well invoice them right away in order to give yourself the best chance for payment. Not to mention the fact that they will probably appreciate this as well.
What income level do I have to reach in order to start thinking about holding money over? For me, this usually comes around the $4,500 to $5,000 mark. With my current workload this is the minimum amount of money that I want to earn each month. So if I hit this mark and there are only a few days left in the month, I will usually wait until the next month to send invoices. But if I reach this income plateau earlier, say the middle of the month, I obviously push on.
This is one aspect of a freelance writing business that has nothing to do with producing content. But as you can imagine, it is very important. After all, you are working to collect money!
Being a self-employed freelance writer means that I am responsible for every aspect of my taxes. There is no company to tax my paycheck each month, so in turn I have to pay my own quarterly taxes. At the end of the year I sit down with my tax professional in order to complete my final return, and of course, find out if I am going to owe more money or get a rebate! As you can imagine, I do whatever I can (within the law) to make sure that I get money back from the IRS.
There are many common tax deductions that freelance writers forget about time after time. This is why I have a professional help me out with my final return every year. After all, I do not want to leave any money on the table.
Here are a few of the most commonly overlooked tax deductions for freelance writers.
1. Hosting fees and domain registry fees. If you are a freelance writer you probably have your own website. You might as well deduct the cost of hosting it, and keeping your domain name up to date.
2. Even though not as common in todayâ€™s day and age, postage fees are tax deductible. As you can imagine, before email was all the rage this was a huge deduction for many. But even now, you may buy a roll of stamps every month or so.
3. All office supplies are tax deductible. This includes everything from that new business computer to paper clips to post-it notes. Do not forget any of these items when tax season rolls around.
The list of possible tax deductions for freelance writers is quite large. This is why it is a good idea to have a professional assist you. And remember, you need to keep receipts for all these deductions. This way, if you are audited by the IRS you will be covered.Â