It only took one day of summer for me to realize how much free time I’m going to have for the next two months, so I quickly decided to try freelancing.
My first thought was to try to get a part time job – just something to fill the time and make me some extra money – but unfortunately my schedule isn’t really ideal for that. I highly doubt anyone would hire me getting after finding out that I’d be gone for a month and probably wouldn’t continue once school starts), but freelancing is flexible enough that I think I could do it.
So, about two weeks ago I sent out a bunch of emails and waited for responses. Here’s what I learned about freelancing and myself.
- Remember those punches I mentioned in the last post? Well, they don’t stop coming. At this point in my life (and most writer’s lives, I would say), rejection is pretty commonplace. Maybe it’s better described as a pinch rather than a punch? Anyway, out of the 15+ freelance jobs I applied for, I only received one response. Though it was positive (I took a test, and was told that I’d done a great job, but they had all of the freelancers they needed at the moment), I didn’t end up with a job. As we discussed in the last post, the only way to become successful is to keep getting back up, so I’m going to keep applying.
- Freelancing is about beating out the competition. It’s a very competitive field – who wouldn’t want to work from home? – so you need to either beat other applicants by being quicker or more qualified. Timing is everything. If you apply for a position that’s been up for three days, think of how many people have gotten in their applications before you – it could be dozens. No matter how qualified you are, if an employer has already found someone they like, most likely they won’t even glance at your resume. That being said, qualifications are important as well. Ultimately, experience and skills are what gets you hired.
- Applying for freelance positions is just like applying for any other job. This means it should be taken seriously and you should be professional – after all, they will (hopefully) be paying you.
- I’ve realized just how much I like the idea of being a freelancer. I’m a much more charming person over email than I am in person (let’s not even talk about over the phone), and I find it easier to maintain a conversation that way. Like most writers, I express myself best through writing, so that’s the way I prefer to communicate. This entire process has reminded me how much of a strength of mine written communication is, and that’s a good thing to be reminded of from time to time.
- And last, but certainly not least, there are so many resources out there for freelancers. If you’re serious about becoming a freelancer, consider joining the Editorial Freelancers Association. In addition to information, they have great job boards! (I’ve considered joining, but remember – college student budget.) There are also plenty of free job boards (here, here, and here), but much like getting any other job, freelancing can be more about who you know. So if you know anyone who works in publishing and might be able to help you out, contact them!
So though my brief foray into freelancing was not the best experience, I’ve learned a lot and I’m looking forward to using it the next time I decide to apply. If you’re interested in getting into freelancing, or currently are a freelancer, feel free to give your input in the comments!