What could be more exciting than flexible working hours, the freedom to choose my own clients, multi-faceted exposure, and working in my pyjamas?
Just before you think I am living my best life, let me unveil the not-so-glamorous side of being a freelance writer.
In the first few months of being a freelance writer, I realized that the perks of having flexible working hours came at the high price of having a terrible work-life balance. In other words, I did not have a life outside work. To avoid disappointing clients, I lugged my laptop almost everywhere I went to. I remember sneaking out of a church vigil to schedule blog posts. My friends got tired of being understanding. My parents’ irritation deserves a whole novel.
I also had a less-than-pleasant experience with clients who underpriced my writing services. Some felt I was too young to quote certain fees. Others felt ‘it was just writing.’ There were days I took on certain projects just for the sake of having enough money to but internet data plans. I remember how excited I got about securing a contract that paid a five-figure fee. After pouring my heart into working on the project, I Discovered that the project was worth thrice the amount I was offered.
There were also times I had no clue as to where my next gig would come from. I had signed up on a couple of freelance websites but being a Nigerian decimated my chances of getting any gigs. In the midst of all these, I also had to bear the cost of having steady power supply, fixing my laptop, and meeting up with clients who insisted on having face-to-face meetings.
Now approaching my fourth year as a freelance writer, I can boldly that I have evolved from being that writer who could not say no to less-than-ideal clients and contracts. I have had the privilege of honing my soft skills by taking up employment with Creative agencies that offered me the option of working remotely. I have also learned the art of finding high-paying clients and knowing when to work pro-bono.
Though, I am in no way close to the peak of my freelance writing career, I have come to embrace the not-so-glamorous part of being a freelance writer. I eagerly anticipate the new challenges ahead and hope to inspire more people to explore alternative career paths.
This article was written by Chiebuka Nwosu; connect with her on IG here