This Gun’s for Hire – the joys and pitfalls of freelancing

Uploaded by Nadaone2.

It’s a fortnight since I learned that my future in journalism would not involve a monthly pay cheque and the coziness of a contract.

So far, it’s not been as scary as I thought. In my first week I had two shifts. In the second week that doubled and regrettably I have had to turn down shifts because of clashes.

This is certainly a good start and the fact I will earn at least enough to replace my staff earnings relieves some of my initial anxiety about freelancing. However, the challenge will be to match this next month – October’s spending review has been good for me in the sense that it has provided me with more work (probably only in the short term though).

In the past few weeks I have learned a lot about freelancing and a few things about myself:

1. Freelancing is a feast or a famine. As I mentioned before, you can be flooded with work one week and have to turn lots of shifts down, the next you could have an empty diary.

2. You need to be ready for anything. Clients really appreciate it if you can come in at short notice on your day off and and fill in. I am available for work on Monday and I am hoping this will happen then.

3. Even if you can’t get a shift, there are plenty of things you can get on with such as applying for jobs, blogging, sprucing up your social media profile and…

…cooking. I’ve been cooking a lot on my days off. So my boyfriend is enjoying lots of home cooked meals and I get the satisfaction of mastering the perfect pesto or chilli jam.

I’ve also had feature commissions to get on with but they are not urgent and will wait until I have some more spare time.

4. The thing I learned about myself is that I was much more prepared for this then I realised. Of course freelancing part time for a year has helped, but so did my career break two years ago. Arriving in Australia without work and struggling even to get work washing dishes in a kitchen puts a lot of things into perspective.

5. You have to be in a positive frame of mind to freelance – if not how are you going to sell yourself to employers or clients? You also need to mine your richest seams. I’ve tapped into shift work mainly, but I’m not ruling anything out.

The encouraging thing is I have found out that there are a lot of peoplewho are willing to help you find work, or even just to listen. It has certainly taken a lot of worry out of a difficult situation.

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One thought on “This Gun’s for Hire – the joys and pitfalls of freelancing

  1. […] on 23rd October 2010, I wrote about what I had learned about freelancing from my first two weeks. Looking back at what I wrote, it is surprising how little has changed. I […]

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