13 June 2011

The nature of the freelancing beast

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I recently started writing for a content site that I like very much. It has a wide variety of articles available, good rates for what I do and what's expected, no expectations of minimum articles each pay period, and a great forum community among the staff. I haven't been there very long at all, but I already really enjoy the work.

I'm also excited about what it can bring to my career in terms of both my portfolio and my finances. My income is only limited by the time I devote to actually writing the articles. The more BIC* time I get, the better the job is for me. It's steady work and, for many of my colleagues, a main source of income. Even a full-time job. I think that's great, and I would love to be in that position, as well. After all, it's reliable writing with a lot of variety, so it's very attractive to full-time freelancers.

The problem is that when freelancers find good gigs like this, they forget that it's not like working for a traditional company in a 9-to-5 job. It's still freelance work, and you're not bound by a contract that dictates a set income on certain days.

That's not to say you won't be paid, but sometimes there are complications, especially with content companies like this. Sometimes organizing all that pay for all those writers doesn't go as smoothly as planned, and there are hiccups. Sometimes pay is delayed. It happens, especially to freelance writers.

And it's a good reason to diversify.

Freelance writers hear it all the time: have multiple clients. They're urged to keep looking for new clients and work, even if things are good. They're urged to keep working ahead and putting money into savings, just in case a client suddenly doesn't have work for you anymore.

As the cliche goes, don't keep all your eggs in one basket. After all, what if your basket breaks? Take a little time regularly (even 30 minutes once a week) to look for new clients or reconnect with old clients. But don't rely on one client or income source if you're a freelance writer. You never know what could happen.

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