How many times have you mentioned freelance blogging to someone only to have them throw a shitpile of doubt on your career choice?
How many times have you avoided telling someone about your career and ambitions, simply because you didn’t want to have that depressing conversation again? You know, the one where you try to justify your desire to freelance and write blog posts for a living — but the person you’re trying to justify it *to* doesn’t believe you can possibly make it work.
That many times, huh? Hmmf. Me too. In fact, I still have that conversation with people now, 6 years into my successful and lucrative freelance blogging career.
Just the other day, someone who’s known me a long time asked, “So how much do you really make an hour? I mean, say you write something for a client and they pay you $20, how long does it take you to earn that?”
I laughed so hard I started crying. Then I cried so hard I had to laugh.
Then I explained that I haven’t written anything for as little as $20 since, ooh, fucking NEVER. And that my entire reason for doing what I do here on this blog is to help other freelance bloggers (like *you*) avoid working for low pay too.
Make the dumb move work for you
Let me say this as loud and clear as possible:
You are not foolish, reckless or deluded to think that you can be a freelance blogger.
If your grasp of the English language is good enough to read and understand this post, and to write posts of a similar standard, then you can totally rock a freelance blogging career.
You can probably do it better than me, because I did it without guidance and only learned later just how many screw-ups I’d made starting out.
You? You got guidance, right here on this blog.
- You can get support and advice from your peers on the BAFB Community forum.
- You can email me and ask any question you like, and I’ll almost certainly answer it (unless it gets eaten by my spam folder).
- You can even get a carefully curated stream of job opportunities that pay at least 10 cents per word, over at the BAFB jobs board.
In other words, you have no reason to avoid making the big, dumb, potentially genius move of becoming a freelance blogger. At worst, you give it a shot and decide you don’t like it. At best, you give it a shot and zoom to the top of this career ladder faster than you expected. (That happens. I’ve seen it many times. Why shouldn’t it be your turn next?)
Today is this blog’s 3rd birthday. Back in January 2013, I published my first post on Be a Freelance Blogger, and since then I’ve done some smart things, some dumb things, and a whole lotta things that were both incredibly smart and painfully dumb at the same time.
And I’m not too proud to share all those stupid / brilliant / stupid things with you, if it’ll make your journey easier. [I have zero shame. Think I was probably born with that part of my brain missing.]
So stick around. I’ll keep sharing, you’ll keep growing, and all those morons who give you the weird-eye when you say “freelance blogging” will just have to get used to the idea of your success.
OK, back to the birthday thing…
The 2016 BAFB scholarship prize
To celebrate Be a Freelance Blogger’s 3rd birthday, I’m giving one BAFB reader a full scholarship: free access to both my freelance blogger training courses to help that lucky scholarship winner get their business set up for success and track down their ideal clients.
A few days ago, I invited everyone who’s subscribed to my emails to apply for the scholarship prize by sending us a short post or personal essay. The topic this year was “what freelance blogging means for your lifestyle” and the entries we received were outstanding in their thoughtfulness, originality and writing quality.
It was SO DAMN HARD to choose just one person to award this scholarship to, but in the end one entry won out above all the others: the 2016 BAFB scholarship goes to Gayle Johnson.
Why Gayle? Well, I have to be honest — as I’m now pregnant and always thinking about what’s best for my children, I found that Gayle’s story of re-evaluating her lifestyle and choosing a difficult but commendable path really rang my bell.
Maybe that’s unfair to the males who entered. Wait, no, it isn’t — men have and raise children too, and if Gail were a man, I’d find the story just as compelling. The point isn’t that Gayle has lady-parts, it’s that she demonstrated the kind of self-awareness and insight that will serve her well as a freelance blogger (as well as serving her kids’ best interests).
Gayle will spend 28 days in the Get Started for Freelance Blogging Success program, followed by 8 weeks in The Freelance Blogger’s Client Hunting Masterclass. And I hope when she’s completed her training she’ll come back to tell us how it all went!
Read her winning entry here:
My life was turned inside out by motherhood — messily so, but all to the good. Over the past four years I’ve questioned everything: what success looks like, what life’s for, what I want to model to my children through the choices I make. I’m living a much more conscious, intentional life now, and happier for it. That everyday, quiet sort of happiness you get when your actions line up with your values better, even when you’re having a crap day and everything goes wrong.
A practical consequence of all this philosophising is that I’ve quit my well-paid secure job. I’d sucked the marrow right out of it and was purely clocking in for the pay-packet. Punchline: I’ve started out as a freelance writer.
And it can’t just be a hobby that lets me feel good about calling myself ‘a writer’. We’re falling back on a small savings stash, tightening everything, letting out our spare room on Airbnb, we’ve basically rearranged our priorities and lives to give me the runway to make this fly.
If I can’t turn the sporadic income I’ve made in the past month (which is great – it’s a start!) into more regular, high quality clients within the next nine months then it’s back to the job hunt and writing for fun, because I need to earn a living.
Which is where this scholarship comes in. I will make this work whatever — I’ve made some great contacts already, written blogs that have attracted debate, personal abuse and emotional thanks (like this one, highly pertinent to the story I’m telling you now: How Motherhood Made Me Unemployable), and I’m going to slog it out. But the opportunity to learn from the pros about seeking out the clients I want and need? Right now, it’d be life changing.
— Gayle Johnson is a freelance writer and blogger at Red Tree Writing.