What being a freelance self-employed writer is actually like

From the age of four, I was an avid reader and writer, yet I only became a self-employed writer, a freelance copywriter, at the age of 49. 

45 years is one hell of a wait.

Don’t get me wrong – that near half century wasn’t spent in unrelated pursuits – I did okay at O levels, better at A levels and got a 2.1 degree in English and spent 27 years teaching English.

But I rarely wrote creatively myself – apart from modelling original writing, demonstrating different grade responses and teaching reading and writing.

But I’m mighty glad I came to be a writer, because, no word of a lie, it’s without doubt the best job I’ve ever done.

I’ve set up a Facebook group, to beat the Zuckerberg algorithm, called “Trusted Freelancers” and asked, last week, what the best aspects of freelancing were.

For me, it’s binning bosses.

Admittedly some clients try to own you, but I’m wise enough and established enough now to tell micro-managing, awkward clients to do one.

In fairness, before you shout primadonna at me, there’s only been two companies who’ve been dropped by me, out of 50 plus clients I work with.

Writing to me is not a burden, it’s a joy. I love spinning words into blog posts for self and others and it’s gratifying when posts have thousands or tens of thousands of reads and multiple shares.

So let’s give you a picture of my working week, if you can call it work.

There’s no commuting, no getting ready for work, no planning, no reading of policies or late night emails from colleagues or bosses.

I get up, eat, drink tea, then coffee, do a school and college run and the day is then mine – all mine.

I schedule Facebook and Twitter posts, engage on social media for a few hours a day networking, write blog posts for Property Blogs, do some client prospecting and then walk the dog, have lunch and more coffee.

There’s no stress whatsoever until exam season starts.

As I’ve written about, because I taught English for so long, I’m a right good exam marker so I capitalise on my time and skills by marking GCSEs, overseas O levels, A levels and mock exams for various high schools – have done for 3 years now.

Last year I marked about 3,000 scripts and this year I’ll probably mark over 5,000.

I do have pinch points, in other words.

When a postman or woman staggers up the path with 700 scripts, I see the long term money but also the intense period of work that beckons.

I wouldn’t have it any other way though. 

I mark well and mark plenty because I’ve no distractions of stress, commuting, bosses, office politics and I’m time rich.

When this is done, I breathe a sigh of relief and return to social media marketing, blogging, website design with 321 Websites, networking, and lazing around.

I just wish now that someone had said to me 10, 15 or 20 years ago “Stuart, leave teaching now. You’ll earn more and be much happier being a self-employed writer.”

They’d have been right.

All you need is a passion that fires you up, motivates you to work every day, and an ability to see a long term picture.

My advice to anyone stuck in a job they dislike or hate is to leave and do something you want to do for yourself.

You only get one life and being miserable at work, making money for others, taking orders, is no way to live.

If you need any advice on starting up and flying solo, ask me, the happiest freelance writer in the world. 

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