Three Things to Do Before You Start Freelance Writing … and Three Things Not to Bother With

Are you thinking about freelancing?

I’ve known a lot of writers who spent quite a while in the “thinking” stage without moving forward.

It’s very understandable. Launching a freelancing career can feel like an enormous step, and you probably want to get everything right before you begin.

I was lucky, in a lot of ways: I fell into freelance writing by accident. Ten years ago, I wrote a guest post for a blog that (unknown to me) happened to be looking for paid writers. The editor asked if I’d like to join the team … and that was the first of many, many freelance blogging gigs.

At that point, I was working a day job in London. In terms of freelancing, I had nothing set up. I had a blog, but it wasn’t writing-related at all. I was still using my old email address (provided by my university’s alumni team). I only had a personal PayPal account that I used for eBay. I definitely hadn’t thought about anything like contracts or a business plan.

And it still all worked out fine!

Even so, I probably would’ve made slightly faster progress as a freelancer if I’d got a few things set up before I began.

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Can You Freelance Just on the Weekends?

I had a great question in from a reader last week. He explained that he was in a full-time job and asked if it was possible to freelance just on the weekends.

I’ll give you the good news first:

Yes, it absolutely is.

Many freelancers start out working around a regular day job (or working around other commitments, like caring for kids). This often means they’re freelancing at unusual hours. When I began freelancing, I used to work on my clients’ blog posts from 6 – 7am, for instance.

Of course, there are some freelance roles that do require you to be at a desk during standard office hours. If you do the sort of freelancing where you need to have meetings (phone or face-to-face), obviously it’ll be tricky if you can’t ever take a weekday off.

A small number of freelancers also work “in house” – they go into a client’s workplace to do the actual work on site. That’s the exception rather than the norm, though: most freelancers can and do work from anywhere, and usually at any time.

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Freelance Writing: Ten Steps, Tons of Resources

This post was first published in 2010, and rewritten/updated in 2016.

This is the guide which I wish I’d had when I was getting interested in freelance writing. It’s a step by step walk-through for the adventure that lies ahead of you.

You’ll find tips for each stage of your journey, and summaries of great resources to help you along the way.

Tip: You may want to bookmark this post or even print it out, so you can come back and dip in at each new step of your journey.

Ready to get going?

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9 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started Freelance Writing [Guest Post]


Ali: This is a guest post from Karol K. of Writers in Charge, who got in touch and offered to share these great tips with us. Like Karol, I started freelancing without really noticing. In fact, it was almost an accident: at the start of 2008, I got in touch with a blog to write a guest post, and they offered me a regular, paid position. I had no business name, no website, no plan, and no experience in running a business! If you’re in a similar position, Karol’s tips should help.

Over to you, Karol!


It took two months for me to realize that I was a freelance writer: I suddenly had three clients waiting for my articles, and there was a deadline to meet. Even then, it took a while for me to figure out a few things that make freelance life much easier.

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