Find Your Work Style and Double Your Freelance Income

(This is a guest post by another successful freelance writer. I went from full-time worker to full-time writer online. Find out how I – and many other writers – got started RIGHT HERE.)

Are you trying to figure out how you should start (or kick-start) your writing career? Should you freelance full-time? Is it better if you freelance alongside your day job until you get your foot in the door? Maybe you’d rather hold two types of freelance jobs… like me.

My story and how it can help you

I was frustrated with my life until I found the balance that worked for me: freelance writing and freelance ESL teaching.

Initially, I had a full-time job. I managed to do a lot of research and get my blogs off the ground, but I couldn’t have much of a social life. And I didn’t have much to show for my writing career – unlike Karen Martinez who has been quite happy freelancing alongside her day job.

I stayed in my job for eight months, after which I freelanced full-time. Unsurprisingly, working on my writing career was much more fun than looking for another full-time gig. But the honeymoon period was cut short as I struggled with low-paying jobs.

I just couldn’t figure out how to earn a living writing.

Then I realized I wasn’t cashing in on another passion of mine: English. Since I didn’t want to be stuck in any office, I taught ESL as a freelancer. Despite being another freelance job, it brought in a much more reliable salary.

Now that I wasn’t desperate to earn from my writing, I could charge what I deserved. I didn’t have to write about a single topic I didn’t care for either.


Years later, double-freelancing is still the best solution for me. It eliminates the feast or famine cycle. It gives me the time and finances to write, edit and query my fiction while I maintain regular clients and pitch my favorite blogs, like Freelance Writers Online. (And let’s not forget the story ideas my eccentric students inspire, or that I don’t need to panic when the nerve entrapment in my wrists act up, which considerably slows down my writing).

But what worked for me won’t necessarily yield the same results for you, and this is the point.

Kirsty Stuart accepted a full-time gig, despite being sure for a long time that she’d never go back to a 9-5. Samar Owais of Freelance Flyer took a full-time job when she had already built a name for herself in the freelancing world.

Because nobody’s the same – and to get some ideas of how changing up your work style could benefit your freelance writing career – here are four completely different approaches of four brilliant freelance writers:

4 successful writers – 4 different approaches

Unlike most freelance writers who swear they won’t take another full-time gig, Kirsty Stuart found one she really liked for nine months: it complemented her freelance work, the commute wasn’t a pain, and she was still writing about travel:

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“I was looking for a big travel blogging client when I found my current in-house gig online and I would never have even considered it if it wasn’t close by.”


And full-time gigs have their own advantages:

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“I hate to say it but I also need to look good on paper for at least a year so that I can buy a house at some point too. “I hate to say it” because I dislike simply doing things in order to jump through bureaucratic hoops – have done my entire life – but if I have to play the game for a while in order to get what I want, then so be it.”


Samar Owais of Freelance Flyer took another path: she freelanced right after graduation and so was already a successful freelancer when she took a full-time job as a community manager. Samar was tempted by the salary and the chance to improve her people skills. She also wanted to find out  “how the other side lived.”

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“While I was more than happy to skip the job hunting, I always wondered what full-time work would feel like. So when the opportunity presented itself, I took it.”


However she was soon turned off by the extremely long hours and office politics, even though she liked the team she worked with. She returned to freelancing some months later, but she’s not completely opposed to another full-time office gig – if it comes with more flexible hours, a satisfactory paycheck and a healthy office environment.

Tara Lynne Groth of Write Naked has never held a salaried writing job, and she doesn’t believe an office job appealing enough to lure her exists:

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“I don’t feel personal fulfillment expending my skills for the benefit of one other entity. I love working with different businesses, individuals, and organizations through my freelance writing business. Seeing each of their businesses grow is more rewarding to me. There is no full-time writing job that would be appealing enough for me to work a traditional 9-to-5 schedule.”


Lauren Tharp of LittleZotz Writing had an interesting full-time job in the marketing department of a TV mini-series, blogging for them and managing their social media. Lack of excitement wasn’t an issue for her:

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“It was pretty thrilling. I got to hob-nob with some really interesting people! It really put me on my toes and got my interviewing skills up to snuff. And it was a constant challenge to come up with new, creative ways to reach out to the show’s potential audience on such short notice.”


However, as fun and challenging as the job was, Lauren had to deal with workplace sexism and so got out, although she says she could be seduced back into a full-time job with a hefty paycheck and very little commute.

When it comes down to it, work styles vary and there will be pros and cons to each one. It’s also good to remember that nothing is absolute, and it’s OK to change your mind and experiment a bit to find what works for you.

From starting your career alongside a full-time job to freelancing from the beginning – from juggling two freelance jobs to adapting your path according to your current needs – your options are only limited to your own imagination (and time-management skills!).

What about you? Have you found the ideal work style for your writing career?  Let us know about your freelance adventures in the comments section below.

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Pinar Tarhan is a freelance writer and blogger absolutely addicted to writing, both fiction and nonfiction. She’s a firm believer in big dreams and realizing them. Her work has been published in Women On Writing, Brazen Careerist and Make a Living Writing, among others. Check out her blog, Addicted to Writing, and catch her on Twitter @zoeyclark.


>> This is a guest post by another successful freelance writer. I went from full-time worker to full-time writer online – from scratch. Find out how you can do the same RIGHT HERE.

Image courtesy of Billy Wilson via Flickr.

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