What Habits Do I Need to Break to Become a Freelancer?

You’ve decided to take the plunge into freelance writing. Congratulations!

Maybe you consider your freelance career a “side hustle.” Maybe you’re a stay at home parent looking for a way to earn some extra cash. Maybe you’ve quit the 9-5 work week and are ready to dive into freelancing as your primary source of income.

What Habits Do I Need to Break to Become a Freelancer?

You’re ready to take your writing talents and convert them into cash.

Whatever your reasons for beginning this freelance journey, one thing is for sure: you want to make money.

That’s what it all boils down to, right? You’re ready to take your writing talents and convert them into cash. But maybe you’ve noticed that some practices are holding you back.

If you want to see your business take off, it’s time to kick some habits to the curb:

Having a “40 Hour Workweek” Mindset 

What’s as satisfying as finishing a long day at work, heading home, and vegging out for a few hours? You put in your time. You get your paycheck. You leave.

But if you were satisfied with your Monday-Friday main gig (be it in an office or taking care of little ones in the home), you wouldn’t be trying to start a freelancing business. It’s time to start thinking creatively about setting goals and finding the time to accomplish them.

Can you wake up a few hours before the kids to pitch clients? Use your lunch break to outline a guest post? Turn off the TV and take an online course to enhance your skills?

There are endless opportunities to learn, pitch, write, network. There are 168 hours in a week. Making it as a freelancer means getting as much as you can out of each one of them.


Thinking Inside The Box 

You’ve laid the groundwork with a solid website, blog, posts on Medium, and a great LinkedIn profile. . .now what? You could go the regular route of pitching to job boards, along with hundreds of other freelancers. But why not think outside the box?

It’s 2017. Chances are, someone you know has an online business, a high-profile blog, a company that needs a newsletter written. Scroll through your phone contacts. Who could use your services?

Does your place of worship have a website that needs content? What about an organization for which you volunteer? Go to your local coffee shop; are there business cards pinned to a bulletin board representing local businesses who could use some publicity?

Once you start thinking outside the box, you’ll realize that you provide a valuable service and that potential clients are everywhere. They’re just looking for you to find them.

Negative Self-Talk 

“I’m not sure if I’m a real writer.” “But I don’t even have a journalism degree.” “Don’t you have to have a Master’s to have any credentials as a freelancer?” “Heck, I didn’t even go to college.”

Any of these sound familiar?

We talk ourselves out of things all the time. Whatever venture we’d like to set out on, we tell ourselves that there is someone [better, smarter, more qualified] who could do the job. We may as well not even try.

Well, guess what? OF COURSE there is someone better, smarter, or more qualified. Whatever we try to do – whether it’s writing, running a marathon, or baking the perfect pie crust – there will always be someone who can do the job better.

But there is no one who can do the job like you can. Tell yourself you’ve got what it takes. Ready to work hard? Ready to always be learning something new? Ready to put yourself out there and see what great things come your way?

If you answered “yes” to all of the above, then guess what– you DO have what it takes!

What’s the bottom line? You’re an entrepreneur now: time to start thinking like one. Set monthly, weekly, and daily goals and work like heck to accomplish them. Then it won’t be a matter of “if” you’ll see success in your freelancing business – it’ll be a matter of “when.” 

Jennifer Locke is a freelance writer and blogger for hire, as well as a YA author. She specializes in health, parenting, and the craft of writing. Jennifer writes articles, blog posts, and site content. When not writing, she’s usually wrangling her toddler twin daughters or nose-deep in a great book.

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Hi Jennifer, What a great post and an inspiration to all of us writer’s. I figure I am getting to long in the tooth for this business, but they say you are never too old. But I don’t know I have lots of doubts but I keep trying, maybe one day soon I will see my name in print. Great blog post and Thank You. Veronica.Reply to Veronica
Awesome! Yes you can! 😉Reply to Jennifer
I really enjoyed this blog post. I’m just starting out and this post really inspired me. I can do this! Thank you!Reply to Tina
THIS part is BRILLIANT: “Go to your local coffee shop; are there business cards pinned to a bulletin board representing local businesses who could use some publicity?” <– Why didn't I think of this??Reply to Miouo
Well, I was writing this at a local coffee shop and happened to notice the cluttered corkboard above the milk and sugar. . . 😉 Amazing what inspiration comes when you’re just looking around!Reply to Jennifer
Jennifer, I love the tip about thinking outside the box! This is so true. I’ve met writers that have found writing jobs while picking up their child from school! There’s an opportunity everywhere! Thanks for sharing your tips!Reply to Elna
Clients from school pick-up. . .that’s super inspiring! And you’re welcome! 😉Reply to Jennifer