Whether buying a vacuum, joining a gym, or choosing the best conditioner for curly hair, consumers usually research it online first. Chances are, the helpful blog posts, “top 10” lists, or how-to articles they find are drafted by a freelance writer.
With 70 percent of marketers investing in content marketing, according to HubSpot, the need for writers to create compelling content has never been greater.
Freelance Writers Appreciation Week is recognized during the second week of February each year. It’s a time to recognize that the majority of written content on the internet, in print magazines, in the food and travel sections of newspapers and so much more is created by paid writers, who often are not credited for their work.
As freelance writer Michelle Rafter noted on her blog several years ago, “If it wasn’t for freelancers, magazines like Esquire, GQ, Vanity Fair, New York, Texas Monthly, Outside, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Cosmopolitan, Readers Digest, Mother Jones, Ms. and countless others would never have been as great as they were or are.”
Furthermore, well-known authors like Tom Wolfe, Michael Lewis, Nora Ephron, Barbara Kingsolver and so many more might not have launched their successful fiction and non-fiction careers had they not had freelance writing stints.
But recognition is not what they seek – freelance writing has its own set of rewards. In a 2017 article for Inc.com, John Rampton wrote of the “Gig Economy” we have entered, with more than 54 million freelancers across the United States. And many of those people are very happy with the work they do.
Here are six benefits of being a freelance writer:
Set Your Own Hours
Not everyone thrives in a 9-to-5 setting. As a freelance writer, you set your own schedule and write when you are most productive. A night owl might start in the afternoon, work into the night and sleep late. A parent might plan writing time around a child’s schedule. A person who has a day job can write in the evenings or on weekends. Schedule flexibility also lets you choose when not to write. Training for a marathon and need long runs in the morning? No problem.
Be Your Own Boss
Many of the perks of freelance writing relate to controlling your work—the hours, schedule, projects, and income. Being your own also boss means managing your own taxes and insurance.
- Health insurance: If you are self-employed and paying for your own individual health insurance, you can likely claim a deduction for the full cost of your premiums. There are a number of ways to save on health insurance if you are self-employed. These include catastrophic coverage if you’re under 30, bronze plans, and cost-sharing. Companies like HealthMarkets can help you find the plan that best suits your health and financial needs.
- Tax tips: Freelance income is self-employment income, which allows for write-offs other employees at larger companies don’t receive. For example, according to TurboTax, you can write off business costs such as the internet, office supplies, your laptop, and software. If you have a dedicated home office, you might be able to claim a home office tax deduction. One tax required of freelancers is the self-employment tax, which pays for Social Security and Medicare. For the 2020 tax year, this totals 15.3% of your net income.
Control Your Workload
One perk of being a freelancer is the ability to control your workload by choosing which assignments to take on. You can accept more work if a big expense, such as a vacation, is looming. Or you can do fewer projects to allow time for fitness interests, family time or other responsibilities. If a project is too overwhelming or requires extensive research on an unfamiliar topic, you can say no.
In a 2018 article on Entrepreneur.com, consulting business coach Victor G. Snyder wrote about various benefits of freelancing and cited survey results from WiseBrand indicating five out of six freelancers who participated in the survey reached their income goals within two years of starting. Furthermore, the 42 percent who reached their goals within 12 months were twice as likely to earn more than $75,000 per year.
In 2020, most of the workforce learned what freelance writers knew all along—the convenience of working from home. Of course, writers are also known to work at coffee shops, libraries, on airplanes, or wherever they want. This flexibility has so many benefits for various lifestyles and interests. If your situation allows you to move to an island for a month to write or spend your summer in the mountains, you can – and get paid while doing so.
Relish the Variety
While some freelance writers are specialists, many cover a broad range of topics. One day you’re blogging on a familiar subject, such as gardening, and another day you’re learning about internet security. The type of content varies also, from brief articles to long blog posts to social media content. This variety is the perfect antidote to boredom.
On the flip side, if you have expertise in a certain subject, you can establish yourself as a ‘go-to’ for assignments related to that.
Earn Money Doing What You Love
Face it, you’ve always been a writer. While others earned awards in school for athletics or citizenship, you won essay contests. Your English teachers were thrilled with your term papers. Even when you’re not working, you’re writing—in a journal, on social media posts and comments, or blogging. Being home alone with your computer is your happy place. Freelance writing lets you earn money doing your favorite thing. And it keeps you away from rush hour traffic, office politics, and endless meetings.
Appreciating Freelance Writers
Most of the content on the internet is written by freelance writers – and a whole lot of what we read via more traditional media is too. Freelance Writer’s Appreciation Week is a time to appreciate the craft put into something that absorbs so much of our time. For freelance writers, this week is a good time to appreciate the flexibility, freedom, and growth you enjoy.