Hope for your financial life and beyond

5 Important Life Lessons From My Freelance Writing

Yes, you could take that headline as an announcement. I’ve officially entered the world of personal finance freelance writing. Is anyone out there looking to hire?

writing in a notepad My blogging journey to this point has been an interesting one. As long time readers here know, last summer I quit my job in education to become a stay at home dad. It was a big step but one that I don’t regret. The added time has allowed me to better manage our family activities and devote myself more to blogging.

The results in our family life have been tremendous.

Less stress. More downtime. More kid time. More moments for enriching activities.

Additionally, the extra time devoted to blogging is causing Luke1428 to take off. I already have more page views than I did all of last year. It really is amazing what some additional time, effort and connection building can do.

As great as that is, I’ve felt I could still do more with my time. So I was intrigued when contacted several months ago about writing for a new website. I’d never done that for money before and thought it would be a good experience if only for me to understand the world of freelance writing.

It’s been quite the experience.

Life Lessons Realized From Freelancing

To date I’ve written seven articles for SafeBee.com, a website devoted to making the world a safer place. I’ve really enjoyed it but writing for someone else is not like writing for your own blog. However, it’s reminding me of some valuable lessons that can be applied to any life situation. Here are my initial thoughts about what I’m dealing with:

1. Articles are a challenge to get approved. All the articles I write need to promote a safety/protection angle. I can see the safety angle in my mind when I pitch the article but it’s not always apparent to those who approve the topic.

The life takeaway: Not everyone thinks the same way or sees the same things you do. Have patience and learn to connect with people in how they see the world.

2. Editor’s are picky, but awesome! This may sound odd but I have enjoyed a professional editor reviewing my work. I’ve always thought one of the challenges of being a blogger was not getting feedback on how you write. Now I’m getting that consistently and I know it’s going to make me better.

The life takeaway: Value the expertise of others and use it to improve.

3. Constraints pose a writing challenge. Each article I write is required to be between 500-800 words. No fluff writing to make the article longer. Additionally, all the articles must be sourced by a .gov or .org website. The facts of the article have to be supported by information at these sites which limits to an extent what you can discuss.

The life takeaway: Learn to be flexible and work within the parameters you’ve been given.

4. The money is very rewarding. Writing as a hobby is fun. I basically did that for the first two years of my blog when I could only run it part-time. But I’ve learned that – emotionally and psychologically – it’s real nice to have someone say, “You know what? Your writing is good enough we’d consider paying you for it.”

The life takeaway: No matter what field you work in, people will pay for excellence.

5. It’s stretching me. I know this experience is pushing me outside my comfort zone. That’s good. Those who don’t push the boundaries remain stagnant like the pond that has no water flowing in or out of it. I always want to keep moving forward, never resting on what I have done.

The life takeaway: We are capable of more than we realize. Push yourself and see how far you can go.

5 Mores I Hope to Gain by Freelance Writing

I’ll be looking for a select few more freelance writing opportunities. I don’t know how many I’ll end up taking or how those responsibilities will impact my writing schedule here.

So what do I hope to gain from this? Here are some “mores” I hope to obtain:

1. More reach. The message of reaching financial freedom by changing your personal finance habits needs to get out beyond the four walls of Luke1428. Writing consistently for a larger website than my own would expand my reach to thousands of more people.

2. More influence. With reach comes influence. The more people you reach the greater chance you have to impact lives. Helping others is ultimately the driving force behind what I’m doing so freelance writing plays right into that mission.

3. More money. I’m at the point where I want to make money from blogging and writing. That money will be used for projects and goals I envision coming down the road and eventually find it’s way into our family budget.

4. More kickback. Getting out there means more people will find their way back here. With each article I write there’s a chance the reader might be curious about the author and find there way back to Luke1428.

5. More connections. My connection at SafeBee initially contacted me because she read a snippet I wrote for a blog post at another website. You simply never know what connections and opportunities will come once you expand your reach.

I’m greatly looking forward to where freelancing might take me in the next phase of my blogging/writing journey. None of it would be possible though without you supporting this website and giving me encouragement day in and day out. Thank you for being a loyal reader and supporting my work.

Questions: What’s the biggest challenge you face in stepping out and doing something new? How have you stretched yourself so far this year? Do you find it difficult to work within set boundaries? How do you reach people who don’t see things the same way you do?

Freelancers – what do you struggle with? How do you balance the time writing for your own blog and writing for others? What other tips/advice would you give?

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  1. I’ve started freelancing myself recently and have had a similar experience. It really does take you out of your comfort zone but I’ve been learning a lot throughout the process. And it’s easy to stay on deadline when you know there’s some money on the line!

    • “…it’s easy to stay on deadline when you know there’s some money on the line!” That’s true…money is a great motivator.

  2. Congrats on the freelancing. I also have just started on this journey and I only have one client and too afraid to take on any more. I’m just afraid that I won’t be able to come up with enough ideas to write about. I’m very lucky for my editor is very good to me and gives me great feedback. I believe that I’m with her because she’ll help me lay a good foundation for the future. Good luck with your freelancing.

  3. Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank says

    Congrats Brian. Writing is really a tough task especially when someone is not passionate and has no experience. Based on your posts, I think you wouldn’t have a hard time getting writing tasks and clients. More opportunities to come!

  4. When I was building my business last year and it was a little slow, I freelanced for a few sites. The nice thing is that the sites were finance related but different from what I wrote for my site, so I like the ability to tackle other areas. If I had to write about the same things multiple times a week, though, I wouldn’t be able to cut it. Now my business is growing and I have less writing time and I actually miss the writing exercise. Like you, I was kind of surprised that people were willing to pay me to write, but it was nice side income to make all the same.

    • I think the variation in writing topics is helpful. Several of the articles I’ve written have nothing to do with finance. Branching out helps keep the creative juices flowing.

  5. I’ve been freelancing for about 9 months now and I’ve learned A LOT along the way too. Most of my clients are pretty flexible and allow me to write about pretty much whatever I want (that still ties into PF), but they don’t give a lot of feedback or editing advice. I have applied for a couple more technical writing jobs, but didn’t get them due to not having as much experience with that type of writing. I was bummed, but in retrospect, I think it worked out for the best.

    • Are you doing that full time? How many clients do you have? I’m not sure yet how jobs many I’ll take on…I’m worried a bit about it interrupting my writing schedule here.

  6. Congrats on the opportunity! I find writing for other people somewhat difficult, even when I have free reign over what I want to post. It just feels different and I learned that being a paid writer is not my calling in life. But it’s nice to pick up the extra change. I love how you have found the silver lining to the situation and realize it’s going to help you grow!

    • I don’t think I’d say it’s my calling either but I enjoy it enough to make some money from it. Plus the benefits of exposure and connection make it worth it to me.

  7. Great for you Brian! I’ve picked up quite a bit of freelance writing myself over the past 6-12 months as we have some big goals we’re working towards and finding many of the same things. At first I was taken aback by some of the editorial direction. But, that’s just another reason why I’m thankful for my wife since she has been a professional writer for 15 years – she reminded me there is usually a purpose behind it. That has really helped change my view on it and hopefully resulting in me becoming a better writer. My challenge is writing on the same topics too often – I need to break out of PF writing. 🙂

  8. I’m happy you have this opportunity. You’ve always come across as a knowledgable and thorough writer and its high time that (literally) paid off for you.

    I’ve done some freelancing and I’m a bit bummed to say no one has ever marked up anything I’ve written. One major website wanted me to add an uplifting summary to a rather depressing article and that’s the closest I’ve gotten to feedback. I’ve been both bummed and thankful 😉

    • “…no one has ever marked up anything I’ve written.” That’s too bad. Not that you are a bad writer…it’s just nice to get feedback on what you produce. Makes you wonder how much they care about the site if they are not editing articles. I always do that when someone sends a guest post here.

  9. I also enjoy getting feedback from editors. A lot of the feedback I have gotten over the years has made me a better writer.

  10. Congratulations on deciding to expand in this direction! I published my first post as a staff writer on another site just this week, and it was certainly a different experience having to pitch my ideas and respond to editorial comments. I’m not sure if it’s necessarily improving my writing but it is exposing me to others’ perspectives early on in the process. However, I am not being paid sufficiently for this endeavor so I’m doing it solely for reach and influence.

    • “…I’m doing it solely for reach and influence.” I think that’s OK Emily…reach and influence are really important. Because our personal finances are in order I can afford to be picky about what I take on (in regards to pay).

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