By June 24, 2013 Read More →

3 things you need to know as a freelancer

Freelancer facts of life

3 things you need to know as a freelancer - Sarah Megginson

Today’s guest post is by Sarah Megginson,

who works from home in Queensland, Australia, as a freelance writer.

She has built her business up to the point where she can earn enough by working three days a week.

Sarah shares what she has learned about developing a career as a freelancer:

Setting your own hours, sleeping in, working from your living room in your pyjamas: on paper, the perks of freelancer life sound fantastic. And they are! But, while working from home may be able to deliver extraordinary levels of flexibility to your life, it also comes with a few challenges and unique quirks that you need to master in order to be successful.

1. You must be comfortable with change.

As a freelancer creating your own income stream, the only constant in your day is change. Your customers and clients change. Your workload varies. Your income fluctuates. Managing these ever-changing priorities and having a flexible schedule is important, as you need to look for ways to create some structure and certainty in your work.

For instance, trying to secure a regular part-time contract with one client can build some income consistency. Or, chunking your day into different tasks (eg. “Emails”, “Pitching for work”, “Invoicing”, “Working”) will help create a structure to guide you through the day.

2. You need to be confident.

When you’re trying to build a profitable career working from home, you need a certain level of confidence to succeed. When you think about it, half of your time is spent selling yourself, your expertise and your products or services to prospective clients.

So, this is no time to be shy or riddled with self-doubt! You need to convince prospective clients that you and your skills are valuable, sought-after and worth paying for. If you don’t exude confidence and ability, they’re less likely to feel confident about working with you.

A background in sales or PR is definitely helpful, but even if you don’t have that special charismatic, salesy quality (I don’t), you can still be successful – provided you have confidence in your ability to succeed as a freelancer.

3. You have to be realistic.

Like many women around the world, I’m a big fan of Sex and the City. But back when I was a budding freelance writer, I used to watch each episode and wonder how on earth Carrie Bradshaw could afford her extravagant lifestyle.

She was peddling one column to one newspaper, once a week. How much could that possibly pay? Not enough to cover monthly shops at Manolo Blahnik and pricey Prada dresses!

My freelance career certainly doesn’t deliver a level of income that could cover a designer lifestyle. But, it does allow me to earn a fabulous living, and I work only three days a week.

When I was starting out working from home, I was realistic about how much I would need to earn. Knowing my bottom line – which is the absolute minimum amount I must make in order to pay my bills each month – really helped me to stay focused and not stress about money. More importantly, I was realistic about how much I could expect to earn as a new freelancer, while still building my client base.

These days, I have a regular roster of clients and I make more money than I need to stay afloat financially. I didn’t get here overnight, but by setting realistic and achievable goals, I have been able to build a successful and profitable career as a freelancer that allows me to balance the demands of raising my family, while earning money working from home.

work from home secrets

Sarah is the author of How to make money by working from home: The step-by-step guide to successful freelancing, out now as an eBook through Mamamia Publishing.

Visit to download Chapter 3 free of charge. (Scroll down to the heading ‘From Sarah’).

Posted in: Making money

5 Comments on "3 things you need to know as a freelancer"

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  1. I used to wonder that about Carrie too, Sarah! Plus how she stayed stick-thin while eating all those cupcakes and snacks in the park!

  2. Some great, realistic advice there.

  3. Pat Wooldridge says:

    As a work-from-home artist who also writes, this down-to-earth advice applies to me. I’ll surely enjoy returning to this site.