When I left my full-time job to start working freelance, just about everybody had their doubts. My father thought I could never become a professional writer; it wasn’t that he didn’t think I had the skills, he just didn’t think there was a market for that kind of work. My husband thought our financial independence would take a hit; he was worried that we wouldn’t have enough money to make ends meet and would have to borrow from our parents. My friends thought I’d never maintain my sanity as I tried to work from home while watching my kids; well, they were right, my sanity is shot.
But today, I’ve got some great news. Somelife changingnews. Some news that may have finally convinced my father there’s a place for me in the working world, and shown my husband that financial independence isn’t just some far off goal, but something we’ve actually attained.
Because today I can tell you that I’m a professional writer.
When I first started writing freelance, I booked a gig with a big-name client who was just starting a new online venture. At the time, the client couldn’t afford to pay me very much. In fact, at just $5 an article, it was closer to slave labor than an actual job. But this was two years ago, and I was desperate for anything that would get my name out there – so I took it.
Over the years, I’ve been rewarded with more creative freedom; the client lets me pick all my own topics (it’s a parenting site – avery different style of writing than personal finance!), and increasingly, urged me to get away from fact-based journalism and more into commentary. In essence, they were paying me to talk about my day to day life as a work at home mom, not about the nutritional benefits of breastfeeding or the pros and cons of cosleeping with an infant. They also rewarded me with modest pay increases – it was still a nominal rate, but seeing my per article salary increase by a dollar here or fifty cents there showed me that they appreciated my work.
Then last week, the client asked if we could chat on the phone; they had a proposition for me.
After some schedule wrangling, I finally managed to find a few quiet minutes (my daughter was at preschool, my son taking a nap) to get on the phone with the client’s New York offices. They got right to the point: they loved my work, and wanted me to become a featured content writer. I’d still be working freelance – no benefits or anything – but my per article payment would be increased several times over; they were also increasing the number of weekly articles they’d be ordering from me.
I’m still trying to pick my chin up off the floor.
The boost in money means this client will pay me more over the next year than I made in my first year in television.Now, lest you think it’stoolucrative of a deal, let me assure you, TV news producers are paid like crap; I didn’t make more than $30,000 a year until my fifth and final year in the industry. But to be offered a gig that pays me like a professional writer was a huge boost to my ego.
The best thing about this deal is that it’s non-exclusive – meaning I don’t have to stop writing for Broke Professionals! In fact, I actually feel more like a broke professional now -professionalbeing the operative word that I’ve added to my title – than ever before; when I was writing freelance, I felt like I was just toying with the world of becoming a professional writer. Now, I feel bonafied.
So drinks all around… I’m buying!