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How I Started Freelancing and Working Fewer Hours After Getting Laid

  • Chris Boutté was fired from his position as Content Manager in September 2021.
  • After working with freelancers in his old role, he decided to become one and started pitching.
  • He used a freelance newsletter to start and wrote six articles in the first month, earning $1,700.

Like many people, I was extremely anxious to know where the economy was heading when COVID-19 caused lockdowns in early 2020. I was working as a content manager for a marketing and branding agency, I hoped so we wouldn’t be hit too hard.

Fortunately, I was able to work from home and business remained fairly stable throughout the year. But at the beginning of 2021, I started to notice that some of our customers were reducing their services, and we even lost some big accounts. Then on September 1, I was fired because my company needed to downsize.

Since I was already concerned about this possibility, I had researched how much money you can make from freelance writing. Picking it up has since allowed me to be financially stable, and I can pay my bills while having more free time to spend with my son and working on personal projects. Now, including the time I spend on my personal brand, I work around 25-30 hours a week versus 40-50 at my old job.

I have written for most of my life and self-published books on mental health and my personal addiction recovery story.

As a content manager at my old company, I no longer wrote, but had to find and manage freelance writers. We were paying authors anywhere from $60 to $200 for articles of about 1,000 words. When I realized how much we were charging clients for content and how much we could pay freelance writers, I knew it could provide me with some financial security if I ever lost my job.

The day I was laid off, my supervisor asked me if I would be okay, and I told him that I intended to try to be independent. She’s also a writer, and she recently came across a mailing list that goes out to freelance writers weekly and tells them about opportunities, so I jumped on it. It was a gold mine.

Sonia does an amazing job and only charges $3 a month for the newsletter, which I’ve already done in spades. It became my main source of freelance work.

In each newsletter, Sonia provides links to tweets from editors who are looking for freelance pitches. Occasionally there are opportunities for part-time work with publications as a writer or editor. Wherever possible, it also includes how much they pay.

On average, there are between 30 and 40 different opportunities, and that’s fine if you’re smart about it. Every week, I go through the lists and see if it’s a topic that interests me or that I know well. Then I see how much it pays.

Before emailing the editor with locations, I do a rough calculation of how long the piece would take me so I can determine an hourly rate.

In my first month as a freelancer, I wrote 6 tracks for a total of $1,700

Each piece took an average of about two hours to write. If you do the math, it’s a little over $140 an hour.

That’s more money than I’ve ever made per hour, but it’s not that simple. First, it’s obviously not as much as what I made in a month in my previous job, which was about $3,200 a month after taxes.

The reality is that even though I’m picky, I’ve sent 40-50 locations, and most of them have been closed

What has worked best for me is coming up with as many editors as possible because only about one in 10 pitches get approved. I’ve noticed there’s a higher success rate when I show in the pitch that I know the publication and really sell the fact that I’m the best writer for the job based on my experience and my knowledge.

For example, I had an article published on Parents about how I became financially stable as a single dad. In the introductory email, I explained to the editor that I was a recovering drug addict who destroyed my credit and was terrible with money, but in my sobriety, I learned about finances personal and I have developed strategies for saving and investing.

I’ve also diversified my income in recent years through additional content

Some of my other sources of income include my YouTube channel and affiliate links for books on my weekly reading list. I also generate income through my self-published books on Amazon.

Even in times of uncertainty, there are ways to make money if you work hard. I’m also on websites like Upwork and Textbroker, and often look for freelance work by networking on Twitter.

After doing this for a month, I’ve built relationships with publishers and have more work on the horizon. If I am able to take on more freelance writing work and negotiate higher rates, over the next year my goal is to make more money than at any 9-to-5 job.

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