In 2005, I was approached by someone who told me that the Next Big Thing in online marketing was the blog. I didn’t know what a blog was, and, truth to tell, I didn’t much care. Someone was willing to pay me a monthly retainer to provide content to a corporate blog.
With my freshly-minted M.A. in Journalism from Syracuse, it wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do. My science reporting focus didn’t pay all the bills, and we needed the rent money, so I agreed to get involved with blogging.
As you know, my recruiter was right; blogging exploded in the years after I began. Professional blogging became my family’s online source of income, and, even though the online writing landscape has changed in the last decade, I’m still the primary breadwinner.
As I reflect on 10 years in the online writing space, I’ve thought a lot about how differently I’d approach my career if I were starting out today.
1. Treat Online Freelancing Like a Business
At first, my plan was to write a little bit until my husband finished his Ph.D. and got a job. I thought I’d make just enough to pay the rent and the bills if we scrimped and had help from student loans. I never dreamed that blogging could be a business. As a result, I wasted a lot of money paying taxes I didn’t need to, and I made poor decisions that I wouldn’t have made if I’d had a business mindset.
Even if your online freelance writing is meant as a side gig for a little extra, follow sound business principles from the beginning. [Read more…]