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How to Build your Freelance Writing Business While Working Full-Time

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This is a Guest Post by Debra Giuliano. If you would like the chance to write a guest post on the blog, please feel free to contact me.


After writing for others my entire working life, including a stint ghost-writing on a variety of topics with a content mill for pennies-per-word, I was ready to write under my own byline and for my own pleasure and profit as a freelance author.

Working full-time for a terrific firm that deserves (and gets) my personal best while building my own business is a huge undertaking that probably should scare the socks off me.

Yet, I am enjoying every tired, crazy-making minute of this journey. I know that I am building a successful freelance writing business, and here’s how you can, too.

Build Your Freelance Writing Business Even When You’re Super Busy

Pick Your Destination

build a freelance writing business

Motivation and visualization are important indicators for success. Just as Olympian athletes mentally compete and win before the games begin, the aspiring writer needs to create a picture of what success looks like.

You are a writer, you’ve got this! Write your success story.

[Tweet “Clarify why your success matters. Make sure it has a happy ending. #freelancing”]

Craft your story to include everything you want from a writing business with no apologies and no excuses. Your story may have added chapters later on, but for now you have defined a goal.

I stepped out on the road to owning a successful writing business with a clear idea of my destination.

I was not sure how to get there, but I knew there had to be a way.

Most importantly, I started out determined to get there.

Make a Map

How to become a freelance writer when working full-time

When I was a kid, long before there was Google Maps or GPS devices, our family vacations always involved a car trip.

My parents would get a Trip Tik Travel Planner from AAA, which was a series of paper road maps with the route marked in blue, held together on a ring.

As we moved along the route, Mom would flip the page to reveal the next section of directions. Each section included an estimate of travel time, taking into consideration areas of road work and known detours.

Just like a road trip, working full-time while building a freelance writing business takes some planning for each leg of the journey, including time estimates, or you run the risk of ending up lost and out of gas.

Whether you use a paper planner system or electronic calendar, it is important to plan your schedule a week or two ahead.

Parcel out your time realistically, allowing for exercise and adequate sleep.

Having a written plan of action for the week will keep you moving forward and save precious time; when you get home from your day job, you will be ready to jump right on task without getting side-tracked.

  • How many hours do you have each day outside of your full-time job, commuting time, and sleep time?
  • Do you have family obligations?  Plan accordingly.
  • Schedule specific blocks of time to devote to your business development and your other responsibilities.
  • Remember to include a block of time for planning and updating your calendar!
  • Set goals for each week. For each block of time dedicated to building your successful writing career, schedule a specific task that will move toward that week’s goal.
  • Do you need to decide on a web host? Set a deadline for yourself to make the decision.
  • Are you taking business development courses like 30 Days to Freelance Writing Success? When will you work on lessons?

If you are scheduling a set day and time for writing pitches, be sure to calendar the follow-ups.

Pit Stops

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Save time and money by making a meal plan for the week.

You have to eat, and it is so much easier to have to spend one short block of time each week jotting down meal plans.  I write down a menu for each night of the week that has the main dish, sides.

A copy of the menu plan is posted on the refrigerator. Then I know if I need to pull something out of the freezer or load the slow-cooker on a given day.

The early weeks of building your business are extremely busy, as you will be creating the back-end of your business, in addition to writing. Be kind to yourself and plan meals that are easy to prepare and have little clean up.

Frozen pizza counts!

[alert-note]Keep your written menu plans. After you have three or four weeks of menu plans, don’t make any more. Just rotate the three or four that you have![/alert-note]

Enjoy the Ride

LAZV3U1L22As you complete each task, celebrate!

When you plan the coming week, pat yourself on the back for the ground you have already covered. Be proud of yourself!

Building a freelance writing business while working full-time is hard, but with your map in hand, you can make it to your destination and have fun along the way!
Debra Giuliano is a freelance writer for hire with a background in litigation support, mortgage banking, planning, organizing and home management. To read her blog or to contact Debra, visit her website ArtfullyChosenWords.com.

Ari Rule

I'm Ari — a freelance writer, digital marketer, and side-hustle guinea pig. HustlePineapple is where you'll find my best tactics for freelance success, blogging and social media tips, and ideas for profitable side-hustles. Connect with me on Twitter or Instagram @HustlePineapple

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4 Comments

  1. Katharine Paljug

    I love the way you phrase things here — it’s so true that you NEED to have a destination in mind as you build your business. I think so many of us start out thinking “I want to work for myself!” or “I want to be a writer!” — which is so vague it’s practically useless. Having concrete goals helps you identify the specific steps you need to achieve them.

    And, just as important, it lets you know when you need to change your strategy and come up with a new plan!

  2. Elna Cain

    I think planning and scheduling is THE most important in freelance writing. I’m a mother to twin toddlers and if I don’t plan out my day I know my little ones will take over and rule the house! Great tips!

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