4 Reasons Not to Start a Freelance Writing Business

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Obviously, I’m a fan of the webpreneur lifestyle and helping others start their own freelance writing businesses.

So why then would I give you four reasons not to do it? Because it’s not for everyone. And sometimes it seems easier than it really is. And I’m not trying to lie to you.

Today I’m going to do just that. Give you a few reasons not to start a freelance writing business. Why it might not be for you after all. Let’s dive in!

1. You Eat What You Kill

Unlike in Corporate America, as a freelancer or self-employed individual you only get paid off of results. Or you only eat what you kill, if you like the hunting analogy better.

You don’t get to sit back and collect a paycheck month in, month out if your business isn’t doing well. There’s no skating by when it comes to running your own freelance enterprise.

You need to pitch to land clients. And you need to complete writing gigs to invoice for the work you’ve done. And even then sometimes you have to wait awhile to get paid.

In other words it takes a lot of effort. And even when you put forth that effort, there’s no guarantee you’ll make money. There are no guarantees of a next job, a paycheck or anything in this business really.

Starting your own business is full of risks. It’s a bit of a gamble y’all.

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2. There Aren’t Any Company Benefits

I’m sorry to break it to you, but when you work for yourself there are no benefits, unless you create and pay for them yourself.

There’s no vacation or sick time. And even if you take a vacation, you might still need to work.

There are no company provided insurance plans, no retirement accounts or stock options. If you want them, you have to go out and get them yourself and oftentimes they are more expensive and don’t cover as much. Anyone else out there have a $14,000 family deductible?

3. You Have to Be Super Self-Disciplined

I wonder how many people go into freelancing or starting their own business without realizing how self-disciplined you really need to be. I bet it’s more than you would think!

This ties into #1, if you’re lazy you won’t make any money. Especially, if you’re running a service-based business, which freelance writing definitely is.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I work harder (and more hours) now than I did at my day job. In some ways it’s okay, because I really enjoy my work. But I still struggle with that whole “work/life balance” and spending enough time with the family vs. working enough to ensure I can pay the bills.

But I’m not sure that most people are prepared for this reality. They think that their newfound freedom and flexible schedule warrants less work and less hours. And it can in some instances. But not usually right away!

4. It Takes Time

This might be one of the biggest misconceptions there is. Yes, you can launch a freelance business and bring in some extra income rather quickly.

But freelance writing is not for those looking to get rich fast. It takes time to build samples, get your name out there and have prospects start coming to you for writing work. (This is happening to me more and more and I LOVE IT!)

It takes time to build a website, write and add content to your blog and build a platform. It takes time for Google to recognize you and the work that you’ve been doing. You need to be in it for the long haul.

But It Is Possible…

I’m living proof of this. Despite the fact that there aren’t any guarantees and you eat what you kill, I was still drawn to launching my own freelance writing business a little over a year ago and have continued to build a rather successful online business.

No, there aren’t any company benefits. But my income isn’t capped either. I’m now at a point where I’m making more than my former salary. And I’m cognizant enough to know that I need to start providing my own benefits, like saving for my retirement again.

And lucky for me, I am rather self-disciplined naturally. And when I’m not, I either take a break to refocus and refresh or find a way to power through and do things anyway. I’m not tempted by the tv that lives nearby and an overflowing Netflix queue. I’m growing a lifestyle business that provides for my family and gives me freedom of time and schedule, even if I work a lot right now.

And since I have stuck with it for the long haul, my site is starting to get ranked better by Google. And people are starting to seek me out for writing work, rather than the other way around.

I’m not bragging by any means. I’m just letting you know that despite the challenges and roadblocks of starting your own freelance writing business, it is possible. And I wouldn’t have done anything different looking back!

Not Scared Away?

If you’ve been thinking about launching your own freelance writing business, check out my course, 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success. Take what I’ve learned and lessen your own learning curve when it comes to setting up and launching a successful freelance business. Why not you, why not now?

Which of the four above reasons trips (tripped) you up the most when you think about launching your own freelancing business (writing or otherwise)?

Ready to Kickstart YOUR
Freelance Writing Biz?
Grab two of our most popular workSheets and get started TODAY!

Photo credit: R. Jordan N. Sanchez via Unsplash

16 thoughts on “4 Reasons Not to Start a Freelance Writing Business”

  1. Hi Gina,
    Great post for those thinking about being a freelance writer. It’s tough. I think I read somewhere that within the first year more than half of freelance writers will quit.

    I’m nearing my first year and I can’t imagine quitting. I guess I know it’s for me! It’s tough. I don’t do this “full time” since I have twins and a house to take care of, but I’m managing.

    The work-life balance is a huge challenge and I always have to “check myself” daily.

    Great post!

    • You might not be doing it full-time, but you’re certainly doing it successfully Elna! Yes, work/life balance is a struggle, but at least we’re cognizant of it, right?

  2. I love it Gina!

    Currently working on the “self discipline” thing. I can do it fine for short periods of time (e.g. weeks) especially when I have a client project with a strict deadline. But when it comes to the long haul keeping myself motivated and building a business, that’s something I (and I believe many other freelance writers) struggle with.

    • For sure Daryl! Even I’m not exempt from that – in fact, today I’m battling some “sophomore slumps” and am working on a plan to break my current funk:-).

  3. Good article Gina. It’s a nice reminder that freelance work is hard work and that everyone is not cut out for it. The time it takes to actually build up a freelance business tripped me up at first. Well, it still does. We live in an instant gratification society, so when I start to work on something, I want to reap the benefits immediately. It makes me impatience. But I enjoy all types of writing because it allows me a bit of creativity while getting to work alone. I’m a natural introvert – so answering emails and making telephone calls are like a dream job for me. I’m in this for the long haul!

    • Self-employment is not for the faint of heart:-). It sounds like a good fit for your personality though. We all need to remember that anything good doesn’t come easy and that it WILL happen eventually; we just have to keep pressing forward!

  4. Great post, Gina! I’m weeks away from writing full-time, and weaved in with my excitement at doing what I love is fear. I make an awesome salary right now and it’s going to decrease significantly along with my wonderful corporate benefits, and money to spend on pedicures, and trips to the hairdresser. Sigh!

    Although I’m ahead of the game with savings set aside and three steady clients, I’m still nervous about not getting a set monthly income.

    Here’s to jumping in with both feet! 🙂

  5. Hi Gina! This post is true. I am not new to being self employed, as I’ve been a boutique and salon owner for over 10 years, but to sharing my experience in writing, yes, very much so! These tips are dead on! I’m beyond nervous about getting out there, but I have a little more help than some. My husband is the bread winner and supports me, and our 2 yr. old. I like that you are a mother of small children and can relate to how work/life balance with babies and toddlers is a whole other aspect! Thank you for sharing your stories

  6. Great post, the self discipline is hard! Plus I’m working from home with the kids so I really have to work smart. It’s a great challenge though, I’m loving it! Freelance is the way to go for me.

    • You bet! You and Jennilyn should connect from the FB 30 Days or Less group – you’re both trying to do similar things. It IS possible, just not easy:-).

  7. Hi Gina, so true! Although I have doen work over the last couple of years only now am I starting to get somewhere in terms of all that it entails…reworking my website every time, finding time to add blogs, information and reading up on websites like yours, Elna’s and many others. Yes, it is overwhelming but I am determined not to let those 4 reasons get me down.

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