April 2017 marks six years since I took the leap to working for myself as a freelance copywriter. Even after all this time, some days I still can’t believe my good fortune at being able to make a good living doing what I love. However, it is a job just like anything else. It requires self-motivation and organizational skills to do well. I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit so motivating myself to work isn’t so hard. Getting organized is another story. For this blog post, I would like to give you some insight into what my working life looks like day to day.
It’s a Juggling Act
Although Content Runner provides about half of my work, I am also registered at a few other sites and have a handful of direct clients thanks to my website and social media efforts. I also publish eBooks. Some days I have assignments to complete from several different sources. As I accept each new assignment, I put it into my Outlook calendar according to due date. I bring up a month at a time to give me a good visual of what I need to get done. Once I have submitted the assignment, I cross it off the list.
On days when I have many things due, I line up the assignments by the hour. Since I have been doing this for a while, I can usually make an accurate assessment of how long each assignment should take. It keeps me motivated and on-task.
I also like to keep track of money owed to me. For this, I use a cloud-based accounting system called Fresh Books. I create an invoice before I start writing the assignment. When the order originates from a site like Content Runner, I send the invoice to myself. I then mark it as paid once he or she has accepted the work. This helps me to see what I am earning rather than guessing. It also allows me to see outstanding invoices at a quick glance so I can manage my personal budget more accurately.
Have a Start and End Time
One of the great perks of this job is that I haven’t used an alarm clock in many years. That doesn’t mean I sleep until noon. I make it my goal to be up and working by 8:00 a.m. and I usually meet that goal. I then work in two segments of three to four hours each. I work at home in the mornings with only my two cats for company. The rest of the family is gone to work or school. If anyone happens to be home during my morning working hours, they know to leave me alone. My kids are 17 and 20, so I’m long past the days of them needing my full attention.
After completing my morning assignments, I eat lunch and head to a Caribou Coffee Shop. I started this about two years ago. I found I was going a bit stir-crazy being in the house all day and started to crave a little noise and human contact after a while. As writing requires a sustained mental effort, the drive to Caribou offers a nice break. I do wear earplugs while I am there so I stayed focused on my work and not everyone else’s conversations. It works well for me. Setting daily, weekly, and monthly goals for earning keeps me fully engaged in my work as well.
If a client requests revisions, I complete them in the evening once the house is quiet again. I find it interrupts the flow of my work to do them during my normal working day. I also use this time to promote my business and interact with others in the industry on social media. In addition, I attend a monthly meeting locally for women entrepreneurs. It’s not my favorite part of the job, but it helps me to avoid having too many days without enough work.
That’s just how I do things. How about you?