Hi, my name’s Rosie.
I’m a freelance writer and specialize in wedding and lifestyle niches.
I’m based in Canterbury, Kent, UK and am loving every second of my new business venture!
I recently launched my freelance writing business and managed to quit my full-time job in under six months.
This career change has definitely changed my life for the better. I now have complete location freedom and I’m the happiest I’ve been in months.
If you’re looking to achieve similar results, then you’re in the right place. I have some handy hints and tips to help you hit the ground running especially if you’re a writer in the UK thinking about taking the plunge.
Let’s dive on in.
1) Don’t Limit Yourself to Clients in the UK
If you want to grow your business quickly, consider working with international clients.
None of my current clients are based in the UK! So, don’t think for a second you have to limit yourself to national clients.
Think bigger than that.
In fact, all my regular clients are based in the States. The majority of US companies searching for freelance writers are totally cool with hiring people from outside the states. So, don’t let this limit you.
Working alongside companies based in different countries is much easier than it sounds, so don’t worry about this too much. All you need is a PayPal account, a Skype account, and regular access to your emails.
In most cases, international clients tend to prefer paying via PayPal because it’s easy, quick, and secure to do.
Plus, your Skype and email accounts will rapidly become your new best friends. You’ll save a ton of money communicating with your customers in comparison to talking over the phone.
However, there are a few things you need to bear in mind when you’re dealing with international clientele:
The Time Difference
You need to be very clear on the time difference. This is imperative when it comes to submitting your assignments on time. Make sure you clearly communicate with your client to establish the correct time zone they’re referring to.
Then mark in your calendar when the assignment/meeting/draft (whatever) is due-in your time.
This is by far the easiest way of staying on top of all of your writing commitments.
In some cases, the client might ask that you adjust to their time zone so you can be on the same page with the rest of their team.
Difference in Currency
When pricing up a job, bear in mind the exchange rate. At the time of writing this article, the US dollar is weaker than the pound. So, make sure you work out the difference correctly, so you don’t undercharge – this mistake is easy to make.
Difference in Spelling
You have to remember that US and Australian English is slightly different to the UK. My best advice is to purchase Grammarly and set the country you’re writing for.
This will pick up on any differences and correct it for you.
2) Find High-Quality Jobs
If you’re searching job boards for writing gigs, make sure you’re using the right tools so you get paid what you deserve.
You’re a professional and should be treated like one.
This is where Contena can really help. I saved so much time using their job board, submissions, and leads.
It was these leads that put me in contact with almost all of my clients.
3) Don’t Quit Your Day Job Until You’re Able to Support Yourself
Before I became a full-time freelance writer, I was the Events and Content Coordinator for an online marketing company.
Towards the end of my employment, I was practically working two nine to fives. There’s no way I would’ve given up my job if I wasn’t in a position to support myself.
I had rent, bills, and food to pay for, so I couldn’t just throw caution to the wind to follow my dreams.
Take your time and be patient- your business will eventually take off as well.
4) Schedule Your Time
This next piece of advice links to my previous point. If you’re new to freelancing, then you’re probably doing something else on the side. Like working a job or studying.
This means planning your time, staying focused, and above all, getting organized.
Luckily, freelance writing is super flexible so you should be able to fit this around whatever lifestyle you’re living.
Personally, I live about an hour away from my hometown. My Mum has Fridays off, so now I’m able to spend the afternoons with her and not worry about work.
5) Take Advantage of Your Location Freedom
One of the best things about being a freelance writer is your location freedom.
Utilize this. Especially if you love to travel. You can still earn while on the move- what’s better than that?!
You don’t have to go to the same stuffy office every day. Treat yourself and head out to Cafe Nero and enjoy their delicious frappes while typing up your latest blog post.
On that same note, set up a home workspace. You should enjoy your working environment.
Maybe hang inspirational quotes around your desk or put up pictures of family, or hang bunting on the nearby walls – whatever your style is, indulge in that and make it your own.
You could even create a motivational playlist- I can’t get enough of listening to Ellie Goulding while I get to work.
6) Register as Self-Employed
Now for the boring part. If you’re in the UK, you need to register with “Revenue and Customs” as a sole trader.
This helps to ensure you run your business legitimately and pay your taxes. On this same note, I recommend hiring an accountant as soon as you start writing full time.
If you’re thinking about getting a mortgage in the future, you’ll need to show at least three years worth of itemized accounts. These need to be done meticulously to be approved. So rest assured, the expense of an accountant will pay off in the long run.
In the interim, be sure to note down all your income and all of your work expenses so you can hand them over to your accountant when the time comes.
7) Coworking Spaces
Have you considered going down to your local co-working space?
Hiring a hot desk and networking with other freelancers isn’t just a great way of beating the occasional loneliness that comes with being self-employed, it also comes with added benefit of scoring writing gigs.
Other freelancers like photographers, videographers, small brick and mortar style businesses, etc. often use these spaces and need freelance writers for their web content – so what are you waiting for?
I hope the above advice has given you some direction when it comes to kickstarting your career as a UK freelance writer.
Once you’re able to kiss goodbye to your nine to five and enjoy location freedom, you’ll feel like a weight is lifted off your shoulders. Go out there and find those high paying writing gigs.
Apply for them, wherever you’re based, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Best of luck!