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Can you make a living as a freelancer?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by ogre, Jul 7, 2006.

  1. ogre

    ogre Member

    Now, I know that it's possible once you are an established name. But before that happens, (kind of a catch 22) is it possible to make enough scratch without a full-time job?

    Please say yes.
  2. Smasher_Sloan

    Smasher_Sloan Active Member

    Depends on how much money you need to live on, what kinds of assignments you're willing to take, how much you're willing to work and how good/reliable you are. Also depends on where you live and how much demand there is for what you do.

    Some people can do it, some can't.

    You'd better be reliable, versatile, resourceful and flexible. In other words, if you have a wife and three kids, you'd probably better get something more stable.
  3. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    I know of one guy, who works his fingers to a bone.
  4. friend of the friendless

    friend of the friendless Active Member

    Mr Petty,

    I know that I have to work far harder for myself than I was ever asked to work as an employee. I do, however, have the greatest boss in the world--and, no, not Mrs FoF.

    YHS, etc
  5. if you're going to try, you'll want to have at least one big-time reliable source of steady work. a place - magazine, major web site, paper, radio, whatever - where you can rely on getting a mininum amount of work per month or year. it just helps to have that solid starting point. if everything else dries up you still have that.
  6. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

  7. Lion_Woods

    Lion_Woods Active Member

    I was a stringer for nearly two years and I'd highly recommend against doing it. You're basically at the mercy of the paper or magazine. When they need you, they will call and life will be good. But expect to go a month or two without getting any work. I remember writing the bulk of the stories for a major metro all high school season and when the summer hit it was like, "Thanks for busting your ass during the season. We'll call you in three months." Then there is dealing with the taxes, etc., and it's a hassle. My suggestion would be to get a full-time job, or even a part-time job that pays decent and freelance on the side. Because unless you're doing major freelance for a magazine, you're going to have a hard time making ends meet.
  8. PopeDirkBenedict

    PopeDirkBenedict Active Member

  9. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    Depends what you mean by "living."

  10. Monkey

    Monkey Member

    Does anyone have any experience using Freelance Work Exchange? They have a $2.95, seven-day trial and I'm tempted to check it out. I believe it's $30/month after that.
  11. hockeybeat

    hockeybeat Guest

    Talk to Dan Hickling.

    There are some times that are much healthier than others. Fall and winter are great times to be a freelancer. You have football, basketball, baseball, hockey. During the summer, you have baseball and not much else.  
  12. leo1

    leo1 Active Member

    i tried it. i failed. i know others who do it though. the posters who say you need at least one steady gig are correct -- depending on how much you need to live, you probably need to be sure of about $10-20K a year from this one steady gig.

    it also helps if you're willing to do non-journalism freelancing -- writing for corporations and stuff. you're literally writing for employe newsletters, press releases, brochures, etc., that's tough to break into because those jobs aren't really advertised but it can pay well and be a steady source of work.

    and it really really helps if you have a spouse who has a steady job, so if you have bleak times, you don't suffer. and you get his or her health insurance.
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