June 10, 2021
I’m hesitant to introduce myself a freelance writer. Maybe it’s imposter syndrome, or maybe it’s because I’m still working to meet my monthly income goal.
In any case, I’m writing this as a learner and a beginner, someone who has a long way to go. I don’t have all the answers or experience. I mean, I only made about $15/hour on my last job!
But that’s okay.
It’s okay to start small.
It’s okay to grow something slowly.
And it’s definitely okay to stay humble and be grateful for the opportunities that come your way.
I am a firm believer – and I know some people will disagree – that you should take opportunities as they come up, even if you are earning less money then you want to. At the beginning, the experience and social capital of 5-star reviews is more important then “earning what you are worth.”
And I don’t mean to trivialize that statement – freelancers should 100% earn what they are worth! But I also think it’s important to start small and build your way up. As a beginner, there needs to be humility and a growth mindset, rather then demanding what you are owed.
I got into freelance work about 4 months ago. I had left a job that wasn’t right for me at the end of 2020, planning to take some time off and really discover what I wanted to do. I was browsing job boards endlessly, but nothing appealed to me. So, I did what all of us have done before:
I Googled, “How to make money online.”
This led me pretty quickly to Rev, an online transcription website. I applied, was approved, and quickly started completing transcriptions. I’m pretty sure I averaged about $11/hour. My first paycheque, if you can even call it that, was $14.97.
But still, there was a total thrill of earning some money on my own terms, just from my laptop at home. This prompted me to keep up the transcription work while seeking something with higher earning potential. I made a profile on Upwork and began to bid for editing and proofreading jobs, something that came naturally to me as a native English speaker who is obsessed with grammar and spelling.
Again, I started small. I made $2.00 on my first job, and not much more on the next few. But then, I started getting gigs that were actually pretty decent. On top of that, I’ve been able to branch out in to different areas, writing for travel and lifestyle blogs, editing personal memoirs, and writing product descriptions.
I love that every day is different and I can learn something new all the time. I now am booking gigs regularly and the momentum keeps building. Clients have come back to me for repeat work and my confidence is growing every day.
I wouldn’t have gotten here without remembering, “It’s okay to start small.” I gave myself that permission to go for it, to really try it out, and just see where it goes. So far, I’m loving it. I feel motivated and excited to get to work every day. It just feels like a matter of time before it grows into a full-time career. I’m excited to see what’s next!
If you’re reading this, just on the edge of jumping in and getting started – go for it. You are allowed to start small and work your way up. There is no pressure on you to do big and crazy things right at the beginning. You can take it a step at a time: build your portfolio, confidence, and social proof. Focus on quality of work and excellent customer service. Things will grow when you give them a chance. Good luck!
Alyssa is an aspiring freelance writer, editor, and proofreader from Vancouver, Canada. After years of working different jobs, hoping to find that “perfect” one, she stumbled into freelancing – it instantly clicked! She works primarily on Upwork, offering a variety of services, and loves the diversity and independence that comes with freelancing. Alyssa loves hiking, traveling, and a good cup of coffee, all day every day!
Work with Alyssa!