Freelance Work-at-Home Careers Allow Writers to Make Great Livings and Work When, Where, and with Whom They Want
Recent bans on working at home by corporate giants Yahoo! and Best Buy have no effect on the rising number of freelance writers who've chosen careers outside the unpredictable corporate world.
When new Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer announced a few weeks ago that the company would no longer allow “remote” workers, the mainstream press was all over the story. And the decision, along with Mayer's assertion that telecommuters weren't as effective as their in-office colleagues, ignited a debate on the value and practicality of work-at-home employees. These workers communicate with co-workers and supervisors through phone, email, or instant message.
The decision was a real head-scratcher for a few reasons.
First, Yahoo! is all about promoting the mobile working world through its services. Second, it flies in the face of the current trend toward telecommuting, a long-standing option at tech companies and increasingly in all industries. Eighty-five percent of Fortune magazine's 100 Best Companies to Work For have a telecommuting program. And 63% companies in the United States offer that option, up from 34% in 2005.
Why is “teleworking” so popular? Companies report that employees who work from home are happier, more productive, and more loyal.
But this concept isn't reserved for big business. There is a select group who work at home and enjoy those benefits – and many more – but are immune to the sort of corporate decision Marissa Mayer just made: freelance writers.
For this group, working at home is not a perk; it's a central part of the job and can never be taken away.
“Freelancers may have clients to answer to, but they don't have to work a 9 to 5 schedule. Plus they have the unique ability to pick and choose what projects they want to work on, when the topic – and money – is right,” says Rebecca Matter, American Writers & Artists Institute Co-Managing Partner. “That sort of freedom is attracting more and more people to freelance opportunities these days."
Of course, not all freelance writing is created equal. The popular view of the freelance writer is of the “starving artist” struggling with finding a publisher for a novel or an editor to accept his or her magazine article.
But there are much more lucrative freelance writing niches, with a much lower barrier to entry. In fact, with many of these opportunities, beginners, with the right training, are hired for high-paying projects.
Freelance copywriting, for example, is advertising writing for products and services in the form of sales letters, web pages, sales emails, video scripts, and many more different media. In grant writing, a freelancer helps organizations get the funding they need to continue their important work. Then there's social media marketing – a great way to indulge a love of Facebook and Twitter but get paid at the same time.
Freelance writing attracts people of all ages and backgrounds. Their common bond is a desire to escape the rat race and achieve financial freedom on their own terms.
American Writers & Artists Institute member Krista Magidson has been a stay-at-home mom for 14 years and started copywriting a little over a year ago to earn money but keep her flexible schedule. She works around her kids' school functions and activities on projects involving online copy, desktop publishing, website copy, and more.
“Being a freelancer has helped me to have a career that is flexible, which I love,” says Krista. “But what started out as something that I thought would help me to earn enough money to help with my family's finances and keep my children out of daycare has turned into a job that I absolutely love.”
Steve Roller, an American Writers & Artists Institute member for nine years, has used his career as a freelance copywriter to not just work at home … but work from around the world, including a recent month-long stint overseas.
“One of my career highlights so far is creating an entire campaign – landing page, email autoresponders, and online video script – for a fitness marketing client that doubled their previous sales,” says Steve. “The client was thrilled, and their professional opinion of me went way up. I was pretty stoked, too! It was one of my better projects so far. The interesting thing is, I never met or even talked to the client – we did everything through email and a project site called Basecamp. And I wrote it all while I was on vacation in Ecuador!”
Krista and Steve are just two of hundreds of writers who are enjoying the benefits of the freelance life.
They, like their colleagues, are free to pick and choose projects, and work when and where they want. It's the ideal alternative to the standard 9 to 5 job.
Those who aren't stay-at-home moms or world travelers can use their newfound time freedom to engage in treasured hobbies, volunteer in the community … whatever they'd like.
For more information on work-at-home careers, check out this special report from AWAI: https://www.awai.com/work-at-home/