How to Create a Freelance Business While Working Full-Time

I’m happy to join you this week for The Writer’s Life.

As Katie said, I’m now nearing the time when I’ll leave my job to become a full-time, freelance copywriter. It has been quite a journey, one I wouldn’t have traded for the world.

Thanks to my job, I didn’t have the pressure to make big money overnight. This allowed me to try writing in various niches with different types of clients. It helped me narrow my path to the finance and business opportunity niches that I love to write for now.

And, as an added bonus, I’ve met people along the way who are now wonderful friends.

Now, I know, when you’re working full-time, you probably won’t make the leap to a freelance business as quickly as you might like. You have to work around family and job schedules. And life can get pretty hectic at times.

But I’ve discovered strategies that make balancing a job, family, and side business a lot easier. This week, I’ll share my favorites to help you in your journey to the writer’s life.

So, let’s get started …

The first thing I suggest you do may seem simple, but it really is very powerful. To do it, just start at the end. And by end, I mean your end dream. This is your motivation. It’s the reason why you’re willing to sacrifice the time you would have spent playing golf or gardening to go for something greater.

Begin by asking yourself, “Why do I want to live the writer’s life?”

Perhaps you want to have the flexibility to work around your children’s schedules, or to be able to help aging parents when they need you. You may want financial security and the freedom it brings. Or perhaps you dream of setting your own course, being free to work where and when you want to.

It may be one or all of the above, but whatever your goal is, write it down. Then, put it somewhere you’ll see it every day, like your bulletin board or screen saver.

When you know what you’re moving toward, you’ll have inspiration to keep going. This is especially important on those days when you just want to plop on the couch instead of sitting down at your keyboard.

One of my dreams for the writer’s life is to have the freedom to travel while I “work.” Another – to write a book! What about you? Make your dreams concrete by sharing them here.

Tomorrow, I’ll tell you the most important lesson I had to learn before I could really move my copywriting business forward.

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Published: May 12, 2014

32 Responses to “How to Create a Freelance Business While Working Full-Time”

  1. My end dream is to work when I want, and where I want. I also want the flexibility and financial freedom to travel, help my children when they need it and last but not least care for grandchildren if and when they come along.


  2. The primary dream I have is to achieve financial freedom. By that I mean two things: to accumulate enough wealth that after I pass my wife will NOT be forced to work to make her way and, while I am still ticking, to enjoy an income that will enable my wife and me to build such wealth, visit family with impunity, contribute to worthy causes, and see the exotic places of the world.

    Tom Schenk

  3. I hope you write your novel, Chris. I am statistically OLD now and am in hot pursuit of passive income. One novel I wrote back in 1982 has to date earned me more than $100,000 over time and is still earning. Copywriting now lets me fill in the gaps.

    Pat McCord

  4. My dream is to set my own course and achieve financial security by working when & where I want. To enjoy the freedom to travel & work with a totally flexible lifestyle.

    Guest (Joyce R)

  5. Thank you Chris, you are right, there is a good time to jump and a time to sit.
    Must of us are afraid to jump, for many reason. Maybe we just need a good kit in the back side.

    Guest (Larry Cole)

  6. My goal is to work from the stern of my boat (which of course I'll buy when I achieve this goal)! I want to spend more time with family and travel. My parents are at that point where I have to care for them and I want to work my schedule, not some company's. Take my work where I go.

    Guest (Alicia Beselin)

  7. My goal is to achieve financial independence and the freedom it brings. I'd like to set my own schedule, be my own boss, travel and live life on my terms.

    Guest (Jason R)

  8. The goal is to be fulltime rv'ers and do a lot of traveling. The rv has been purchased and I think this will be a great way for me to make money on the road.

    Michelle L

  9. The primary goal is to exit the means by which I make my living currently, which is recruiting. it has become far too volatile, and even those of us with demonstrated talent are considered "expendable." I want my lifestyle to include dedicated focus on the craft at hand, not, "do this or else" kind of thing. I have actually started 2 books, and desire to develop my writing career far sooner (like NOW) rather than later. I want to be up and running in 90 days or less, far replacing $80K income.

    Chris Marker

  10. Thank you Chris for this insight. I want to live the writer's life to achieve financial freedom, get my life back and help my mother.


  11. The dream is financial freedom! Think about it constantly. I am determined to use the natural talent combined with the skills taught here to give my daughter and myself the life we deserve finally!

    Laura Mc

  12. My dream is the freedom to live and work from wherever I choose and of course to travel as I 've never been able to before!

    William S

  13. Great topic. I've been writing for a living for since 2002. Took a big decision. And took finding a niche I could get regular work from. Now, living in the country, my wife doesn't work, 2 kids (9 and 11), play squash 3x a week during work hours, etc. Nice. BUT... now my expenses (inflation) are outstripping my income. And I'm working 10 hours a day, grinding through lots of technical writing I really don't want to be doing! Any ideas to help me think this situation through?

    Guest (glr)

  14. I have written many genres for personal and professional purposes. People with whom have shared some of my personal work have made favourable comments. Now retired, I have more time for personal writing. I would like to write for two reasons - to supplement my income and have the flexibility to do so whenever and wherever I please, and, to have a sense of personal accomplishment and learning. Two areas of current interest are travel writing and children's literature.


  15. My dream is quite simple... to leave my soul sucking job with enough passive income to pay monthly expenses while still having plenty to invest. Ultimately, passive income will exceed expenses and provide the time freedom necessary to create many opportunities for contributing in even bigger ways... like mission trips and other volunteer work, world travel, building more businesses, and teaching others to be all they can be.


  16. My dream of a writer's life is to see poor children get educated in Pakistan.....

    Guest (Tauqeer)

  17. My dream is to become financial independent by doing something that challenges me and gives me the satisfaction of having created a successful freelance business from scratch. My dream is to be able to create value for the niche businesses I will be copywriting for. My dream is to take life into my own hands and drive it forward to areas I never imagined before.

    Guest (Stathis Sofogiannis)

  18. My hopes for the writer's life are exactly what you say it can give me. The ability to replace and exceed my current income without having to work a job I hate. The freedom... the money... the time. There is never enough time in life and it should be enjoyed. I hope the writer's is able to give that to me. I need help choosing niches to write about and understanding how to exactly get jobs though.


  19. Well first off, pinch me. In my fast forward I travel the world and get paid for the experience. I am more spontaneous and carefree, sharing more time with family and friends. I see myself learning new languages and stammering my way to new friendships. I would love to reclaim abandoned hobbies, like photography and learning to play piano. Instead of reaching for my snooze alarm for more sleep I’d be looking for ways to extend my days for more adventure.

    Guest (d-cornelius)

  20. Chris, Thanks so much for the topic. It's timely for me! My goal? To travel, write books, and share my income with my family. It's an exciting time, and I'm looking forward to it. Now working on the Accelerated Program, and when I finish that I'll begin, while studying Copywriting 2.0. I love learning, and trying new things, so best of luck to me and everyone else who are giving copywriting a try!


  21. To turn the current nightmare of my daughter's $85K student loan debt into my impossible dream of paying it off. Did I say impossible? I see the possibility in front of me and I am filled with inspiration and determination. Thank you AWAI and Thank YOU, Chris, for keeping us inspired!

    Teri Mazer

  22. My dream is to develop a career that offers flexibility, in my time and my location. I want to create enough income that would allow my husband and I to live together. Our current situation requires my husband to work away from home. We rarely have time off together. For the last 6 or 7 years we have been dreaming of what it would be like to actually have coffee together every morning and dinner together every night. Such a novel idea for a married couple!

    Guest (Monica)

  23. Hi Chris, Thanks for your advice on how to create a writing career while working full-time. I currently do not work full-time, but part-time with everything else I have going on in my life can seem like full-time work! My end dream is to have more flexibility with my time, I don't like always having to request time off to do things with my family, and it is not even a guarantee I will get the time off! Also financial security is a definite plus!! Thanks again for sharing, you are an inspiration!!


  24. I write romance and children's books and enjoy stretching into copywriting where I get to be smart and creative. I'm a private pilot with 3 kids and hubby. I want to play, travel. Write and do whatever my spirit leads, helping others. I want my kids to know they can live an amazing life outside the 9-5 job.

    Pam C

  25. I enjoy writing and will be writing a book in the near future. To do so takes time and concentration. Won't have the time to do so while working a regular job thus being a copywriter will allow me to have an income while allowing time to also write the book.
    I also love photography thus will also be able to travel worldwide and get some good pictures.
    Would like to thank the AWAI crew in advance for all the help you have and will be giving me.

    Mark Max

  26. What an amazing opportunity!! The idea of being my own boss, working where, when, and how I want excites me; to not have a boss breathing down my neck about nit-picky, moody things is more than freedom to me. I currently work a 31 hour/wk job at a hospital, barely scratching out a living. No money to put many others, I'm certain.

    I have a passion for the Relationship/Personality (self-help) niche. Currenty, I won a contest for writing a TV sitcom at work, if interested. Cheers!

    Guest (Evon)

  27. My biggest goal is to be able to split my time between my current home and my family home which are a thousand miles apart.

    I have wanted my own business for twenty years and have worked to become a writer since I was 12 years old! I've published a novella, about to publish another book of essays/writing prompts. I work in insurance as an underwriter and love the challenges of business. Would like to take these experiences to help others get their message out in the world.

    Andrea M

  28. I would like to buy a Zodiac Hurricanne or other such RIB so that I can boat beautiful Lake Superior during the summer months. I also love to write, and I'll be doing that -- cool!

    Guest (Dave)

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