The Writer’s Life Doesn’t Have to Mean Freelance

Rebecca Matter

Les Worley had a dilemma on his hands … or at least it seemed like one …

“If you can spare 10 minutes, I’d really appreciate it. I need help with a huge decision,” his email read.

A quick call later, he realized what he had was a choice.

Les, an AWAI Circle of Success member, had hit his stride as a freelance copywriter and had been riding the success wave for a good year. But one of his clients — who had become quite large — valued the relationship in a very big way. So much so, they asked him to come on board full-time.

“They want me to take a J-O-B! That’s not what the writer’s life is all about,” Les exclaimed.

It wasn’t the first time I’d had this conversation with a writer …

Believe it or not, it’s a common problem for many freelancers. And when the situation presents itself, they feel conflicted … wondering what to do … agonizing over the decision.

After all, taking a full-time writing job means giving up the writer’s life, right?

Not necessarily.

No one ever said the writer’s life had to mean freelance.

Living the writer’s life is all about choices …

The choice to work with whom you want to work with, the choice to work where you want to work, the choice to work whatever time of day you want, the choice to make the kind of money you want …

And as I told Les that day, everyone’s definition of freedom is different. If you approach the situation the right way, you can still have the life you want with a full-time writing gig.

You just need to evaluate the decision like you would any other business decision.

After all, there are benefits of taking a full-time gig.

You might prefer a full-time writing gig if …

1. You love being part of a team.

As a freelance writer, you’re often working solo.

Maybe you’d like to contribute to the ideas earlier on, rather than just being handed the assignment. Or you’d like to collaborate on projects, to come up with even better Big Ideas and expand the scope even more.

Granted, you can work towards this with clients, even as a freelancer. Many freelancers who have worked for me for years feel more like team members. But that’s another article. :)

2. You LOVE what you’re writing about and want to put all your efforts into it.

It’s kind of like deciding to date exclusively. You value the time you spend with that special person more than anyone else, and would rather focus on making that particular relationship stronger.

And while I wouldn’t recommend an “all your eggs in one basket” strategy as a freelancer, it’s definitely a benefit of full-time writing gigs.

3. You want more focused experience.

Many writers take full-time gigs to take a deeper dive into their niche and become stronger writers. Working with the same people, writing about the same products, and targeting the same prospects again and again can give you a much deeper education in writing effective copy.

4. You want income stability.

Of course there are other ways to ensure stable income as a writer — like taking on retainer deals, working on assignments with royalties, etc. But a salary that comes every other week, and maybe health benefits and paid time off, can definitely be a benefit.

But what about freedom? What about flexibility? What about making the money you want to make?!?

You don’t have to give up the writer’s life when you’re working full-time.

You CAN have your cake and eat it too!

You just need to set yourself up to live the life you want …

First, think of the “full-time gig” as a one-year contract. Freelancers sign these types of deals all the time.

Even though you’re “full-time” on paper, it’s really no different. You can walk away at any time. So tell yourself that you’ll re-evaluate the deal each year and decide if it’s something you want to continue.

Bottom line: This is not a lifetime decision. And you’re still progressing your copywriting career.

Next, ask to work from home and maintain a flexible schedule.

If you’ve been freelancing up until now, it’s clear you’re capable of managing your own schedule and getting your work done without being in the office.

Of course, you’ll have to be available for meetings. But that’s no different from any other freelance writer.

Finally, make an offer YOU can’t refuse.

Remember, the client is asking YOU to come on full-time. That means you’ve already proven your value, and you’re in a strong position to negotiate.

Now if you accept, you’ll likely be giving up the potential of other freelance work …

What’s an amount that’s worthwhile? What’s the figure that you couldn’t walk away from if the client agreed? Start there!

Now you’ve got the benefits of a full-time writing gig with the freedom of a freelancer.

Sounds like the writer’s life to me!

And if you want to go for the bonus win, ask for a non-exclusive. Not all clients will agree to this, but it can’t hurt to ask.

Reassure them that their work will come first. But also stress the benefit of staying connected to other industries and non-competing companies. You’ll be able to bring in new ideas and keep things fresh.

Remember, no one ever said the writer’s life has to be a freelance writer’s life. You have the freedom to define what it means to you.

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Published: May 24, 2017

6 Responses to “The Writer’s Life Doesn’t Have to Mean Freelance”

  1. Hi Rebecca.
    In my case, I still work from home most of the time, can flex my schedule, and have a non-exclusive. I'm still freelancing, but I keep it on the side. There's definitely more than one road to the writer's life.

    Les WorleyMay 24, 2017 at 12:46 pm

  2. My ideal gig would be writing to promote the progress and political influence of renewable energy in our nation's capital. Get our leaders to see the benefits, explore the technology, and help its funding. Reverting back to oil based products is a mistake that should not happen. Help both the military and the federal gov't to convert over could be a goal also.

    Guest (Gerald Frys )May 24, 2017 at 2:34 pm

  3. Hi Will and Rebecca, A full time Job isn't the writer's life,to work the hours you like to take trip or two ,well that's the writer's life,all right AWAI members.

    Guest (Darrick)May 24, 2017 at 11:03 pm

  4. I have been taking some of your courses...Just completed Js email copy made easy.I must say it was all very abstract and foreign to me prior to studying J's package.I am glad that I did.
    Another session that helped me better understand what copy writing is all about- is the one offered last Friday by Rebecca explaining how much a copy writer could earn and projects they could take on over a weekend.
    My background is adult education and health care...And I believe very strongly that case studies will work for me.
    I am in the process of designing a web site and wonder if I need to have it in order to write case studies.
    I consider myself a slow starter,but I am getting a sound understanding of the copy writing profession.Thanks.


    Guest (Rita)May 25, 2017 at 1:58 pm

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