Q: As a full-time freelancer, what essentials do I need to make a living?
Freelance writing has the lowest overhead of any business I know. And with the wonders of technology, it’s even cheaper than when I started 15 years ago. I very rarely spend money on postage, envelopes or paper and even my incoming faxes go right to my email. (I pay $12.95/month for unlimited faxes through eFax.com. I’m saving trees, I can store them on my computer, and there’s no loud fax to wake up my two little kids.)
Obviously, a good computer is your biggest investment. I have two Macs – a desktop and a laptop. They read PC and Mac files and include a new drag-and-drop program that lets users with no experience create websites for themselves.
I highly recommend that you create a website describing your experience and expertise. You can send a link to your site when you apply for gigs (rather than or in addition to sending a whole resume) and you can even post samples of your work, your photo, and links to your articles on the Web.
I also recommend a 3-in-1: printer, copier, fax (for sending). Nowadays, you can get one for less than $100 and it’ll save you trips to Kinko’s.
Spend the money on a comfy chair, as you’ll be sitting in it for many hours a day (and night). Ditto with a good wrist pad.
And finally, I highly recommend investing in high-speed Internet access. You can talk on the phone while you check email or download files, and big files download in seconds rather than minutes.
Wendy Burt is a successful full-time freelance writer and editor who has more than doubled her income since leaving her job as a newspaper editor just four years ago. With two women’s humor books for McGraw-Hill and more than 1,000 published pieces, Wendy’s work has appeared in such varied publications as Family Circle, The Writer, MSNBC.com, NewYorkTimes.com, Home Cooking Magazine and American Fitness. Wendy teaches “Breaking Into Freelance Writing” and still finds ample time to spend with her beautiful children, Gracie and Ben. Visit www.BurtCreations.com to see books by Wendy and her award-winning dad.