happy hour in paris, what it's like to be a freelancer, freelancing full time, london

When I say I’m a freelance writer/content marketer/SEO/anything I can get my hands on, people ask me questions like “What do you actually do?” or “What are your days like?”

I’m writing this so people can get an idea of what I do – emphasis on the I. By the end of the week, you’ll have a bit of an idea of how I schedule my work, the kind of work I do, and potentially the most interesting:  how much I make. Enjoy!

* * *

Friday June 5

7:15 — No dawdling today. I have a bunch of client- and self-imposed deadlines, and a ballet class from 10-11:30. I’ll be prioritizing work I want to send to clients before their work day is out (which is any time between 4pm and 12am London time – my clients span the Western hemisphere).

7:30 — On my laptop, coffee in hand. I’m sitting up on the couch for the first time while working at home. I read some messages, but only respond to emails that need urgent answers (are there ever any?).

8:50 — I finish the first article for the client I mentioned on Thursday that got back to me with the topics he wanted. I have to leave my house in about 30 minutes to get to my class on time. Do I bring my laptop and work at the Hackney Picturehouse? Do I go home so I can have lunch? Should I do my client’s social media scheduling before I get in the shower? SoManyQuestions.

12:45 — I’m home. I decided against going to the cinema – I just wanted to focus and eat at home. Not that I do – I buy a croissant from the shop below my flat, make one of my  air quote cappuccinos and I’m on the laptop.

“No one can take writing away from you, but no one can give it to you, either.” — Meg Wolitzer

13:00 — Social media scheduling for half an hour – it involves reading articles, looking for relevant discussions, and coming up with pithy tweets. I only schedule about 6 per day, so 5 minutes a tweet isn’t bad! (?) There’s a relevant conference happening so I look for ways to get involved in the discussion.

13:30 — I finish up the airport I started on last night. There’s a lot of sideways thinking to find good information.

15:00 — The airport is finished. I have two more articles to write and I have no idea which one to start on. The real deadline for one is tomorrow but I prefer not to work on the weekends, besides minor housekeeping, edits, or accounting. I sometimes do social media scheduling for the week ahead. When all is said and done, I could wrap everything up and 6 and have no work this weekend – if I don’t procrastinate. Which I am by writing this!

16:30 — Another article complete. I spend about 10 minutes sending invoices and writing quick follow-up emails with clients.

16:45 — Research begins. Again! New travel article to be written. It’s finished in about 45 minutes, though there is still some photo sourcing to be done and perhaps a round of edits [Update: No edits, client is happy first time around!].

17:30 — As if on cue, I get a call from Tom. We discuss plans for the evening and weekend, because it. has. arrived.

Words Written: 2,348

Articles Completed: 4

Saturday June 6

“I don’t believe in conclusions. I think that human idiocy perpetuates itself.” — Joseph L. Mankiewicz

9:30 — I source photos and schedule a blog post for my travel client, and that’s probably all I’ll do for the day. I work on this while Tom has breakfast (if you hadn’t noticed, I don’t really eat breakfast).

Update:

That is correct. I did no other work today. Except digest. See Instagram photo above for evidence.

Sunday June 7

I didn’t turn on my laptop all day, which is actually quite an accomplishment in the modern world, if you ask me. Not that you did. No, I don’t have an iPad. I do get emails to my phone and I got one from my airport app client: “No edits, I’ve released the funds!” And I was suddenly rich.

* * *

In 7 Days I Made…

US $803 (£518) and £240 (US $366).

Am I making life changing sums of money? Nope. But in one week (or 11 articles, 7,355 words, and way less than a standard 40-hours) I’ve already covered my rent and bills. Any money I make in the next three weeks covers going out and saving up.

Of course, I won’t see all of this money this month (for some it may even be three months), which is why I can’t just work one week a month and call it quits.

Also, I love my clients (they really are awesome!) and they depend on me. Plus, I can’t complain about the lifestyle: I’m able to pursue my hobbies (6 dance classes this week!), hang out with friends, and explore London as I please.

I know some freelancers work less and make more; others work more and make the same or less; others work more and make more.

It comes down to a few things:

1) Priorities. I’m a single woman sharing a Zone 2 flat with one person in London. My expenses aren’t as high as, say, someone with a family, a business property, or who prefers to live alone in Zone 1.

2) Experience. I make more money while working less because of the value I provide to clients. My rates reflect that.

3) Balance. Some people work more because they just love what they do. Don’t get me wrong – I love writing and helping my clients achieve their business goals, but I also love to travel, dance, and go out with friends. I also need a lot of down time to keep myself “together”.

4) Selection. I choose long-term clients that allow me to have a steady income, while leaving me the bandwidth to pursue new one-off gigs when I need to or when the opportunity arises.

So, what do you think? There’s definitely room for improvement with my work habits but I really believe in balance. Are you a freelancer? Are you thinking of becoming one? Do you have any questions for me? I’ll answer in the comments!

Photo courtesy of beyrouth via Flickr.

2 thoughts on “A Week In The Life: Friday & Saturday We Chilled On Sunday”

  1. Hi Alyssa, We met in Dublin at TBEX – I’ve really enjoyed reading your week – thanks for sharing – it’s nice to see an honest post about juggling projects and time. The dance classes sound brilliant too 😀 Pam

    1. Yes, I remember! I hope you’re well, and thanks for following the week! I’m pleased that you enjoyed it 🙂

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