Over the weekend, I watched a movie called “Just One of the Guys” – a comedy about a young high school girl named Terri, aspiring to become a journalist someday. But her teachers gave her a few writers’ tips because they felt she didn’t have what it takes to be a serious writer, just beauty with no talent. So her school newspaper articles were rejected and she eventually, lost to a guy for a newspaper internship. This brought her to the conclusion that she was rejected because she was a woman. So she disguised herself as a man, entered a nearby high school and signed up to be in the school paper. This premise made me realize that women do have a certain non-edge when it comes to being taken seriously as a writer.
Well, historically speaking, men did dominate the journalism world. And even though there are already numerous advances of women in the field of journalism since the last century, alas, it is still male-dominated.
Which leads us to question, since it seems to be a world full of men in the field of writing, can women then, dominate the field of freelance writing? What are the pros and cons then in being a freelancing woman writer?
The art of freelancing
By definition, a freelancer is someone who is self-employed and offers some form of service to businesses, most oftentimes, to multiple clients. That means, any form of work or type of service in any kind of business could be provided by a freelancer, and that includes writing.
In today’s world of the Internet boom, content marketing and content writing, a freelance writer could and should be flexible in his or her talents. Not only should freelance writers be good in article writing but also in copywriting, blogging, technical writing, a little bit of creative web design, a little bit of bookkeeping and marketing, as in social media marketing and many more.
A freelance writer must be a one-stop shop for all your content material needs – a proverbial Jack-of-all-Trades, so to speak.
If you’re an employed woman and have thought about taking a giant leap of faith to becoming a full-time freelance writer, stop! Don’t overthink this question! Why? Because you are not alone in your dilemma and this has and will always come up in writing forums by women well into the future. You just need to know the advantages and disadvantages of doing freelancing, in particular, freelance writing.
Pros of being a woman freelance writer
You can start anytime
Ah the perks of having control of when you want to start freelancing. It could start just when you get your first client. Use your professional network or your network of friends to get you a writing gig. Your local PTA or your kids’ friends’ parents may need a writer for their business.
Not too expensive
So you didn’t become a writer overnight. You’ve had practice and you know how the Internet works and how personal websites work. You should have the right equipment in hardware and software which are already “paid for” so your real investment must be in creating your own website with the right business tools. You could also take advantage of free linking tools like LinkedIn where you can post your resume online, help you connect to the right people, and introduce yourself. There are plenty of women writers like you who seek freelance jobs so let them know you’re in the market.
You get to choose when to work
Isn’t that great? No punch cards to record when you start and when you end. No office where you have to be physically present which means you won’t need to travel. If you’re a mom, your punch card could be a hearty breakfast with your family. Your office? The entire bedroom!
You get to choose your clients and projects
As a starting freelancer, maybe it’s’ not a good idea to be choosy just yet. You could use the extra income, even if you don’t like the project. But once you’ve established yourself as a freelance writer, you can choose which ones to take and which ones to reject.
The demand is high
There is a growing need for quality and dependable freelancers. Yes the market is growing too and competition is getting stiffer. But in many businesses, they have more freelancers than actual employees. So the demand is indeed high.
You’re in control
You get your assignment, it needs to be delivered. But how you deliver it and create it, it’s really in your hands. If you’re distracted with house chores or a child’s homework, you can still have control when you have to.
Cons of being a freelancer
You have to have lots of patience
Be patient in wanting to earn big. If you’re single or don’t have a husband supporting you financially, you need to be patient. It’s really competitive out there and you could be discouraged by how slow your career is moving and earning. As your clientele grows, so will your income. Just be patient.
Workloads can differ
Some days or months are lean, some are super heavy. Be ready to have a backup plan on lean (less money) times plus a plan of action when work becomes too much to handle. Practice time management in order to meet deadlines and not disappoint clients and family members.
Payments may not be what you expect
Expect businesses to pay new freelancers less. So don’t set too high a price if you’re still new. Give a fair amount, then as you keep writing for them, you can charge higher. You can even find clients who are willing to pay top dollar for the quality work you do.
It turns out, most editors are male while most of your freelancing colleagues are women. But don’t be discouraged. If your passion is really into writing, then don’t be bothered by gender gaps in the freelance workplace. Let your high quality writing do the talking for you. Write your best foot forward and you surely make it. I think the gap will be smaller soon and men and women freelance writers will be on equal footing.
Think you can be one of those incredible women freelance writers? Then why don’t you join Iris Content and express yourself freely in a content marketing agency created by women and supported by women!
And what happened to Terri? Well, she still got rejected in the new school. Gender and looks apparently, were never the issue.