Freelance Writer & Editor

"I am a freelancer writer and editor. My currency is my reputation for quality. I like the variety and the independence my work provides. I care deeply about my work, choosing clients who share my values and solving problems that challenge me. But being “choosy” about clients and projects means that I’m in 24/7 business development and networking mode; if I’m not bringing in new writing or editing business, no one is. This is both exciting and sometimes scary. My goal is to grow my freelance business revenue to the point that I can hire a small team of collaborators."

Salary Range:

$49,000 - $69,000

The Tip

Aspire to start your own company someday, but spend your first ten years working for other people who’ll teach you how to do this well.

Priority Knowledge & Skills
Job-Specific Skills

Be an expert in the following job-specific skills:

  • Ability to generate new story ideas

  • Ability to pitch and sell story ideas

  • Conducting secondary research

  • Ability to conduct qualitative research

  • Ability to identify target audiences

  • Ability to develop a compelling narrative

  • Ability to develop an evidence-based story

  • Ability to curate third-party content

  • Ability to use specialized communications and design technology

Job-Specific Knowledge

Be an expert in the following job-specific knowledge areas:

  • Deep knowledge of human behaviour

  • Broad expertise in current events

  • Ability to link content to audience

  • Expertise in use of language

 

Additional Areas
  • Business development and sales

  • Business acumen including budget management

Core Transferable Skills

Be an expert at all core transferable skills:

  • Thinking skills

  • Communications skills

  • Organizational skills

  • Interpersonal skills

  • Technical literacy

Building Block Experiences
Education & Learning:
  • Bachelor of Communications (journalism)

  • Completed multiple courses in small-business management

  • Certificate in digital design

  • Sales training from Mike Weinberg’s Sales Simplified course

 

"I am driven by a new challenge. I am a life-long learner and as a freelancer I cannot become complacent. I am being paid for my expertise so I need to always be updating my skills."

Employment Experiences:
  • Editor of university newspaper

  • Internship at local radio station as a copywriter

  • Copywriter and editor at local communications firm

  • Did freelance writing and editing contracts concurrent to my agency role. This enabled me to build confidence I could be my own boss and still pay the rent.

  • Today, I have a breadth of community writing and editing projects and the luxury to choose work I find challenging

 

"Working for a communications agency was critical for my career. I couldn’t imagine becoming a freelancer out of school. Being in an agency taught me how to work with clients and deliver on their needs. This is the kind of stuff you cannot learn in a classroom. Once, I became confident in my skill I started planning my career as a freelancer."

Community Experiences:
  • Volunteer at local community radio station as a copywriter

  • On board of my university’s capital campaign

  • Active as mentor in alumni association

 

"Being in a leadership position at the school newspaper taught me key networking skills. This led to me to building confidence and having the skills to support business development. To be a freelancer you must have the confidence to go find and then ask for the business."

Contextual Experiences:
  • Took a six-month sabbatical and travelled through Africa and Australia

 

"As a freelancer, I can manage my own schedule and time. This creates opportunities for more freedom and “me” time."

Relationships:
  • Had a senior mentor at an agency early in career

  • My spouse has taken time out from their career while our children are in preschool

 

"My career map isn’t for everyone because it can create personal and professional stress. Balance is difficult as a freelancer, but my spouse and mentor are my rocks. They push me back on course when I lose balance and perspective."