Things Every Freelance Journalist Needs When Working from Home
Working as a freelance journalist can come with plenty of desirable perks and benefits, but it also has its drawbacks, particularly if you’re not adequately prepared. Whether, you’ve just started freelancing or have been doing it for a little while and are trying to become more organised and professional, there are certain steps you can take to create a more comfortable and secure working situation. With that said, here are 10 things every freelancer writer should have when working from home:
When you’re working as an independent freelance journalist, there’s a good chance that you won’t have employer-provided insurance. Because of this, you’ll need to take care of this aspect yourself by purchasing the necessary insurance coverage. This might include getting a term life insurance policy, health insurance, dental insurance, renter’s insurance, or home owner’s insurance. Speaking with an insurance agent about your insurance needs and accurately factoring these costs into your monthly budget will help you determine how high you need to set your rates and how many hours/projects you need to work each month.
An Executive Desk
Sure, it’s possible to work from your laptop or table while sitting on your couch, but when you’re serious about pursuing freelance journalism as a career, it’s better to have a large desk. It’ll not only help with organization, but it also provides a bit of a confidence and morale boost by giving you a prestigious workstation to live up to. A small corner desk might seem sufficient initially, but eventually you’ll want to expand to something more spacious to accommodate a larger monitor and faster desktop PC setup.
An Ergonomic Chair
Many people overlook the importance of working in an adjustable and ergonomic chair to avoid posture problems and repetitive stress injuries. Although ergonomic chairs are typically more expensive than a standard office chair, they’re well worth the investment when you consider the pain and hassle they will save you in the long-term.
A Designated Office Space
Just as a comfortable desk and chair are imperative items for every freelance writer to have, so is a private office space. Depending on your living situation, you may have to resort to converting a corner of your bedroom or living room into an office space. Anywhere that allows you to isolate yourself and focus on what you are doing can function as office space. Not only do you need to isolate yourself from distractions but the space you choose should only be used for work so that when you enter your home office you are ready to get down to business.
A flexible desktop lamp will help you focus better by providing the full spectrum of lighting need to keep you alert at all times. Conversely, a poorly lit work area can lead to premature mental fatigue and a lack of creativity. Thus, it makes sense to have at least two of these lamps on standby along with a few extra bulbs because it’s a cheap investment that provides a relatively great return when you consider how much better you’re able to write and type in a well-lit area.
Working at home can be enjoyable but eventually you may need some human interaction to satisfy your basic social urges. Getting involved in social networking is an easy way to keep in touch with friends and maintain yourself social life while staying at home. Fortunately, most people have already at least started this step by having their own Facebook and/or Twitter accounts. Of course, social networking can also help you find new clients and business partners.
Diverse Web Presence
In addition to being active on social media, you’ll also want to have profiles on sites like LinkedIn, Google+, Yelp, BBB, Yellow Pages, and other business and author directories. Likewise, you may want to contribute guest posts to blogs within the niches and topics you specialize in. By staying active on different platforms and distributing your writing to high-profile blogs you can create a name for yourself and make prospective clients to you seriously in the long run.
Financial Management Skills
Every freelancer should learn about their basic financial management responsibilities, which includes calculating and paying taxes, managing account balances, paying bills and so on. Failure to account for all of these aspects of business management could lead to unforeseen mishaps that hinder productivity and cash flow.
A Consistent Routine
Developing a consistent and predictable schedule will help you perform optimally and will prevent the stress that comes with an inconsistent lifestyle. Start by getting up early every day and doing your morning routine to get into the daily flow of things. It has been scientifically proven that humans function better within a structured routine, and as a freelancer, consistency is something you develop over time and with discipline.
One of the most difficult things to do when freelancing is to set a schedule and stick to it. Although a freelance journalist can never fully anticipate when and where news is going to be made, the one thing a journalist can do is go in with the mindset that when a story begins to develop, everything else needs to be put to the sidelines. This means that even important dinner plans and other social engagements must be rescheduled so that work can be submitted while it’s still news! A professional journalist never lets the competition get the first scoop and that’s something that’s quite hard to do when you are not technically on the clock.
Setting Yourself Up for Success
Ultimately, the steps above are designed to help you become the most proficient freelance journalist possible. If you acquire all of these items and make it a goal to stay active online in the ways suggested above, you’ll not only find that your job is easier overall but finding and landing new clients and jobs will become a streamlined process as well. Becoming a successful freelance writer is perfectly doable for someone with decent writing skills who is willing put in the time and effort needed to get their career off the ground, so it’s really just a matter of putting everything in place and then carrying out the plan one step at a time.
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