The Cost of Starting a Freelance Writing Career

June 12th, 2008

costs of freelance writer home business

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Freelancing writing is an easy and inexpensive home business for a stay at home Mom to set up. According to an article in Yahoo!, it can also be one of the most lucrative. However, many newbies may not be aware that there are start-up costs involved in putting up a freelance writing business.

If you’re thinking of launching a career as freelance writer, here’s a list of 10 items to budget for:

1. Computer, printer, home office supplies – These are basic home office equipment which you probably already have anyway. You’ll also need paper, printer ink, folders and other basic home office supplies.

2. Business name registration – If you want to use a business name other than your own, you may have to pay to have it registered. Consult your local business bureau on the procedure and costs involved.

3. Internet connection – Broadband, please. You’ll need the Internet to market yourself, find clients, do research for your articles, do research on your competitors, network with potential clients … the list is endless.

4. Website hosting and domain registration – Every freelancer needs an online portfolio to help attract clients and show off sample work (here’s mine). Don’t use a free blogging service. It doesn’t look professional and you don’t have enough control. You could also easily lose your website. I use Bluehost and so far I’ve been happy with its reasonable prices, unlimited domains, and ease of use. Caroline Middlebrook has a free E-book on setting up a WordPress site. That’s how I learned. Or you could try Yaro Starak’s video guides. If you’re absolutely clueless about putting up your own website, it might be better to hire somebody to do it for you.

5. Various insurance plans – Depending on what your government and your spouse’s employer provide, you should consider buying: life insurance; basic or extended health insurance; and, disability insurance.

6. Professional services – You’ll need the services of an accountant so you can do your taxes properly. Unless you plan to set up a corporation, you probably won’t need a lawyer. Depending on your capabilities, consider also hiring a web designer and graphic artist.

7. Marketing tools – Aside from your website, you’ll need business cards and a letterhead at the very least. Again, if you have no artistic abilities, hire a professional graphic designer to create these for you and have them printed professionally. Don’t print them at home!

8. Freelancing networks – Consider joining networks and job boards for freelancers, such as Elance. Actually, you can bid for up to 3 jobs a month for free in Elance but to enjoy the full features, you’ll need to pay a monthly fee of $9. Not bad. I’ve just joined Shelancers, a network of female freelancers. Aside from a directory listing, Shelancers also provides various resources for its members. Although I haven’t gotten a job through Shelancers yet (I’ve only been a member for a couple of days), I have already learned so much. I especially like meeting other stay at home Moms who are trying to balance family and earning an income at home. The best thing is meeting Moms who have succeeded! Besides, I’m tired of getting advice (from men, no doubt) like, “do only one thing at a time.” Don’t they know that multi-tasking is the only way Moms get everything done?

9. Training – No matter how good you already are, you need to keep learning. There are so many ways to make money at home as a freelance writer and you will have to pay to get good advice, guidance and mentoring. Also have a good dictionary, thesaurus and other reference materials.

10. Babysitting – The day will come when working during naps and after bedtime will no longer cut it. And that’s a good thing! Invest in your sanity and productivity by hiring a babysitter, even if for just a couple of hours every day. The more work you get done, the more income you’ll make.

If you’re thinking of starting a career as a freelance writer, remember to include these items in your budget. Other types of freelancing will have similar costs. It isn’t that daunting, and having all these things covered will give you peace of mind.

Related articles:

How to prepare financially for your home business

Home office productivity for Moms of young children

Countdown to being a work at home Mom

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5 Responses to “The Cost of Starting a Freelance Writing Career”

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