Freelance work sounds kind of romantic. “Oh, I’m a freelancer.” Like I’m so carefree and only work 3 hours a week, but get paid exorbitant amounts of money. In reality it takes time to pitch to new employers. And I don’t hear back from very many of them.
It turns out that freelance work is not quite as romantic as it sounds. It is still work! But it IS also awesome to hop out of bed, get dressed for the day (or not) and then sit at the dinette to “work”. You can’t really beat the commute. Or the hours, honestly.
Steve and I have both secured freelance jobs over the past couple months. It basically means other people pay us to write blog posts for them. And it’s actually pretty cool.
What do we write about?
Steve writes about tents. Yep, fascinating, I know. He’s something of an expert now, so if you’re thinking of purchasing a new tent, then ask him questions. He reviews them. And compares them. And tells you which is best for tall people or not-so-tall people. If it’s tent related, he knows!
I write about RV life. Pretty much everything related to it like how to fix window seals or why you might need an RV honey wagon service. We haven’t needed one in two years of full time RV life, but someone might?! I’ve learned a ton about how we should be maintaining our own truck camper, Cupcake. And we’ve even put some of what I’ve written about into action. For example, I learned about truck suspensions when our Timbrens failed and wrote two articles about it. One for my employer and one for our own website.
Adding a New Website to My Portfolio
This week I added a new website to my portfolio. My work isn’t posted quite yet, but feel free to check out the site anyway. Hopefully my articles will start posting soon. It’s all about funerals and grief and celebrating life. It’s the absolute perfect fit for me and I couldn’t be more excited.
I’ve applied to write about other topics that have caught my attention. But as soon as I saw this opening, my heart leaped. I knew it’s what I really wanted to do. In the past, I’ve worked as a funeral director and I have to say it was probably my favorite job ever. Except for the hours. They kind of suck, since you have to be on call in the evenings. And you have to work funerals on weekends.
At the time, Steve worked out of state or country most weeks. So I only saw him on weekends. He’d often get home on Saturday morning, but I’d be at work. Only seeing each other a few days a month didn’t really work for us. I moved on to a job with a regular schedule. But I’ve missed being of service to others.
This new writing job will help me offer comfort in a small way to people in need. Plus I’m earning a decent wage, so hopefully it’ll turn into a long term commitment. Right now though, it feels a little too good to be true.
Benefits of Working on Our Own Schedules
There are lots of benefits to working when we want to. The biggest one is family time! In the past few weeks, we’ve spent a lot of time with family. We’re somewhat stationary right now in the Portland metropolitan area, so we hang out with kids and grandkids a lot! Check out some of the things that make freelance work appealing to us!
We’ve being staying at an RV park adjacent to a marina, so each night we walk down to check out the sunset over the water. In the middle picture is our newest grandson, Jaxon. He’s almost three months old now and he’s so dang adorable. And the last picture shows two other grandsons, Hunter & Carter as they pulled kayaks up onto a beachy area. Steve is coming in behind them, while Matt and I relaxed in the sun.
Having flexibility in our schedules means we get to spend more time with family. Yes, it might also mean we work at night sometimes to make up for it. But the fact that we CAN move around our work schedules is terrific.
Here’s a view of Steve working away. He listens to music while he writes. Or at least he wears headphones…but it may just be a deterrent to my chatting to him! And here’s also a view out our “work window”. We’ve been glad to have electricity to run air conditioning during the heat wave Portland is experiencing!
How Do We Get Freelance Work?
As full time RVers, it’s important to us to have freedom in our jobs. Everyone talks about the abundance of remote work right now, and it’s true there are a lot of remote openings. But what Steve and I found is that most of them still want you to work full time.
We’d prefer to only work part time and keep our expenses down to save money. So many of the jobs listed on regular job boards don’t have enough flexibility for us. Freelance work allows us to work part time, earn a decent wage and choose our own hours.
Here are a few ways to find paid writing jobs.
- I’ve had good luck applying for jobs on ProBlogger’s job board. I’ve followed Darren for years and learned a ton about blogging from him. .
- His job board is all about writing, editing and digital marketing.
- Learn how to apply for jobs on his blog. There are lots of articles helping you to improve your pitch.
- Learn how to write better articles on his blog as well.
- Indeed.com also has a fair amount of freelance jobs but I’ve found that they generally don’t pay very well. Many positions only pay 1-3 cents per word, which doesn’t amount to very much at all.
- LinkedIn’s job board usually has a number of available freelance positions. You can set up your alerts to get a daily email of new positions.
- Freelance Writing Jobs compiles writing jobs from around the web into a daily listing. Employers also post positions directly on their website. So check back regularly for freelance writing and blogging openings.
There are many more websites for finding new opportunities. A quick Google search will show you more of them than I possibly can.
How Do You Start Freelance Writing With No Experience?
Even though we didn’t have actual freelance writing experience, Steve and I have both written technical documents in our careers. I wrote extensive training documents in the semiconductor industry. I also edited technical documents in my role at an industrial engineering company. And Steve has had many papers published in the high tech industry and written extremely technical training documents as well.
- In addition, we both point prospective employers to specific articles here on our website as examples of our work.
- We apply for positions within our wheelhouse. RV life, camping and now funeral topics are something we know quite a bit about.
- Some people create websites specifically designed to showcase your writing samples. This is a great way to attract prospective employers.
- I keep a Google folder with copies of articles in it. There’s also a document with links to articles I’ve written. Three applications so far have asked for examples in this format. So it’s worth a few minutes of your time to put together.
- Take a freelance writing course. There are free and paid courses available to help you become a better writer. They also teach you how to pitch your work.
- Create a “go-to” document that lists your experience, article links and why you’re a good fit for the company. You’ll tweak it for each application, but at least you won’t be starting from scratch each time.
- Guest post on other blogs that you regularly read, which fit into your knowledge base. As an introvert, this has proven to be a bit more challenging for me. It’s one thing to apply for positions and another to introduce myself and pitch an article cold. I’m hoping to take this step soon though.
- Apply for freelance work!
Rounding Out Our Income Stream With Freelance Work
For this period in our lives, freelance article writing seems like a good fit for Steve and I. As a child, I dreamed of growing up to be a writer, so in some ways this fills a longstanding desire. We still plan to work on a book together about our experiences hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. And somehow book writing still draws me in.
But for now, freelance work helps round out our income stream. Our goal is to not draw from our investments for the remainder of the year, if at all possible. We’ll see how well that works out, but for the time being, I feel pleased with where we’re at.
We’re finding a nice balance between having flexibility in our time, being able to travel and having fun play days with friends and family. Freelance work as full time RVers is a good choice for us.