The Freelance Files: Issue 11

New Series: The First-Year Freelancer

Next month marks my one-year anniversary as a freelancer. And, although I won’t claim to have the whole thing figured out, I know one thing for certain: I know a lot more now than I did when I started.

A year ago, I had just barely escaped an institutional smash-up that decimated the ranks at my library. After applying for library jobs all over the region, and finding them in extremely short supply, I knew I had to adjust my strategy. I tried freelance writing more out of desperation than anything else. I bet the farm, hoping it would work. Knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t have made such a large gamble. (More on that later.) Fortunately, though, my gamble paid off.

Since then, I’ve learned a lot about managing my business of one. In this new series, titled First-Year Freelancer, I’m going to share what I’ve learned so far. I’ll share tips on topics like:

  • Tracking your finances and your time
  • Being savvy about new opportunities
  • Making small, reversible bets
  • Taking ownership of your business and your life

If you’re a freelancer, what handy tips have you learned? If you’re not a freelancer but are thinking about starting the journey, what would you like to know more about? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Current gigs

After focusing mainly on teaching ESL or several months, I now have more writing work lined up. I’m doing some business writing for the healthcare industry. It’s proving to be pretty interesting. I covered rural hospitals in my past life as a newspaper reporter, so it’s fun to return to an industry I’m familiar with.

I’m still teaching, of course. VIPKID has proven to be a great supplement to my writing business. Since all the classes take place in Beijing time, I’m up in the wee hours of the morning (2:30 a.m., anyone)? The benefit is that I still have a good half a day or more to write. Plus, I’ve made a decent 80 bucks before most folks have even gotten into the office. Boom!

In case you missed it, VIPKID is a Chinese startup company that connects Chinese students to native English speakers via video conferencing technology. The company’s rapidly growing, and they’re in desperate need of teachers right now. If you have a bachelor’s degree and you’re interested in teaching, too, check it out here. 

Jam of the Week

I love some bubbly, upbeat techno-jams to get my brain in gear. My new favorite artist, Mrs. Jynx, never fails to deliver. This album is a refreshing break from the darker, edgier side of electronica. Give it a listen.



“Two things everybody’s got tuh do fuh theyselves … They got tuh go tuh God and they got tuh find out about livin’ fuh theyselves.” – Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God


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