May 14, 2014 at 3:41 am #27768
Hello to the community,
I’ve just found this blog (via an interview with Jennifer on “Fuel Your Writing”), and am excited about its content.
I’ve been researching the freelance writer’s path for about a year now, and am certain it’s the future career I wish to build for myself. I’ve written my own travel and parenting blogs in the past, but am finding it difficult to determine which niche to focus on for the future.
I have young children at present, so my time is greatly constrained, but I aim to use whatever free-time is available to ready myself and my skills for the less-hectic time in my life to come.
At present, I live abroad from my home country in a non-English speaking country. I think there could be benefits to this when setting up a freelance career – for example I love to proofread, edit and re-write the work of others to produce more concise, hard-hitting copy. There are plenty of businesses with English-speaking clients here.
I have no formal writing training, although my Masters degree at university in the Arts had me writing full-time. On reflection it was the best part of my degree. I do wonder if I should take the time to do some specific training in editing/proofreading/copywriting – but also like the idea of just throwing myself in the market and believing in (and marketing/promoting) my abilities. Does anyone have advice on this?
I look forward to honing my skills with the help of this and other writers’ sites, and send a big “thank you” to Jennifer for creating such a resource.May 14, 2014 at 9:54 am #27769
First of all, welcome to the community. It’s nice to meet you!
If working with ESL clients appeals to you, go for it. I can tell you from experience that the opportunities are nearly endless these days. It always amazes me when I talk to colleagues and find out they won’t pursue overseas clients because of language barriers. While there are challenges, they don’t come up as often as you might imagine. And with you living abroad yourself, if you have a large enough market in your area you’ll have a real advantage in being local and able to work with clients in person, or at least on their schedules without time zone differences.
In general, it isn’t necessary to pursue formal training to become a writer. Being paid well as a freelance writer is often more about the knowledge you bring to the table than anything else. That said, there are exceptions. For example, if you want to focus on journalism, it’s a good idea to study best practices (like AP style guidelines and understanding the inverted pyramid). And if you want to get involved in copywriting it’s a good idea to study marketing and PR fundamentals. There certainly isn’t anything wrong with pursuing more general training in writing, and you should do that if you want to. Just don’t feel like it’s a requirement.
As for wanting to narrow your focus in blogging, have you considered merging the two niches you already write about? There are many ways travel and parenting can fit well together — traveling with children, family-friendly destinations, moving your children abroad long-term, cultural differences in parenting techniques, etc. It might be a way to use the content you already have, write about the things you’re passionate about, and still save time over managing two separate blogs.May 14, 2014 at 11:38 am #27771
Thank you so much for taking the time in your busy day to reply Jennifer.
From a scarcely poluated small country on the other side of the world, I now find myself living in the middle of Europe, in the busy commercial city of Zurich, so the opportunities available to me with ESL clients is undoubtedly large.
I have toyed with the idea of writing another blog (I am not currently writing one)- one as you say that incorporates my experiences as an expat with parenting issues and travel.
I have two years before I am officially allowed to work in this country, so intend to use that time wisely to hone my skills. Writing a blog would provide the impetus to write well often, and provide examples for a portfolio, but I do not want to put all the time in to a blog if I could be spending it more wisely (such as upskilling).
I guess that’s something I just have to decide, then get on with the work
Thanks again for your time, RachaelMay 14, 2014 at 11:54 am #27772
Ps I realise I should also add that in the past (pre-children) I loved to read research articles and write literature reviews and reports, to edit and proofread, and to write speeches and press releases (I had a role in Government policy which involved all of these).
So I guess what I’m saying is I love to write in many different forms, and am not sure which avenue is my best bet to pursue for the future! Thanks again, RachaelMay 15, 2014 at 6:17 am #27774
While that sounds like a tough spot to be in (not able to work yet), it does make continuing education a better option than it might be for others. If you have the time and ambition, go for it! Anything that makes you a better writer or a better businessperson between now and when you’re able to officially start freelancing is a good thing.
There’s no reason you couldn’t do both blogging and improving your writing and business skills. If anything, having two years to establish a blog means you’ll have more visibility when you’re ready to accept clients. That will put you well ahead of other new freelancers starting at the same time. Just make sure any blogging is relevant to the freelance markets you eventually want to pursue. You could always work that around your studies, starting slow if you want to, because you won’t have the pressure of needing an immediate audience.
It definitely sounds like you have some good options available to you based on your experience. And they can all be viable markets. You just have to decide where you want to start. There’s nothing to stop you from expanding once you’re established.May 15, 2014 at 8:55 am #27776
You know, I have a friend who is a very successful freelancer. She works from Vancouver, though her clients think she’s in the states. It can be done, but you need a support system.
For this freelancer, she has family who deposit her checks and mail things for her when needed. No one knows she isn’t working from the US, and she doesn’t think it should matter.
I get that getting work in Zurich is going to have limitations — those two years being the biggest. That doesn’t mean you can’t work for clients in the states. Have you considered doing that?
Also, is there a way to apply for the Swiss version of a green card? Or is that two-year waiting period mandatory?May 15, 2014 at 12:30 pm #27783
It really is a tricky situation. I know hubs and I want to move to the UK for a while (several years down the road still). We’ve talked about going there for anywhere from a few months to a few years, after he’s also working entirely from home on his own business. But the work issue is a big one.
I’m a citizen of an EU country, so I wouldn’t need a work permit to continue freelancing. But hubby is not, so that’s where it gets more challenging and we might be limited to going for no more than six months. We wouldn’t be planning on obtaining citizenship there, and we would continue to maintain a residence here in the U.S. Comp-li-cat-ed. We’d have to talk it through with an immigration attorney. Maybe you could do the same. Lori could be right and they might allow freelancing with companies outside of their borders as you wouldn’t be taking a job from one of their citizens in any way. But those rules vary from one country to another, so you’re probably best consulting with someone who can help you sort out the legalities, tax issues, etc. Who knows? Maybe you won’t have to wait as long as you think.May 15, 2014 at 12:46 pm #27784
This conversation inspired me to do a bit of fresh digging on my own situation. And I’m excited. I just found out hubby wouldn’t need a work visa after all as long as he’s there with a spouse who happens to be an EU national. So that’s a relief. Still a lot to work out, but it’s nice to see one less obstacle.May 15, 2014 at 1:48 pm #27786
Ah, that’s potentially excellent news for you and your husband then Jennifer. New adventures abroad are always refreshing.
Yes, I will look in to the matter further, although I know that Swiss authorities are some of the most rigid in the world when it comes to things like this! Whichever way I look at it though, I have so much to learn and do – it’s an exciting time
Thanks for your valuable input.
RachaelMay 15, 2014 at 9:41 pm #27789
If you don’t mind sharing (and it’s perfectly okay if you’d rather not), what country are you currently a citizen of? And what are your intentions there — an extended stay but you plan to leave eventually, or do you plan to become a permanent resident or apply for citizenship later? I’ve met a few folks through my genealogy work and the issues with my German citizenship who might be aware of resources that can help. If I have a better idea of what your situation is, I’m happy to ask around and see if we can find anything worthwhile to pass along. :)
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