Normally I post don’t on things like this. Normally, blogging is more about escaping work than starting it. But, if there is anything I’ve learned about writing, it’s that if you like it . . . you should be payed for it.
I’ll admit that a lot of the reason I haven’t been posting very often recently is because I thought I had come to an important realization:
But of course . . .
I was wrong.
Aja Frost is getting paid to write. And she’s going to help the rest of us get paid too.
I’ve found myself reading articles from Aja through a variety of publications. First I read her articles on The Muse which I’d subscribed to for general professional advice and job postings. As I’d started doing more work online, the library bought a VR head set, and my journalism degree was starting to wind to a close, I was seeing connections between VR, journalism and web design in the heretofore unknown topic of User Experience (UX). Her article “What VR can teach us about UX” really tied it all together in a way I would never have realized on my own.
Of course I started following her newsletter. And when it was announced that she had released her first ebook! I had to check it out.
And so, I began reading “How to Start a Feelance Writing Career From Scratch“. I’ll admit that I gave freelancing a shot. But I never quite figured out how to do it well enough to go full time and earn a reasonable living. It seems that every hurtle I came across and never surmounted, Aja has surpassed.
The beauty of this book is in its detail, and its specificity (and it’s only 62 pages!). For instance, there is a section of the book that talks about setting up a professional email account. It explicitly talks about the peril of trying to use your work email or school email professionally. Perhaps to someone just starting out, this seems like something that isn’t a terribly big deal (although it is probably one of the easiest things in the book to accomplish).
It is a big deal! I once contacted a prospective client through a “work” email address. My employer found out about it and seized control of the email account, then preceded to harass the client. I was able to get paid for the job I completed but I’ve never felt comfortable reaching out to that client for future work. I also don’t work for that employer anymore.
I will say that one of my strengths is writing emails. I’m always professional but also can “read the room” and often know when a more colloquial tone is appropriate. What I’ve never been able to do is write a contract. I’m not a lawyer and I always assumed that I needed to be one to reach an agreement with prospective clients. Aja takes the mysticism out of this and provides you with templates and examples. She’s done this a million times and knows what is what. Listen to her!
Finally, one of my favorite things about this book is its list of resources. There are hundreds of tools out there for someone looking to get into the freelancing game, and Aja knows which ones work best. I was happy to see we share some tools like Evernote (although I’m not entirely sure I didn’t start using Evernote because of something Aja wrote earlier on), but there were many I’d never seen at all. I will certainly be investigating.
In all, “How to Start a Freelance Writing Career From Scratch” is a quick read but a long study. I can see reading this once to get the general idea of the process, put coming back to it time and time again as I experiment with the different strategies (and tools!) listed within.
Who knows? Maybe now that I’ve got Aja’s book at my side, I can give freelancing another shot.