3 Steps to Confidently Set or Raise Your Rates as a Professional Freelance Editor
‘I didn’t want an unsatisfying career. And I didn’t want to commit to one place – either one company or one location. I wanted to make my own decisions.’ – Rocco Baldasarre
Most of the adult population worldwide has experienced remote working during the pandemic and realised it was still work. Shocking! The stigma around working from home is gone, and companies outsource more than ever. Now is a great time to start your freelancing.
A freelancer is an individual who works with clients as an independent contractor. A business owner in their own right, they are not employed by their clients and should not be treated like employees.
Freelancers set their own rates and schedule, work from wherever they choose, and are responsible for their own taxes, health insurance and retirement plan.
What freelancing looks like
You’ve seen it a million times.
Laptop open on tanned legs stretched over a lounging chair at the beach. The sunset sky matches the cocktail waiting on a side table.
Welcome to freelance life!
Well, yes. And no.
You most certainly can work at the beach, providing you have internet access, but why would you want to? Sand is lethal in a keyboard. Too much light will make your screen undecipherable, and theft is a real concern. Besides, the point of being a freelancer is to be able to take the day off to head to the beach, not be tied to your laptop everywhere you go.
The real life of a freelancer looks more like this …
Every morning, you get up on time to make lunch boxes and spend some time with your kids. Once they’re off to school, you savour your coffee in a quiet house before heading to the shower. Since nobody’s banging on the bathroom door, asking you to retrieve lost items, you take the time to shave, floss and moisturise. You don’t agonise over your clothes, hair or makeup. You’re the boss. Whatever looks good to you is the dress code for the day. Once you’re ready, you sit at your desk or head over to the library, or your favourite coffee shop, and power up your laptop.
How’s that for a commute?
Maybe you work for 6 hours straight, stopping only to grab another coffee and a cinnamon bun, then call it a day. By early afternoon, you’re free to hit the gym, go see a movie, catch up with friends or go to the beach. When your kids come back home, you’re already there and available to help with their homework or their science project.
Or maybe you get a good 4 hours of work before lunch, meet a couple of friends for sushi and a gym session, then go pick up your kids and have quality time with them until dinner. You get back to work for a few hours once they’re in bed.
Unless you prefer waking up at 5 am, locking yourself in your office till noon and being done with work by lunchtime. It’s really up to you.
You want to have every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday free? Do it! Want to sign up for fencing lessons Tuesdays at 10 am? You can. Your teenager is begging you to let him hit the slopes out of state with his snowboarding friends? Book that snow vacation and work from the hotel lobby while your kid has a blast getting sunburned and bruised.
Point being, freelancing doesn’t mean minimum work and plenty of money. It stands for great work ethics in a flexible format. You get to decide when and how you work on a project. It could be a 12-hour sprint or a leisurely week of working a couple of hours each day. As long as you meet your deadlines, freelancing should fit around your life, not the other way around.
Why you should become a freelance editor
‘Stop trying to convince yourself to love a life you hate!’ – Ash Ambirge, The Middle Finger Project
The world has changed a lot in the past few years. The Gig economy is here to stay. Remote working has become normal, and more companies than ever outsource to freelancers what they used to do in house.
Whether you hate your job, want more flexibility, or dream of travelling the world, freelancing could be the answer.
Still not sure it’s the right choice for you? Read on.
Job security is dead.
We’ve known this for a while. The 2008 crisis was a big hint, so let’s be honest. Job security has become an oxymoron. Trusting your employer to reward your hard work and loyalty with security might have worked for our parents. We know for a fact that the rules have changed. Nobody’s safe. Whether it’s a pandemic shutting down the whole country and bankrupting your company, a stock market crash, shareholders voting for massive layoffs or technology making you redundant, your job is not safe.
Freelancers are resilient.
If the past couple of years has taught us anything, it is that the future is uncertain.
Who would have imagined a worldwide lockdown in 2019? As a freelance editor, you can work through lockdowns and curfews, war and insurrections, wildfire warnings and snowstorms, hurricanes and floods. Whether you need to confine or evacuate, your business comes with you. All you need is your laptop and an acceptable internet connection. As an editor, you could even weather the storm with a red pen and a physical copy of your client’s manuscript.
Having the capacity to generate a good income and keep your family safe while whole industries crumble and countless people lose their jobs, is priceless.
Design your business around your life.
Have you ever had to beg for time off to go to the doctor? Or grovelled for days because your child was sick for the third time in a month, and you had no childcare available? Maybe your mother broke a leg, but you had no vacation time left, so you couldn’t travel to be with her. Ever missed a dance recital, soccer game, bachelorette party or wedding because you were working?
That’s a thing of the past. As a freelance editor, you are in control of your schedule. You work around your other commitments, not through them. If your child is sick, you can stay home with them and work while they’re napping or watching TV. If your mum is bedridden, you can go visit every day, and work in the evenings. Best friend having a weeklong wedding celebration in Jamaica? Pack your dress, bikini and laptop, you’re going! Whatever life throws at you, freelancing gives you the flexibility to handle it, without missing your deadlines. And if you skip that beach party in Kingston, since you hate the groom and fear mosquitoes, it will be your choice. Because you make the rules.
Make your own rules; be your own boss.
Is there anything worse than office politics? Getting passed over for promotions, having your ideas stolen by one of your managers, sitting in countless meetings where nothing gets done, and pretending the inappropriate jokes don’t bother you. All of that is infuriating. Try as you might, you’ll never win over Mike who golfs every Sunday with your boss. As a freelancer, you are the CEO. Nobody stands in your way to more money or bigger projects. You can have a no-meeting policy. You can fire clients who make racist jokes. And you can take an oath never to wear corporate clothes again. It’s your choice.
Work from anywhere in the world and leverage your income.
While most freelance editors will choose to work from home or from a public space in their city, you might want to move abroad. Once you’re secured in your new business and can continually provide for your family, why not go on an adventure with your loved ones?
You could even harness the power of geoarbitrage (also called lifestyle or geographic arbitrage) by moving to a more affordable destination. Your yearly income would stretch much further, giving you the option of a more luxurious lifestyle. Unless you’d rather work less and enjoy your new location more. Lots of emerging countries have excellent Wi-Fi, top-notch healthcare systems, good schools and safe neighbourhoods. Europe also has some lovely, yet low-cost, options like Poland, Bulgaria, Portugal, Spain or Latvia. So where would you go?
As a freelancer, the world is your oyster.
Can you really earn enough as a freelance editor?
‘Your beliefs hold the key to your financial success.’ – Jen Sincero
Now that we’ve established how amazing freelancing can be for your overall wellbeing and quality of life, let’s discuss every aspiring freelancer’s main concern: money.
When you quit your ‘safe’ job to become independent, you give up the comfort of a regular paycheck. Waiting for Friday to pay your bills or for the 15th to go shopping is no longer necessary.
It’s a simple mind shift from the way things were to what they are now.
After all, since you’re now in charge, every day can be a payday if you work for it.
But can you really earn a good income as a freelance editor? Absolutely.
And we would love to share with you how you can do this!
You can access the full guide here: https://youreditingcareer.com/guide
Don’t worry, it’s free! (Just way too long to include here!)