October 10, 2023

Writer Making The Leap To Full-time Freelance

Fellow list member Chris Weller wrote in to ask a question about making the leap from full-time freelancing as a writer. Here’s our thread (shared with permission):


Hey Jonathan,

I’m a career writer and editor who’s making the leap from newsrooms to full-time freelancing. I’ve been reading your stuff for close to a year now and feel pretty confident I can make the case for value pricing vs. the typical freelancer hourly (or worse, per-word) rate.

I expect my biggest clients will be independent ghostwriting and corporate folks looking for help with thought leadership content. Think long-form case studies to help drum up business, or executive interviews and storytelling for internal marketing.

Do you see any major differences in how you’d approach software projects vs. writing projects? Should deadlines (a security blanket for us journalists) still belong in the conversation? How strongly do you think it’s safe for me to guarantee business results from the content they’re buying?

Any clarity you could offer as I start this new venture is super appreciated.

Love what you’re doing!


Congrats on making the leap, Chris!

If I were in your shoes, I’d talk to my expected clients and find out how they will measure the success of your contributions to their desired outcomes.

For example:

Best of luck!


I like those a lot. Good why questions to set expectations!

As for deadlines, I suppose the biggest variable is how many edit cycles the client can tolerate. In my experience, there can be a real last-mile problem with ticky-tack wordsmithing, which could drag things out and delay me starting new projects. Can I preempt that somehow?


Yeah, develop a reputation for delivering stellar results and set expectations that you don’t let clients meddle in your work product.

Easier said than done, but that’s how to do it :)


Love it. Appreciate you taking the time to help someone just starting on their journey.


My pleasure!

I hope this thread was useful!

If you’re not a writer, PLMK if you have any questions about applying it to your discipline.