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My Top Five Tips for New Freelance Nurse Writers

I’ve been reflecting on my journey through the almost two years of my freelance writing career lately. It doesn’t feel like it’s been that long already! The first year was so slow-going, as I prioritized completing my PhD and pursuing a career in academia, but I now understand that was for a reason. I'm struck by the sheer amount of growth and learning that has taken place in this second year. Transitioning into freelance writing was a significant shift, filled with both challenges and triumphs. This path has taught me more about myself, the healthcare industry, and the art of balancing. 

I want to share some realizations that have been most impactful for me. Specifically, I aim to highlight the areas I wish I had devoted more attention to during those critical first couple of years. My hope is that by sharing these reflections, I can offer guidance and support to those of you embarking on this exciting freelance writing adventure.

Make Connections Everywhere 

Whether it's through community events, professional gatherings, social media platforms, or casual meet-ups, actively seek out and engage with new contacts. Building a broad network is key to discovering potential clients, enhancing your presence, and establishing yourself as a go-to expert in your area of focus. These connections can open doors to opportunities you never knew existed.

Establish Your Rates Firmly 

Understand the value of your expertise and don't hesitate to set your fees accordingly. If a potential client isn't willing to meet your rate, it's perfectly acceptable to walk away. Early in your career, it might be tempting to take whatever work comes your way, but remember, accepting rates that don't reflect your worth can be more detrimental in the long run. It's about finding the right partners who respect your skills and time.

Organize Your Finances with a Business Account 

As you start earning through your writing, keeping your personal and business finances separate becomes critical, especially come tax season. Setting up a business checking account early on simplifies this process, ensuring that you're prepared and professional. It not only makes financial management easier but also streamlines how you receive payments.

Secure Reliable Clients

Initially, having one steady client might seem sufficient; it was for me. But as your freelance career evolves, aim to secure a few more. These anchor clients provide a consistent workload and income, whether on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis. This reliability allows for better planning and stability, regardless of whether you're freelancing part-time or full-time.

Prioritize Time for Yourself 

Lastly, don't overlook the importance of rest. The continuous hustle can lead to burnout, affecting your creativity and productivity. Ensure you schedule downtime to recharge. Balancing work with time off is necessary for sustaining your passion for writing and maintaining your mental well-being. Remember, your health and happiness are invaluable to your success.

Black woman sitting near window with notebook in lap and pen in hand

In Summary

Looking back on the early stages of my freelance writing career, it's clear that these five areas—networking, setting rates, managing finances, securing reliable clients, and taking time for self-care—were critical to my development and success. While I've come a long way since those initial days, the lessons learned have been received and much needed, shaping my career and my approach to work and life balance. If I could offer a piece of advice to my past self or anyone just starting out, it would be to embrace these strategies wholeheartedly. As I continue on this path, I remain committed to learning, adapting, and sharing my experiences. The journey of a freelance writer is one of constant evolution, and I look forward to seeing where it takes me next.

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