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Carol M. Highsmith

I am the envy of many of my friends. My life as a freelance writer conjures up in their minds a life of leisure, a daily uniform of pajamas and bunny slippers, and mid-day Margaritas.

The reality?

I’ve logged in several hours on my laptop before most folks rise for morning coffee.
I don’t get any paid vacation days, have had more meatless meals than a vegetarian, and my social life has been known to be “anti-social”. Truth is, the freelancing life is mistakenly glamorized more than the fashion industry.

Don’t get me wrong; I love it and wouldn’t trade it.

And chances are, so will you, if you know what to expect in order to go the distance.

With this in mind, here are a few common myths that many buy into that can sabotage the chances for a profitable career.
See how many you‘re guilty of.

1. Anybody can become a successful freelancer with a computer and an Internet connection. Wrong! (If you believe that, I have some land I’d like to sell you). Successful copywriting services requires business savvy, discipline, diligence, creativity, and resourcefulness. Not to mention, with this line of work, you have to wear an array of “hats”. From accountant, to marketer, to negotiator.

2. You can quit your day job and make a living at it right away. That’s as likely to happen as winning the lottery. Here’s why: the competition is fierce in today’s tough economy; clients don’t always pay as promised; emergencies happen; leads fall through; and you don’t have enough experience under your belt initially to know how to project your income, expenses, or time. Better to moonlight in the beginning until you have a comfortable cushion to fall back on. Experts advise 3-6 months’ wages.

3. Blogging is not as profitable as other forms of writing. That depends on the client, your area of expertise, and the circumstances. From my professional experience, I’ve made anywhere from a small pittance to a nice “dent” in my monthly mortgage payment. So don’t count it out as an option.

4. Working as a freelancer means you have no accountability. Think again. Though you do have more freedom, flexibility, and decision making ability, you’re still accountable to clients, publishers, editors, and advertisers.

5. In order to get published and paid, you must perfect the art of querying. Actually, it’s entirely possible to break into certain magazines and online publications with a simple letter of introduction, brief bio, or well-crafted Email accompanied by a polished piece. In fact, I’ve built my career off of this approach. The exception would be if their “writers’ guidelines” state query first.

Keep these five principles and practices in mind to help you make educated decisions and move you forward in your journey.

As they say, “the truth shall set you free.”