We’re starting something a bit new on STC’s Notebook: we’ve invited the presenters of our webinars to provide a guest post talking about their upcoming presentation. We hope this will provide even more information to potential attendees and give a glimpse into what you can expect to learn. Today’s guest post is by Ruth E. Thaler-Carter, who presents the webinar Freelancing on Thursday, 31 January, from 4:00-5:00 PM EST (GMT-5).
I’ve been a freelance writer, editor, proofreader, and speaker for more years now than I sometimes think are possible. Colleagues and organizations were a great help when I was starting out, so I’ve always tried to be good about giving back to colleagues, both new and established, in return. I’m a big believer in both networking and giving back. That’s why you’ll see me presenting STC webinars and making occasional appearances at STC national and local conferences.
I often see online posts and get calls or messages from people who are thinking about becoming freelance writers, editors, or proofreaders. I offer sessions on freelancing, in particular, because I firmly believe that the more business-like and professional any prospective freelancer is, the better off we all will be. I don’t think I’m creating my own competition, as some people have suggested, because I also firmly believe there are enough opportunities “out there” to accommodate most, if not all, communicators who want to freelance as long as they have the skills, experience, chutzpah, and business sense they will need.
Freelancing seems like such an appealing option in these days of employment uncertainty, long-standing companies cutting back or closing down on tech communications activities, or colleagues feeling stunted in their regular work and longing for some variety in the kinds of material they write or edit. A lot of people plunge into freelancing, though, without planning ahead or organizing their efforts.
Freelancing can be both enjoyable and profitable – but getting started takes more than hanging out the proverbial shingle. I find it both fun and fulfilling to share tips on how to do it from a professional, business-like approach—because make no mistake, freelancing is being in business. It’s being a business, even for one person working as a solopreneur.
Nowadays, there also are so many more ways in which aspiring freelancers can be ripped off and underpaid that it feels important to share some warnings about those kinds of roadblocks. We all have to learn from experience, but I’d like to substitute some of mine so colleagues can start their freelancing path with fewer obstacles in it.
I’m honored to be part of the STC online and in-person community. I hope those participating in the upcoming webinar on freelancing will find the session useful.