There’s a kind of hush all over the world – Freelancing! And it has feminism writ large all over it.
As known by now, the traditional work structure is not designed to suit most women. Especially so, after marriage and motherhood. The 40+ hours week, the mandatory work meetings during and after office hours, the glaring disparities in work opportunities and income between men and women, etc. are major factors in this.
In their 30s, most women are at the peak of their familial responsibilities – marriage, children, home. And, most of them are performing a figurative circus act, juggling the tall responsibilities of both work and family. In their 40s, women are struggling to break through the thick glass ceiling in matters of promotions and pay. In the 50s and 60s, most of them are just ignored and eventually done away with altogether.
Freelancing comes as a life saver for most women looking for an escape route from that thankless and endless work grind. Women have taken to freelancing, much like bees to sweet nectar, owing to the ill-fitting office culture, economic pressures and the growing sense or need for a distinct individual identity. With freelancing, they have struck out on their own, harnessing technology to focus on work that they find rewarding, on a schedule that fits their lives, and on terms that dignify and not exploit them.
The benefits of freelancing are many. For starters, there’s complete independence from the office dynamics, politics, and the tiresome rat race of climbing up the corporate ladder. Coming to the glass ceiling bit, a study conducted by the Freelancers Union in America last year found out that 53% of full-time freelancers were women. That’s a staggering number of 53 million Americans alone. Not only were the women freelancers snagging up 58% more work opportunities than men, they were also earning 22% more per hour than men. Freelancing is a level-playing field where women thrive and shine.
Then, there’s the exciting range of variety in the available freelancing work options. You could be a freelance business consultant, software developer, writer, baker/chef, fashion stylist, graphic designer etc. The sky is truly the limit in the freelancing world. The top paying freelance jobs are writing, translation, photography, social media, mobile development and Search Engine Optimization.
Are you drawn more towards tabloid gossip? Then, you could get into the glitzy world of tabloid news reporting. Does penning down your travel memoirs and reading others’ travel stories kick you up? Then travel writing could just be your thing. Is walking down the memory lane a piece of cake for you, owing to your photographic memory and vivid imagination? Then memoir writing is your style. Are you great at the powers of persuasion and influencing people via the pen? Then, writing opinion pieces is your niche. Are you passionate in your line of education and career or particular field of interest? Let’s just say computer science, food and nutrition, politics, education or perhaps, fashion! Then, feature writing is a safe bet.
Once you identify your area of interest and style of writing, it is good to read up similar articles written in various magazines and newspaper publications and see how you measure up to the industry standards. Then, it’s a matter of research and soliciting for freelance writing jobs in India.
One piece of advice is to treat your freelance writing career as you would treat financial investments. The wise old adage applies here – “Don’t put all your eggs in the same basket”. When you are beginning to venture into this field, even though the payment may not be that great, it’s sensible to diversify into different areas such as web content writing, etc. for clients.
Opportunities for freelance writing jobs in India
Writing jobs freelance
There are several print magazine publications which solicit and pay freelance writers in India such as Woman’s Era, Time n Style magazine (A Times Group publication), Fashion and Fitness magazine, Reader’s Digest, etc.
Let us look at some cons of freelance writing jobs in India that you need to be aware of.
With greater freedom, come greater responsibilities
Before you foray into the world of freelance jobs in India, please understand that freelancing is not as easy as it seems despite the factors of convenience and flexibility. It is an autonomous and exhausting job. As the saying goes, “With greater power and freedom, comes greater responsibilities”, and it truly couldn’t be truer than in the case of freelance writers.
You are your own boss when you are a freelancer, which has a good and bad side to it. Freelancing can be challenging for people who are not good with deadlines, following up on projects, collecting payments, enforcing contract clauses and uncomfortable with handling and organizing a lot of paperwork. As a freelance writer, you will have to don many hats. You will be your own job search engine, marketing person, typist, researcher, copy editor, cashier, book-keeper, accountant, etc.
Not really your own boss
And again, soon enough after you start working as a freelance writer, you will soon discover that you are not really your own boss in the first place. As a freelance writer, you will be working for not just one, but many bosses. Many bosses with different needs, claiming a share of your time, deciding the work deadlines and setting your pay.
Freelance writing jobs in India can also be a frustrating experience for those people who are not disciplined and poor in time management. It’s easy to lose yourself into working all the time because the line between work and home is so thin, especially if you are a woman who needs to juggle home and work, and are working from home! If you get sucked into wasting time on Internet, the day will be over in a blink of an eye, without any work actually being done.
Missing the regular benefits of a salaried job
Then, there’s the disadvantage of working in isolation. Also, you lose those corporate benefits like paid maternity leave and health insurance. Finally, in terms of remuneration, freelance work is a ‘feast or famine’ profession. Freelancing is not for those who shy away from taking risks, where it is hard to anticipate what your weekly, monthly and yearly salary actually looks like and when the payments will actually come to you.
If you decide to become a freelance writer, you must be extremely serious about it. The key for success in the freelance writing profession is discipline. Nonetheless, after sufficient experience and gaining mastery in your niche area of writing, editors will start approaching you instead of you doing the chase, seeking work. But to get to that stage, discipline, hard work and perseverance is crucial.
Having said that, if you love writing and are truly passionate about the art, then you will view all these challenges as stepping stones to success towards a fulfilling freelance writing career rather than viewing them as drawbacks.
(This post was originally published at Women's Web - http://www.womensweb.in/2016/10/freelance-writing-jobs-in-india/)