Returning to freelancing from the 9-5 world

Aug 16, 2021

One of the hardest things I had to do as a freelancer was return to the 9-5 workforce in May 2019. I had been let go by my biggest freelance writing client in April 2019 due to restructuring within their company.

They no longer needed a freelance writer for their blog but were giving me a month to pack up and leave, so to speak. I was heartbroken but also terrified because I wouldn’t be able to pay my bills after the month was up. Due to this, I knew I had to return to a 9-5 job, as much as I wasn’t a fan of this choice.

Luckily for me, my brother’s girlfriend helped me get a job at a local call center that paid more than I was getting as a freelance writer. I was miserable but I knew it would help me get back on my feet.

What I didn’t realize was that I would end up staying there for over a year, then getting a job at a better paying call center in August 2020. I decided that enough was enough after realizing what all I had been through since May 2019.

I knew I wanted to get back into freelancing and this is the story of how I got back into it while still at what is considered a 9-5 job.

Finding time to write for clients isn’t always easy.

This is something I hadn't realized I would have to battle against as a freelance writer. I was used to freelance writing full-time, so doing this along with a full-time job that helps me make some seriously good money is a struggle at times.

I’m glad I work in the afternoons and have the mornings for my client work. However, I am exhausted after my shift, which can be a struggle when I’m completing client work.

I should have been prepared for it, but it still took some getting used to. It was so hard for me to get up early enough to work on client work both before and after my shift at my current job.

It’s still a struggle due to health issues, and I delegate most of the work to my days off from my job. Make sure you create a work schedule outside of your job’s schedule that works for you and your client’s deadlines!

Find something you’re passionate about when you return.

I don’t want you to make the same mistake I did when I first started: Make sure what you are doing as a freelancer is something you are passionate about, or you’ll never make the time to complete the work!

This is something I learned as a newer freelancer. I did what everyone else said was financially sound, but I didn’t get very far with it because the work wasn’t interesting to me.

I was doing what everyone else was doing and not what I wanted to do. I was following the herd, and that is my biggest regret about freelancing. I am now in a completely different industry this go-around and am so much happier.

My biggest tip for new or returning freelancers is to make sure you are following your dreams with your freelancing. I assume you are but make especially sure you are working in an industry you are passionate about or are interested in. You’ll have more fun that way and you’ll be so much happier!

Be yourself with clients and in your work for them.

When I was cold pitching potential clients, I sounded like a robot. I did not sound like myself at all when I was pitching people. I could tell the potential clients could notice it as well and sniffed it out like sharks.

I was terrified when I first started cold pitching people and it showed in every action I took. I was a miserable hot mess, and it was obvious. I believe firmly that this is why I wasn’t successful with the cold pitching.

I wasn’t myself and didn’t sound like myself in the least. I was reaching out to people without doing proper research into their companies first, so I had no idea who I was reaching out to either.

I was reaching out to anyone and everyone with a blog so wasn’t paying attention when I was making mistakes. I wasn’t very interested in the work I was pitching for myself, and it showed in every email I sent.

I even received snarky replies, and that’s what opened my eyes to what I was doing incorrectly.

I realized quickly with this return to freelancing that I had to be passionate about the work I was reaching out for, or I would be messing things up for myself.

I can’t afford to do that this time, since I want to correct the issues I had the last time I freelanced. My biggest tip here is that quality beats quantity every single time if you’re cold pitching people. Don’t blind pitch people if you’re cold emailing or cold calling them.

In Conclusion

As a semi-seasoned freelancer, I’ve learned a lot of lessons. I’ve learned what I’m passionate about and what bores the stuffing out of me. I know what my values are as a business owner and what I will not put up with.

I know what makes a successful freelancer will be different for each of us. I did what was right for me when I went back to a 9-5 job. I’m sure you would have made a different decision.

I made some valuable decisions for my freelance writing business over the past few years and weeks. My time is valuable between shifts at my job, and I will spend that time wisely now.

I’ve learned to be myself in each correspondence I send to clients and in each piece I write for them. If I can’t be myself, who else would I be? If I can’t write about something I’m passionate about, then what would I write about?

This is a post from a member of the Freelancers Union community. If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, your story, or some advice you think will help a fellow freelancer out, feel free to send us your blog post.

Lisa Fourman

Lisa creates killer blog posts for companies who want to make more of an impact in the LGBTQ+ community through the written word. If you need a great writer, email her at!