The Struggling Writer

The chronicles of a freelance writer as he tries to make a living.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

My story - early freelance work

The LabVIEW job I mentioned yesterday was my first taste of true freelance. The ad was placed by a man who was already doing freelance programming and needed to subcontract some of the work since he was getting overloaded. He freely admitted that he wanted someone with more experience, but the only other applicants were looking for evening/weekend supplementary work. He needed someone who was available weekdays, and that put me at the top of a list of one.

The set up was just what I needed. He’d give me a project, a deadline, and walk away. I could work whatever hours I liked. I could work at home or on site. Once he saw the quality of my work, he pushed more projects my way. For the first time in many years, I was happy at my job.

After a year at this, my sister had a baby named Maria, and again my life changed. Maria was born with significant medical problems, including hydrocephalus and substantial hearing and vision impairments. My flexible freelance schedule allowed me to fly out after the baby was born and help out. My plan was to go for a couple of weeks. A couple of weeks turned into a couple of months and finally I bought a house here in Phoenix because it was clear she needed the help.

Through all of this, I continued my programming work. By coincidence he had clients out here and my realtor even found us another customer. However, all was not well with his business. He lost two large clients due to economic factors that had nothing to do with us; when companies start to struggle, the contractors are the first ones to get cut loose. Months passed with no more work coming in. The problem is that he is, at the core, a programmer not a businessman and not a marketer. He continues to look for new projects, but hasn’t had new work for me in a long time.

Late last year I finally faced up to the fact that it was time for me to find some additional sources of income.


  • At 10:19 AM, Blogger Joulisians said… are like me...a struggling writer...i am based in blog is


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