Sunday, February 11, 2007

Going Freelance



Recently, the sister of a close friend came to me for some advice. Hema has been fancying the “easy” life of freelance writing for quite some time now and so, seeked my views on working from home.

I told Hema that working from home definitely has its ups and downs. When I first ventured into full time freelancing, I was surprisingly rather depressed. I actually missed the morning drive to work with B, hanging out with my colleagues and even dressing up for work! Even now, after 3 years of saying goodbye to my last job, I'd sometimes find myself missing the 9-5 life. I’d feel this unexplainable emptiness, which would trigger my insecurities, wondering if I made the right choice leaving my old job. Usually, B ends this phase for me with an inspiring pep talk; he’s extremely supportive that way.

When you work from home, it's just you and your PC so it can get rather lonely sometimes. Working from home also means freedom to work in the manner that befits your lifestyle. This might sound great except that it also requires self-discipline as the tendency to procrastinate will sometimes see you stray from work to watch TV, take cat naps, chat on the phone or just hang out doing nothing.

You should also consider the financial aspect of working on your own - no company bonus, EPF contributions, medical insurance and other benefits. Basically, you’re on your own, with no employer to supplement your financial needs. So, it’s always good to have some form of savings or back-up plan prior to jumping into freelancing.

As a freelance copywriter, I sometimes get people asking me why I don’t want to get a real 9-5 job. First off, freelancing is very much a real job. Just because we work from home and are not visibly seen in the working world, this does not mean we’re idling away at home. Freelancers work just like the next employed full-time staff. The difference is that we do it from the comforts and familiarity of our own home-office.

One of the things I love about being a freelancer though is the fact that I no longer have to get up early in the morning. I can also bid farewell to the ritual of planning my outfit for work the next day. I have the liberty to sleep in late, wear comfy clothes at home, work at my own pace and make my own decisions. I also get to decide when I want to take off without seeking permission from the boss.

Last week I got a call from Hema. She has taken the plunge into freelancing and so far, really seems to be enjoying her new role. The fact that her hubby runs his business from home as well is an added bonus I guess. It was great to be able to share the same thoughts and to bitch about similar stuff with another fellow freelancer. One of the things we both agreed on was that it would take nothing short of a miracle to drag us back into the full-time world. For now, the comfy cushion we sit on while freelancing from home is just too sweet for us to surrender!


68 comments:

emila,  February 13, 2007 3:05 PM

Mariuca,
I would love to go freelancing full time but considering the fact that my husband is also freelancing now, I have to forget all about it. I really need the benefits that BERNAS gives.

Anyway, thanks for the comment in my blog and am glad you like the paddy field.

Mariuca February 13, 2007 4:18 PM

Emila,

I didn't know hubby is freelancing full-time now, since when? Hey, don't give up hope, try to stabilize your situation as much as possible before finally going into freelance. And don't forget, your artistic talent definitely sells, just look at all the wonderful comments ur website is getting!

See you Thursday!

emila,  February 14, 2007 9:56 AM

Thanks, Marzie! Planning to start selling in e-bay worldwide, most probably will start with few paintings and painted bags. Wish me luck! See you Thursday, will tell all about it!

Mariuca February 14, 2007 10:08 AM

Oh wow, really Emila?! Yup, tell me all about it tomorrow, I'll give you my thoughts as well :)

santa April 19, 2007 12:27 AM

nice blog u and ur pets looks cute good blog

Mariuca April 19, 2007 2:53 AM

Hi Santa, thanks for dropping by :)

Shady April 22, 2007 2:44 AM

Hi~Mariuca.I'm here because I love freelance, esp. you are a copywriter.I'm good at computer art. I'm going to read your article more thoroughly to practice my poor language. XD!See you!

Mariuca April 22, 2007 4:00 PM

Hi shady, freelancing is the way to go for me right now! I love what I do and am glad to see that u too have a marketable skill in the freelance world :)

Nick Phillips, MY August 17, 2007 12:58 PM

Marz, I tried running my own freelance business once long ago, but there were too many distractions for me at home, like my bed and TV ... LOL! I guess freelancing are basically for someone with a lot of discipline and self control, unlike me. Once I'm home, I try not to think about work anymore (but it doesn't always work out that way ... LOL!)

Mariuca August 17, 2007 1:17 PM

Hi Nick! Well, maybe u can give it another go later on, perhaps when you get really sick and tired of having a boss bossing u around all the time LOL! I don't think I'll ever go back to 9-5... cause you know la what time I actually get up! :):):)

J@n!ce August 18, 2007 9:39 AM

Marzie : I agree that doing working from home has its UPs & downs. I can imagine you wearing your pyjamas while typing away. haha :D

My former work is home based. So I understand ! When I'm tired, I took a nap, then work up to work again... LOL :)

Mariuca August 19, 2007 1:13 AM

Errrr, actually sometimes I do work in my pjs!! LOL!

Best part abt working from home is that I get to watch my B&B every afternoon at 3pm while others are feeling sleepy and lazy at the office ha ha ha... :):):)

Jean Chia August 19, 2007 1:14 PM

good for you marzie! working for what you love, that's life! :)

Mariuca August 19, 2007 1:58 PM

That is the life Jean! I just love working from home actually, but I do miss the office life sometimes, so I get my dose of office stories from B and friends who are still stuck in da office life! ;)

Sushi May 25, 2008 12:01 PM

Hi Marzie, many thanks for the entrecard recommendation, it's really nice. Thanks for dropping by too! The job you have is my Mom's dream job. She would like to work from home because she'll have more time to spend with me. Right now she's looking for something to do from home. She tried ebay but didn't sell a whole lot. She'd like to do something like you do but she's not sure if her chances are slim since she's not a native speaker of English. How is it to get customers, is there any website you can recommend?

PS: This kitty you have looks like it's the breed Mom is looking for: more round eyes and really fluffy, what kind of cat is that? She's really cute! Have a good week!

Mariuca May 25, 2008 5:26 PM

Hi Sushi! Great to hear you're loving EC. :)

My kitty cats are persian mix but Phoebe is a pure Persian. She's so fluffy and soft, I think you should go out and get one today! He he!

Great to hear that ur mom is interested in freelancing from home! It's awesome to have ur own home business but to find the right niche for u is what really important.

It took me several years to really prepare and set-up my biz before I left my 9-5 job. I established my client base via contacts while still working then. There are of course many websites for u to check out, but I'm not very well versed in any particular one. You could perhaps try this one for size..good luck! :)

www.freelancefree.com/

frostygirl May 25, 2008 7:53 PM

Hi
I would love to freelance and earn a income from home, I recently started a blog to get the feel of writing on line and I am enjoying it, but it is difficult to think of subjects to write about, how do you know what to write about that will give you an income?

Mariuca May 25, 2008 10:33 PM

Hi Frosty girl and welcome to mariuca's blog!

My main income is of course from my copywriting business, which I run from home. I make a little side income writing online. The topics I choose depend on what I feel my readers would be most interested in. So once you've developed your blog, I'm sure the topics would come easily. At first, I too was worried on what to write about, but you'll get the hang of it sooner or later. All the best to you! :):):)

JaMiLLa May 28, 2008 1:28 AM

Marzie,

What is a copywriter???

I am planning to be a freelance writer or others when I am the mother-in-future.

I want to earn my own money and share the responsibility of family financial with my future husband and at the same time I want to accompany the growth of my kid. Learn together with them.

That's why I wanna know more about ur freelance copywriter job. How I earn money thru internet while I am at home....

Sushi May 28, 2008 7:50 AM

Hi again Marzie, thanks for the website on freelancing. I think you're absolutely right when you said about "finding your niche". What's yours? Is it anything similar to what you blog about? Anyway, even if you miss the office, it's worth being in control of your own time. Mama can't wait to find a job like this.
Oh, my parents are thinking about getting another four legged friend for me, they don't know if it's gonna be a Woof or Meow speaker but if it's a Meow, I already told them it has to look like Phoebe even if it's another color. Cheers!

Mariuca May 28, 2008 11:09 AM

Hi Jamy! Wah oredi thinking about getting married ah? He he...take ur time dearie, you're still young. :)

Okay, a copywriter is someone who writes copy, esp for advertising. That is what I do. I run a small modest company from home, where I provide copywriting services to advertising agencies. I also provide translation services, Eng-BM and Eng-Chinese. Copies include print ads, radio commercials, billboards, flyers etc... This is my main biz Jamy.

Online wise, I write for advertising programs as and when they can fit into my schedule and when the opportunity is available to me. That's a side income for me.

Anyway you're still young with loads of opportunities waiting. Take ur time in deciding what career path you eventually wanna get into. For me, it has always been writing. Thanks for ur interest sweetie! :):):)

Mariuca May 28, 2008 11:15 AM

Hola Sushi!! Oh you should definitely get a meow meow ha ha ha!!! I'd love to see pics of ur new kitty cat! A white one would be super cute too!! ;)

Pls see the comment that I just wrote for Jamy here. That should tell u more about my home biz.

For me, my niche is writing. I was already doing that prior to quitting my full-time job. Even when I was working the 9-5 job, I was freelancing for a magazine, to further set my footing in the writing world. So my blog in this instance, focuses on my life as a freelance copywriter, working from home.

Your mom should consider doing something that she really likes doing. Only then will u have the continuous drive and interest to ensure your home biz will succeed! :):):)

Sushi May 29, 2008 5:37 AM

Great! I'm double happy today! First because I found that comment for Jamy, which was very helpful and explanatory to me,thank you! But the most important thing is finding the right stuff to give you motivation, I got that! Any success in life will only be achieved if there's joy in what one's doing, I believe this is the secret.
Wow, cool thing you can speak Chinese, this is a great skill!
Second, I saw my name on the top 10 Mariucans !!! HAHAHAHAHA Is that really me? What did I do to deserve it? If Mariucan means a big fan of Mariuca's blog then I am one! Your posts are delightful, Thanks Marzie!

Mariuca May 29, 2008 11:16 AM

Sushi!!! He he, I don't speak Chinese although it would be so cool if I did yeah? I have a Chinese translator who handles the Chinese copies for me. I handle the English and Malay copies and basically be the boss he he! Oh that's the best part of being on your own, you get to be ur own boss and the freedom this entails is totally satisfying! :)

Ha ha I noticed too that you are now on the list of my Top 10 Commenters/Mariucans! Yay! Keep on commenting and you just might make it to the Top 5 woof woof!! ;)

Sushi May 30, 2008 10:29 PM

Hi again Marzie, how do you set up your blog to have the top 10 commenters/mariucans(I love that!)show up automatically? No need to answer if it's too technical or boring. And, just out of curiosity, how did you come about this name(Mariuca)?

Mariuca May 30, 2008 11:18 PM

He he, no worries Sushi! I wrote a post on the commenter widget, you can see it here.

As for the name Mariuca ... it was given to me by my Italian professor when I was studying for my degree in US. I took Italian as one of my subjects and we all were given Italian names by this professor. He decided to give me the name Mariuca...and that's the story behind the name! :):):)

Sushi June 02, 2008 6:58 AM

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I found that widget easily and now you are one of the "Top 10 Sushi Lovers" hahahaha!
Oh, I suspected Mariuca sounded kind of Latin just didn't know which language, but definetely didn't sound Malaysian or English hence my curiosity, I think it sounds really nice. Whereabouts did you live in the US and how did you like it? It's always nice to study abroad,Mama did that too. Woof!( bye!)

Mariuca June 02, 2008 3:47 PM

Ha ha!! I am? Yay, must go over to ur blog and check out your widget. It was very easy to install yes?

Thanks Sushi, I like the name too and it's a nice reminder of my former Professor. I studied in Chester, Pennsylvania. Where did Mama study I wonder... :)

Emila Yusof September 27, 2008 10:47 PM

yay! am a freelancer too now!

LadyJava September 28, 2008 3:14 AM

Yeay.. me too.. though more of a full time blogger..like you said GP.. it takes lots of discipline and motivation so being interested in what you are doing is VERY important..

LadyJava September 28, 2008 3:15 AM

Sushi..I hope your mama finds her niche market too so that she can always be home with you ya and your little meowie or woofie sister or brother ...

Emila Yusof September 29, 2008 8:25 AM

I think I am also a full time blogger now...

Emila Yusof September 29, 2008 8:26 AM

been doing reviews most of the times.

LadyJava September 29, 2008 8:56 PM

Me.. full time blogger.. writes review too!!

Mariuca September 29, 2008 9:26 PM

Emila! See u were my first commenter here and that time you masih kerja full-time, but now yeeha! Fulltime freelancing from home, isn't it the best??? No need to worry abt opis clothes anymore ha ha!

Mariuca September 29, 2008 9:27 PM

LJ, u are def a full-time blogger and don forget post queen! ;)

LadyJava September 30, 2008 2:40 AM

Yihaa post queen!!!

Emila Yusof October 03, 2008 6:59 PM

yihaaa lj, post queen!

Emila Yusof October 03, 2008 6:59 PM

and marzie is comment queen!!!

LadyJava October 04, 2008 2:22 PM

and Emila is Illo Queen!!

Emila Yusof October 07, 2008 1:58 AM

wohooo...best tuh illo queen!! thank you, lj!

Emila Yusof October 07, 2008 1:58 AM

tapi kalau i dapat title post queen pun best jugak...

Emila Yusof October 07, 2008 1:59 AM

lagi best kalau dapat title comment queen for october di mariuca's!

Emila Yusof October 16, 2008 11:11 AM

marzie, i'm so glad that i quit the job and went freelancing. been a year, of course kadang2 susah sikit but i enjoy every minute of it!

Emila Yusof October 16, 2008 11:12 AM

now so happy can make money online...

Emila Yusof October 16, 2008 11:12 AM

can make money from selling text links

Emila Yusof October 16, 2008 11:12 AM

can sell my design service

Emila Yusof October 16, 2008 11:13 AM

and can sell my crafts and paintings! I need to make a lot of these!

Emila Yusof October 18, 2008 12:05 AM

lol, sorry! banyak giler komen i kat atas!

Emila Yusof October 18, 2008 12:05 AM

i can't seem to keep up with rizal and debbs!

Emila Yusof October 21, 2008 4:33 PM

ok, nengok pada sibear dah beat lj, tadi me at 5th now 4th

Emila Yusof October 21, 2008 4:33 PM

next mission to overtake grandy

Emila Yusof October 21, 2008 4:34 PM

then i shall maintain at the top! wohoo!

Emila Yusof October 21, 2008 4:34 PM

*daydream sambil mengomen*

Emila Yusof October 22, 2008 8:16 PM

marzie tulah, medical benefit takde.

Emila Yusof October 22, 2008 8:17 PM

lucky bernas sponsor for 3 years.

Emila Yusof October 22, 2008 8:17 PM

now baru masuk early 2nd year.

Emila Yusof October 22, 2008 8:17 PM

but i oso got backup, prudential.

Emila Yusof October 22, 2008 8:18 PM

now i got no big jobs in hand.

Emila Yusof October 22, 2008 8:19 PM

cuma tunggu royalty for the diary, early next year dapat lah tu.

Emila Yusof October 22, 2008 8:19 PM

later for buku pak samad yg masuk sekolah pun will get oso...helmy janji but dunno lah dia ingat ke tak nanti :(

Emila Yusof October 22, 2008 8:20 PM

now depend on side income from online jobs...reviews and what not.

My Pink Shoelace November 09, 2008 12:40 PM

Ei Mariuca, am interested in working as a freelancer, but am not sure where to start ... any advise?

Mariuca November 10, 2008 5:59 AM

Emila!! Thank you for ur comment love here dear ha ha! :)

Mmg best jadi freelancer ni, schedule tak menentu, sleeping hours all out LOL! But yes, it's gonna be really hard to drag me back into the 9-5 world! ;)

Mariuca November 10, 2008 6:01 AM

Hi Pink Shoelace! That's great sweetie and perhaps u can read my comment to Sushi here on some advice regarding freelancing.

Also, first and foremost, u gotta know what it is u want and LIKE to do. The interest gotta be there so u won't easily get bored and give up halfway! :):):)

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