Essential Truths All Freelancers Should Know

Michael Stover
7 min readSep 3, 2023
The author working from the beach.

This year (2023) marks my five-year anniversary as a full-time freelancer. After another initially promising career imploded and left me jobless and homeless with six mouths to feed, I sort of fell backward into freelancing — I had to find some way to earn a living. I had some writing skills and experience, so I began searching online for ways to use what I knew.

I worked evenings and weekends for four years until my freelance work grew to replace and supplant my full-time job in education. Since then, it has grown and blossomed, and I’ve never once regretted it. I went into more detail about my freelance beginnings in another article written one year into full-time freelancing, so I won’t rehash it here.

I do want to share some wisdom I’ve gleaned after nine years as a freelancer (four years part-time and five years full-time). These are essential truths all freelancers should know, regardless of their specialty. I’m a digital copywriter, editor, and ghostwriter; however, these truths apply to every freelancer.

A mentor of mine said, “Experience means learning from your mistakes — wisdom is learning from other people’s mistakes.” I won’t bore you with a detailed explanation of my many freelancing mistakes. Perhaps the lessons I’ve learned can prevent you from making them yourself.

Freelancing is Work

First and foremost, it’s important to understand that freelancing is not a get-rich-quick scheme. It takes dedication, hard work, and persistence to build a successful freelance business. It’s important to be patient and stay focused on your goals, even when the going gets tough.

Many picture freelancers hardly working at all or sipping drinks on an exotic beach while watching their bank…