Lessons Learned from a Failed Freelance Attempt


Jonathon's picture

have a dedicated office


One thing I learned from a failed attempt last summer is how important it is to have a dedicated office space. My computer was in a corner of the living room, and I was constantly distracted by the kids and a host of other things. I really needed to go shut myself in a room where nobody could bug me.

Posted on Fri, 05/02/2014 - 12:22pm

Dawn McIlvain Stahl's picture

Work space

Dawn McIlvain Stahl

That's one of the "rules" I get to break, but only because I'm usually home alone when I'm working. I used to have a very traditional, dedicated work space. Now I do almost all of my at-home work on my laptop, often from the couch. And when the dog gets too annoying -- because, boy, can he get annoying -- I send him outside to his dedicated work space so I can keep couching and working. ;-) The only issue I've had with this lackadaisical system is that sometimes my workday is still going when my husband gets home in the evening. Having my last moments of crunch-time work overlap his first moments of after-work decompression isn't ideal but it's workable.

Posted on Fri, 05/02/2014 - 4:48pm

Adrienne Montgomerie's picture

specializing can open other areas

Adrienne Montgomerie

I tried to be a generalist for 14 years, but clients just weren't biting. I kept getting the same kinds of assignments — satisfying and regular, but always the same. So, finally, I decided I was a science editor; and a school science textbook editor, at that. Brand "scieditor" was born.

What happened next? People started asking me to edit other subjects (some very far from science) and other products (as "off brand" as a fertilizer bag). This is counterintuitive. It doesn't make sense to me. The most I can make of it is, as you say, people want to know who they are dealing with.

Posted on Sun, 05/04/2014 - 2:10pm

Dawn McIlvain Stahl's picture


Dawn McIlvain Stahl

It's true that after I narrowed my focus to academic editing and textbook proofreading, my business steadied and I felt more in control and even more professional. Once I was established, though, I did find that I could dabble in other areas, some of which are still part of my career today.

Posted on Sun, 05/04/2014 - 9:14pm