Every month, we’ll interview a successful freelancer to give you insider insights. Last month, you saw what I do as a freelance editor. Today, we’re pleased to be joined by writer and speaker Sally Jenkins, so you can find out about the life of a published author, freelance writer, and public speaker…
Thanks for speaking to us today Sally. So, what do you do as a freelancer?
I write novels, short stories, and articles. I give talks to groups such as the WI about my writing life. The title of my talk is ‘How to Make Money out of Murder’ – which seems to intrigue people! I also do a small amount of book formatting for clients who want to self-publish via Amazon.
This work started to materialise after I self-published ‘Kindle Direct Publishing for Absolute Beginners’, which provides lots of background information for anyone thinking about going down the self-publishing route. Publishing a relevant non-fiction book can generate useful passive income for a freelancer and act as a marketing tool. On top of my freelancing life, I am also employed three days a week in IT.
Why did you become a freelancer?
I wanted to follow my passion in a way that made it more serious than a hobby. I don’t write only for my own amusement, like most writers I want my work to be read! My ultimate aim, if finances ever allow it, is to become a full-time writer.
What have been your biggest obstacles as a freelancer?
The thing I still find most difficult about freelancing is self-promotion. Most of us have an innate reticence to bragging about ourselves, be that in real life or on social media. This may be down to politeness or lack of confidence. The one thing which greatly improved my self-confidence was joining a Speakers’ Club. This is a ‘safe’ environment for practising public speaking and receiving feedback on each performance.
In April 2018, I was amazed to find myself representing the Midlands in the national speech contest of the ASC. This year I wrote ‘Public Speaking for Absolute Beginners’ with the hope of helping other terrified people like myself!
What’s an average freelance day like for you?
First task of the day is always to add some more words to the first draft of my next novel. Depending on how well it’s going, this can feel like wading through treacle or skiing downhill with a following wind! Sometimes I will work at home or, if I’m sick of the same four walls, I will walk to a local coffee shop. At lunchtime and into the afternoon, I switch to checking emails, social media, and anything else that I need to do (this blog post for example!). Whether it’s a freelance day or an employed day, I always make time for some exercise—it’s great for both mental and physical health.
What skill do you feel is most important in freelancing?
The ability to be single-minded and open-minded at the same time. Being single-minded is essential to getting a job done and achieving goals. Don’t procrastinate or waver off course! But it’s also important to have a mind which is open to new suggestions, market trends, and innovation. The freelancer without an open mind will sink without trace in today’s constantly evolving world.
How does freelancing compare to being an employee?
My freelancing brings a far greater level of personal satisfaction than my salaried work but generates significantly less income. The average full-time writer earns only £11k per year. As a freelancer, I love choosing and controlling what I do, but there are significant benefits (and much frustration!) to keeping one foot in the employed world. The ‘silent’ benefits of pension, sick pay, holidays should not be undervalued.
If you had one top tip for freelancers, what would it be?
To be a motivated, successful freelancer, you have to do something you absolutely love. It’s essential to appear over-enthusiastic to the clients you serve!
You can find Sally at:
Amazon: Sally Jenkins
Would you like to feature in a freelance insider interview? If so, get in touch!