Full-Time Job vs Freelance Writing: Doing the Math - Make a Living Writing

Full-Time Job vs Freelance Writing: Doing the Math

Carol Tice | 45 Comments

How much do you need to earn as a freelance writer?

Often, I hear from writers who think if they can just replace the hourly rate they got at their day job with an equivalent hourly rate as a freelancer, they’ll do OK. Check out this comment from one of my recent blog posts:

“I landed another gig on Elance today doing data entry for the next 4 weeks at $11 an hour. No, it’s not $50 an hour, but it pays the bills. And it beats bagging groceries at Trader Joe’s for $9 an hour…”

Unfortunately, that’s not true.

Getting a measly $2 an hour more as a freelancer than you would have earned at a day job doesn’t put you ahead. It puts you way, way behind.

Let’s get out our calculators and do a little math to figure out the size of the problem. To net the same hourly rate as a freelancer, you’ll need to add in the following costs you don’t pay as an employee:

  1. Utility bills. The heat, water, light and phone bills may all be higher when you’re home all day. As a worker, your boss essentially paid for some of this by hosting you at their place of business .
  2. Employment tax. Your employer footed the bill on half of this. As a freelancer, you pay both halves yourself. You can look up your tax deduction on a pay stub to see how much more you’ll owe the IRS. You’ll also likely pay state business taxes as a freelancer.
  3. Equipment. Your boss provided a computer, Internet access, printer, paper, and everything else you needed to work. Now, you’re on the hook for all those costs. When the computer dies, guess who gets to call a tech — or buy a new one?
  4. Marketing costs. You didn’t need to get out and market your business when you had a full-time gig. Now, you might need to purchase publications, join associations, take trainings, pay a web host, send direct-mail postcards — all those marketing costs are yours to bear.
  5. Non-billable hours. A full-time job gave you a guaranteed 40 hours of work each and every week. Freelancing isn’t like that. You’ll have hours you need to spend marketing, doing bookkeeping, chasing after slow payers. So to end up with equivalent pay, you’ll have to figure how many billable hours you’ve really got in a month and divide the monthly total you need by that figure, not the 180+ hours of a typical employee.
  6. Unpaid vacation and sick time. Your boss might have floated you a couple weeks free a year or more, and may have covered a week or more of sick days, too. As your own boss, when you don’t work, you don’t get paid.

Earning $11 an hour as a freelancer isn’t looking so rosy now, hmm? Which is why I advise freelance writers to set a goal of earning $100 an hour.

Sure, the low-priced freelancing allows you to retain control of your day, and hopefully scare up some better-paying freelance gigs. But in the long run, if the pay rate isn’t a whole lot better than you did as an employee, financially you’re going to end up worse off.

Have I left out any costs of freelancing? Leave a comment and add to my list.

45 comments on “Full-Time Job vs Freelance Writing: Doing the Math

  1. Shiva on

    Worked as an employer in IBM, got tired of working 40+ hours a week, earning only 23,000 per year. Used their equipment but had no access to facebook, orkut, music, video or any entertainment. No holiday, only 3 weeks leave… Used to get frustrated day after day, wasn’t happy.

    Now a full-time freelance web developer. Work 20 hours per week (max), earn over 50k per year, pay taxes pay for my own equipment and that gives me a great feeling really! I don’t think I have to spend much in those things, IN FACT I used to spend considerably more buying food, paying for petrol and even living as a paying guest when I was working in IBM. Always worried about my family who was living 1000 miles away from where I am.

    Can access anything at anytime. Can take leave when I decide to and work from there as well..

    Not a single second frustrated, extremely happy and enjoying the freedom.

    Just my bit of “mental” experience.

    But one point I would still make to newcomers in Freelancing: The starting of this career is the most crucial point. There are many people who will go against your self-employed life, especially your family members or even relatives. You just need to hold your confidence and go ahead with your self-motivation and will to work. You also need to be extremely skilled in your field and try making a huge client-base. Once you get settled with everything, there will be no complaints and loss; at this point anyone will envy your life in the Wealthy Triangle. But if you are not 100% confident, maybe you should start working in a company and freelance as a part-time work.

  2. Kendra on

    This article and others have made me feel better. I work from home for a major company and use my own pc, phone and other equipment. The company pays for none of my utilities (and even though they’re expensive, they’re not “enough” for me to claim on taxes). I have to use my phone and DSL for work. The company offers a small ($20/month) allowance for both. Not much. I don’t get paid for vacation or sick time. The (ongoing) training is so bad, I end up spending a lot of my own (unpaid) time learning/training. As far as an hourly rate, I’ve been on sites where freelancers complain of only making $40k a year. That’s almost double what I make at my full time job. To be able to survive, I have to sell stuff on ebay (and spend a lot of time finding items to sell). I’ve also had to rely on pet sitting and house sitting and the occasional computer repair gig. I’m working pretty much 24-7. Soooo … sounds like the biggest obstacle (for me) is the health insurance.

    • Carol Tice on

      I had one mentee in a similar boat, Kendra. I call these “faux full-time jobs.” If a company wants to own you, they ought to be providing some benefits — paid vacation/sick, a 401k with match, etc. If they’re not, why not go out on your own? The pay isn’t enough to make you secure and there are not many benefits to leave behind.

      Healthcare is solvable, I’ve been paying my own for years now. Yes, it costs a lot here in the U.S. But there are many avenues for writers including your local chamber, the National Writers Union, Media Bistro, and just plain checking with your state and finding out what individual or one-person business plans are available. It’s a big cost, but when it’s your business, it’s a writeoff that reduces gross income, which really helps on the tax end. And healthcare should get better in the next few years if reform sticks, with more options.

      And bottom line is, health insurance should not be a reason to stay in a low-paid job you hate, or to work for others if you’d rather freelance.

    • Carol Tice on

      I think it’s one of the biggest misperceptions out there, that you can just take your full-time job’s hourly rate, start earning it yourself, and you’ll be as well off.

      The good news — when you’re a freelancer, your income potential is actually UNLIMITED. So you can and should earn more.

      • Cindy on

        Great post! But you forgot one calculation/cost while doing the math: freedom. I’m 49 and I’ve never had a job-job in my life. Worked 13 days 9 to 5 recently for a major insurance company as a proofreader in a cubicle. Hated it. I felt like a rat who wanted to chew off her foot to get out of the trap, and the only thing that kept me sane was knowing it was temporary! Gah!

        I’ve been self-employed and filing Schedule C since I was 22, but only the past couple years as a writer (non-fiction money-making stuff)….Sure, sometimes–many times!–I’ve had to white-knuckle it, whether in regard to confidence or money. And sometimes I’ve painted myself into a corner, financially and/or over-committment-wise. But…never a dull moment. Never boring. I love the freedom of freelancing/self-employment. Whatever the overall ‘cost.’

        And, yes, sometimes, that cost is: working when you have the flu, despite the nausea and fever; going 3 years (or more) w.o a vacation because you don’t trust anyone to fill in for you while away or you just don’t want to spend the money (‘paid vacation’ sounds so dreamy–I’ve read about those….); missing Christmas dinner b/c you’ve got to attend to an emergency with a client.

        Sometimes the cost is doing without or with little until you can ‘re-strategize.’

        (Part of my re-strategizing these days is trying to figure out how to make more money as a freelance writer, instead of the other things I’ve done for money. Which is how I initially stumbled across your site…)

        Again, the prime benefit/pay for me is freedom. Independence. Sure, I’ve independently felt like screaming in some of the situations I’ve listed above, but at least I had the freedom to do so. Without anyone poking their head over the cubicle wall.

        When you do all of the calculations…it goes so, so beyond numbers and a calculator and benefits and taxes. It even goes beyond health insurance. (which I did w.o for many years, but– bless the state I live in–I’ve got it now).

        And–sometimes–$11 an hour might figure into those calculations just right, for the short-term… when you weigh all of the costs/benefits and prioritize then according to what is important to *you*.

        Freelancing isn’t just a way to make money. It’s a way of life.

        I would not give it up for anything.

        • Sarah on

          Excellent point, Cindy. I agree…. I just came off a 7 year stint in an office (the first and only of my life, having been a freelancer all the rest of the time) and I WILL NEVER do that again. There are major psychological and quality of life costs to working in an office as well – all things you regain when you freelance and which may be worth the lower income for a lot of us.

          I hate to break it to you, Carol, but life is actually not all about money. There’s a lot more to life than that, whether you can earn more as a freelancer or not. And you know? At some point, enough income is enough and we don’t need more. Sometimes not enough income is also enough (been there, done that), when you measure success in terms of what’s feeding your heart and giving you true happiness…

          • Sarah on

            Also, I don’t mean this to be cruel, but…. it’s a little rich to have a site about how to make it as a freelance writer and then be charging people $25 to join and get all your advice, complete with obvious marketing ploys (intentional scarcity) and hyped up language.

            I’m assuming Carol did or does have a successful freelance writing career and I am happy for her success. But if that is so, why does she now need to charge money to struggling writers (operative word: struggling) to pass on her wisdom? I don’t get it. If she’s so successful, the really helpful thing to do for others would be to make this information free. But I suspect it’s not about helping, it’s about making money. Such a shame…

          • Linda on

            As a member of the Freelance Writers Den just feel a need to say Carol is providing an incredible value and service. She’s indeed helping others grow their careers. There’s so much information, so many resources in her community that it almost feels free. You mention “feeding your heart”….I feel Carol is doing just that. She has a heartfelt mission of helping other writers get out of a poverty mindset. I do have a hard time with a lot if the new media teachers and gurus out there. Carol is the real thing though. There’s a heart of gold that rings through her mentorship and guidance in the Den, in her blog etc.

          • Carol Tice on

            Oh, I don’t need to help writers, Sarah. I can and still do make more as a freelancer.

            Helping writers earn more is a passion project for me…but with a family of five to feed here, I’m afraid it can’t be entirely a freebie project. All the info on this blog is free, and give away loads of free stuff including my 40 Ways report on marketing and a monthly, one-hour free live call.

            My one-on-one mentoring costs way more than a Den membership. I started the Den to try to make it more affordable for more writers to get the individualized help they need to earn more. Because I know so many are struggling and can’t pay a big up-front fee. If you think I’m ripping people off, I’d like you to take a gander at Angela Booth’s mentoring service — $2000 — or the courses AWAI offers that were just on here earlier this week, which run upwards of $400. I’m doing my best to be a low-cost provider of customized writer help.

            I won’t apologize for being unable to be the free, 24/7 customized Dear Abby for freelance writers, though.

            I guess from the outside closing the Den might seem like a marketing ploy, but I did it because I am offering a load of help to the people in the Den, and I want to make sure I’m not overreaching and packing in too many people, and then people don’t get the help I need.

            I could surely make more by keeping it wide open and letting it have 5000 members or something like a lot of the big-name communities, but I’m not going there. This is not a mass model, where an expert sticks their head in once a month and otherwise everybody is on their own to help each other. It’s an exclusive, high-service community model. I also want to make sure everything in the Den is functioning technically and can handle the member load, and want to spend more time developing useful trainings for Denizens like the 4-Webinar bootcamp we’re doing now, rather than spending more time marketing the Den. So that’s why we’re closed down right now.

            I’m sure you won’t believe this either, but the real point of charging a fee isn’t so I get rich…though I definitely won’t apologize for needing to get paid for the many, many hours I spend serving Den members. The point is to gather a group of writers who’re dead serious about earning more — serious enough to invest money in their business. Because I really like working with writers who get results — who go out and find better clients. The quality of the forum conversations in the Den, with members helping each other and getting help from pros, has really amazed me.

            If your gym membership was free, would you ever go? Right. You go and do the workouts because you paid, and you expect to get a value out of it. I think the Den works the same way.

            But I see Denizens are already coming on to talk about their experiences in there…guess I’ll let them tell you more about the value of it.

            And um…this information IS free. I have another site that’s a paid level. You’re free to hang out here and dig the free stuff. Sounds like that’s your thing. For writers who want to get on a fast track to earning more, I have a place where I can spend more time with them. It works for all of us.

        • Carol Tice on

          Oh absolutely, Cindy. We all have to weigh the freedom factor into the equation, too. I just don’t want people deluding themselves that it’s going to pencil out the same to earn a similar hourly rate to a day job as a freelancer, because it won’t.

          I know people who solve some of the differential by just not having health insurance…but I’m too risk averse for that!

  3. Sheen Edward on

    That’s a tough goal for new writers, $100/hr. Quite hard to reach. With good points of comparison with full time vs. freelance, surely having a company with you is a great choice indeed but with lots of pressure!

    • Carol Tice on

      I don’t think new writers should expect to make $100 an hour, at all. But…make $30, or you’re not going to be able to be around long enough to move up and make more!

      I think most new writers really sell themselves short on what they’re worth, because they feel unworthy of decent rates because they’re new. It’s just a question of realizing you’re solving a problem for someone, and that has value. If you write well, you’ll deliver something better than the client would have had on their own, even on the first gig you do.

  4. GS on

    Kudos to those of you succeeding in the global environment. Trying to reach beyond my region didn’t work for me in all the times I’ve tried over the past few years, but obviously it does for others. I’ve found that each time I focus marketing on national or global firms outside my area, they have a long list of resources in their own backyard and I haven’t been able to differentiate my skills/value proposition enough to overcome that, despite a very strong specialization in their industry. There’s always a fairly generous supply of writers with the same specialization living in their own area…usually with lower rates and a personal relationship already built. I can certainly equal what they offer, but can’t really show an overwhelming reason to switch to me when they’re already happy with whom they have. Not meaning to sound negative here: I think it’s great that some people can build their copywriting business with global leaders and secure those higher rates!

    • Carol Tice on

      That’s so interesting, as mostly these days I find so many companies don’t care where you are.

      I don’t see you listing a URL for your writer website — do you not have one? That’s pretty critical for positioning yourself as a pro these days.

      You might also try either bigger or smaller companies to where you’ve been targeting. I find nobody thinks about the $50M-$1 billion types, only the biggest, or they’re stuck in the small-biz rut.

  5. Danica on

    Carol, you are so right with this breakdown. One thing you forgot – the cost of health care premiums. That can take a huge chunk out of a freelancer’s income, especially if there are children or any health problems.

    I’m single, so the IRS looooves me because I pay more than if there were a spouse and dependents come tax time (as a former accountant, I do know how to reduce those significantly). But there are no breaks when it comes to health care premiums.

    Other than that, more freelancers must think of what they do as a business…as ugly as that may seem.

    • Carol Tice on

      Danica —

      Yeah, was a major oversight, but others above in the comments did point out my omission of healthcare costs.

      If you live in the U.S. the past several years at least, you’ve been able to deduct your premiums as a self-employed person or business owner. If you haven’t been getting the breaks you’re qualified for, you need to hire a professional or a better one. Unfortunately, I believe that break is going away for this year, which is insanely unfair! You can back-file for previous years if need be.

  6. GS on

    It’s nice to shoot for $100/hr but in most areas of the country, those clients will be few and far in-between. And even when you get them, you’ll get a few jobs at most before the work dwindles off. I’m a 25-year writer who’s worked for Fortune 100s and small businesses alike. I’ve worked on staff as a copy mgr/director and also supported myself freelancing for years. I do traditional and leading-edge digital work. Still, I used to get $100-125/hour. Today my rate is $75/hour. I agree a certain threshold is needed – $11 is crazy low. But the number of clients willing to pay $100 rates is fewer than ever before. There are a LOT of writers working right now – many come from agency layoffs and out-of-business newspapers/magazines – many are good, experienced ones – and they’re charging far less than that. It’s a different world – at least from my perspective – and I congratulate those writers still earning the higher amounts. But I have found it impossible…and I’ve tried. No one in my region pays those rates anymore – and firms outside my region in major NE, West and Midwest markets already have a huge selection of experienced, locally-based writers they work with.

    I have come to the conclusion that it’s more satisfying to earn $75/hr and win more work than continue losing 4 out of 5 or 9 out of every 10 projects, given the time, calls, emails, quotes, etc I’ve invested to get to that point. Just one experienced writer’s opinion.

    • Carol Tice on

      Hi GS —

      I didn’t say we necessarily ACHIEVE $100 an hour…especially right now, in this economy. But that should be the goal, so that we end up at least somewhere in that neighborhood.

      I find it’s a global business these days — I don’t think in terms of “companies in my region can’t pay this.” My region is the world. Recently I’ve had clients in the UK and Australia, Canada, and across the US from me.

      • Ruth - Freelance Writing Blog on

        Carol is right – and sometimes it means moving laterally into other industries that pay better. I work mostly with global tech and retail companies – they are much more comfortable with my rates than, for instance, the non profit sector or MarCom consultancies. Setting your goals higher is more likely to bring you closer to the $100 mark than if you settle preemptively for significantly less.

  7. Joni on

    I don’t care if I am just barely scraping by right now, I cannot work for an employer due to several mental disabilities. The jobs I’ve tried to work for over 20 years are not worth my sanity. I have suffered so much discrimination and lost a case because I could not afford a lawyer. I will live in a tiny apt. or trailer, only buy the bare needs, whatever I need to do to be able to work at home. No price is too small. I have realized many, many of the things I thought I “needed” were really just wants. You can’t put a price on freedom.
    Being able to see the sun and breathe fresh air throughout the day cannot be measured with the ball and chain in a tiny cubicle with no windows being watched by the “warden” if you take too long in the bathroom.
    No thank you. I hope to get to be a better writer and be able to command more money as I go along. If not, I will find some way to make a living without going back to prison. It is a soul killer.
    Thanks for listening,
    Joni

  8. Jan Hill on

    Great reality check, Carol. The main reason I do not quit my full time job and freelance full time is health insurance. My husband’s employer dropped his (along with contributions to the company retirement plan) a couple years ago, and since my job has these benefits, my family gets coverage through my work. I feel trapped sometimes – who wants to work someplace mostly because of
    the availability of group health insurance? Individual plans are expensive, which is another reason freelancing needs to pay well. But freelancing full time is still my goal.

    • Carol Tice on

      I’m hoping healthcare reform is going to end this whole syndrome of the millions of people who stay at their job mostly for the healthcare. It’s solvable now, though expensive, but we’re hoping the options will grow and that more affordable options will be available over the next few years, as reform rolls out. Hoping hard that it isn’t all undone by the current Congress.

  9. Jeanne on

    $65-80 is the absolute minimum when you not only figure in your own income tax and business expenses, but also making 100% to your retirement fund and covering the cost of life & health insurance. My current employer not only has to cover my salary, but insurance, FICA, 403b, and whatever insurance they’ve got on me that I don’t know about. I figure that it’s nearly 35% on top of my salary in costs to them.

    Still, when my shoulders are hunched up after a hellish commute and I see a monthly deduction for parking on campus, I’m get even more motivated to work for myself!

  10. Susan on

    I wrote about this topic awhile back: Freelanconomics: The Real Cost of Being Your Own Boss I’m really glad to be freelancing but health insurance is another big expense that many freelancers grapple with (I bought my own for three years and now I’m eligible for domestic partner benefits). Although we can set up a SEP-IRA or other retirement account, we don’t get an employer match, as some employers get.

    • Carol Tice on

      OMG! I can’t BELIEVE I left that off my list. HUGE expense you now shoulder on your own, where at many jobs the employer pays at least part, and gets you better rates. Probably one of the biggest factors that keeps people from freelancing even when they want to. Around here with a family of five that is a $10K+ expense annually. Factor that in and earning $11 an hour freelance really doesn’t look good.

      • DeeBee on

        One of the biggest disadvantages to freelancing is not only that freelancers pay more for insurance — health, life, disability — but also that they may not qualify for coverage if they have even barely existent health issues. That may be changing for health insurance in the U.S., and there are costlier guaranteed-issue life policies, but it’s something to consider and research.

        That said, there are so many wonderful advantages to freelancing that if you can make enough money and protect yourself financially, it’s worth it if you like the freelancer’s life.

        • Sarah on

          I guess in the US freelancing is much more expensive. Over here in the UK most people don’t have health insurance (because it is all free) and things like life insurance etc aren’t compulsory and it doesn’t seem that common.

  11. Ali on

    Well, I quitted my fulltime job to become a fulltime freelancer last year and that’s the best decision I ever made.

    There have been times when I earned 11 TIMES more than what I was paid by my previous employer (one of the leading telecom company of the country).

    Ok fair enough, you work for money, but freelancing brings countless other benefits. I personally think if you can just make both ends meet, you should go for freelance writing.

    • Carol Tice on

      Well, I’m with you, Ali! And thrilled to hear you’re seeing how you can earn more as a freelancer.

      And of course, the time flexibility really can’t be beat. I look back now — as a mom who has school events and conferences and playdates to get kids to — and I have no idea how I did it with a regular job.

  12. Howard Baldwin on

    Carol, you make some excellent points, but freelancers should also look at the flip side — the financial benefits of freelancing. These include:

    The ability to work almost anywhere, without high real-estate or commuting costs
    Deducting the cost of your home office space, including proportional deductions for utilities
    Deductions for equipment and office supplies
    SEP-IRA benefits that allow you to set aside retirement funds far above the amount employed workers can

    Sure, we have to pay more in social security taxes, but the retirement benefits far outstrip that. Sometimes I think being self-employed is a license to steal — legally.

    • Carol Tice on

      Sure, there are write-offs and sometimes commuting savings…but also substantial costs.
      But you remind me of one point I left off my list — some companies do 401(k) matching money for retirement, and of course there’s none of that as a freelancer.

  13. Sarah on

    All very true! I earn a lot less now then when I had a full-time job and have a lot more expenses to deal with.

    The only areas financially where I am better off is the income tax (I won’t be earning enough to pay any) and NI (social security) which I am paying a minimal amount each month. But that is here in the UK, elsewhere abroad when I was self-employed the social security was horrific!

    But, the one thing that an employer can’t give me and the one reason I will never be employed again is freedom! Next year, I am going to Portugal for 3 weeks and then Romania for at least a couple of months but I will be taking my laptop with me and working all the way!

    • Carol Tice on

      Hopefully we’ll flip that soon to where you earn a lot MORE than you did with a full-time job. The thing about freelancing is…your earning potential is now UNLIMITED, versus set at a company. Once I had that revelation — that freelancing doesn’t have to be synonymous with starving — my income really started to take off.

  14. Jean on

    My ultimate goal is definitely making 100.00 an hour or more. But when you’re just starting out? That’s a bit tougher. I feel weird charging even 50.00/hour now since I feel like I have to “prove” I’m worth that much. Sucks. But yeah, the overhead of going freelance is a lot higher than one thinks – one needs to take all of those utilities, possible broken computers, and marketing into the costs, too. I have some savings for that.

    My husband told me that if I charge higher, I’ll attract better clients. Makes perfect sense, but again, there goes that sense of “proving” I’m worth that much. With no Bachelor’s degree and only a few clips (not to mention only being a copywriter for about.. oh, 4-5 months as opposed to 4-5 years) makes me hesitant. At least I know I can afford to charge a little more since my recent clients accepted my rates without question.

    Thanks again for the great tips and articles. πŸ™‚

    • Ruth - Freelance Writing Blog on

      You do need to prove yourself – but why not do that at $50, $75, or $100 an hour? Rather than driving down your rate, offer to take on a smaller project – something that won’t take you more than an hour or so. I often encourage new clients to ‘test’ me out with a quick and dirty project like a press release or blog post, or a quicker editing job. The cost to them is usually not more than $100 or $150 – so it’s low risk. But I don’t feel like I’ve compromised my rate. 90% of the time, I do indeed ‘prove’ myself to be worth the higher rate, and they hire me for bigger projects.

      Great post Carol – it’s interesting to assess the cost/benefit from this point of view. Even at $50/hour I find myself thinking it’s not worth it for the reasons that you listed! $80 would be my very low end threshold, and in those situations, I’m lowering my fee because the client is taking me on for a longer term contract or retainer.

      • Carol Tice on

        Hi Ruth — Love your points up top there. You bring up a great point, though — if a client is offering a lot of steady, ongoing work, that does often justify a more modest rate, because you are able to book more billable hours and do less marketing. So that all works out.

      • Jean on

        Maybe it’s just my lack of confidence that’s preventing me from thinking my work is worth that much. Still, I’ll give it a shot. Offering something small at first is a great idea as well! Thanks, Ruth. πŸ™‚

    • Carol Tice on

      Who do you think you need to “prove” it to? If you’ve got 3-4 clips, start charging professional rates. Start looking for the kinds of clients that pay them. The whole “am I worthy” think is mostly just between writers’ ears.

      • Jean on

        I suppose bigger companies (not Fortune 500 big, but definitely up there) would want extra credentials. That’s the attitude I got in the past, anyway. Very discouraging. Guess it may come down to how I offer these services – I’m probably going about it all wrong. It might be planting some doubt and hence, the extra questions about “so, do you have a Bachelors in advertising? What makes you such a professional?” Who knows.

        I do know that I’m ready to start actively pitching companies – just need to know the right way to do so.

        • Carol Tice on

          I’ve never in my life had someone ask me if I had a degree, for a freelance job! And I do write for the Fortune 500. (Of course, the answer for me would be no — not in advertising or anything else!)

          All they do is read your clips. There are no “extra credentials” required. If you’ve got it on the page, you can pitch up to any size client.

          What makes you a professional is the way you conduct yourself, and the quality of your clips. Period.

          And below the Fortune 500 there are just huge numbers of companies in the $1 billion revenue range, many privately held that no one has heard of, that are terrific clients and pay great.

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