How to become a freelance writer: Emily's story

Meet Emily, 23 from the Peak District, and find out more about her life as a freelance writer in Bristol. Part of our Bitesize world of work series.

Writing is the career for me because I love words and I love stories.

  • Emily loved reading and writing at school and studied English at university
  • She decided to take a job in marketing so she could use her writing skills, but realised she wanted to become a full-time freelance writer – this means she is self-employed and gets to choose what work she does
  • Emily has to think hard about each audience she is writing for to make sure she sends clients accurate and engaging content.

What to expect if you want to be a freelancer

Emily is self-employed and works as a freelance writer. This means she works with different companies who need her writing skills. Freelance commitments can vary from a few hours a week, to working with a team on a long-term project. Working for yourself looks different for each person and each business, but in general it means you:

  • run your own business and are responsible for its success
  • can decide how, when and where you do your work
  • charge an agreed, fixed price for your work
  • sell goods or services to make a profit
  • can hire people at your own expense to help you or to do the work for you.

The salary and working hours when you own a business can vary enormously but what's most important is you work hard and love what you do.

You can be both employed and self-employed at the same time. You can work for your employer during the day, for example, and run your own business in the evenings and at weekends. It’s important to contact HMRC for advice if you’re not sure if you’re self-employed.

You can get help with setting up or developing your business, through the government’s business support services, for example, for advice about tax or how to find funding to start your business.

This information is a guide (sources: LMI for All, National Careers Service, GOV.UK)

For careers advice in all parts of the UK visit: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

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