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This is the first of our savvy freelancer profiles. We’ll get to know successful freelancers, and hear their tips for achieving creative and financial freedom through freelancing. This is the part where I shut up and let savvy freelancers do the “talking.”
Name: Jarrod Thalheimer
What do you do?
Anything – I will write a menu if that’s what you need. I do comment, content, sales, script, fiction, brochures, etc.
Are you a part-time or full-time freelancer?
How long have you been freelancing?
About 15 years total (2 years full-time)
How do you find clients?
I am always looking (and hustling for them) and each job I do seems to attract others. Word of mouth is huge in the freelance game. But also, always be looking for opportunities to freelance – it might sound odd but I will pickup and read any magazine anywhere, looking for opportunities to sell work to someone.
What’s the worst thing that’s happened to you as a freelancer?
Doing work that never gets published. I can deal with getting stiffed on the money aspect but don’t not publish me. At least if it’s out there I have a chance at getting other work. If it stays in a folder somewhere it doesn’t help me one bit.
What’s the best thing that’s ever happened to you as a freelancer?
Seeing my work published and getting feedback (good or bad) – It’s nice to make a ripple in the general world conversation, even in minor ways.
What are your goals?
I would like to make a living off my column (www.adfool.com) I think it’s a great, regular piece of work that deserves to be read more. I want to publish a few books of fiction and write commentary on the things that entertain me (and a lot of things entertain me….) I don’t need much money but I do need to provide for my family so as long as I can do that fairly easily I am content. Still, I do crave a Stephen King-like ability towards world domination (writing-wise anyway).
Are you satisfied with your income? Why or why not?
There could always be more (My wife and I have 5 kids…yes, 5….so there could always be more) but on the whole I have no real complaint about my earnings.
What are you doing to reach your goals?
Trying to be more disciplined every day. Getting the head down is a big deal – even after doing it as long as I have.
What advice would you like to give newbie freelancers?
Don’t be afraid to write for free or to help out a friend. It takes contacts and content to build a writing career and trust is a huge part of getting professional gigs. Build up that trust by sharing yourself when you can, and then learning when it’s time to hold back a bit. It sounds complicated but you’ll know when the time is right.
Also, get educated. Take classes in writing – ones that interest you. It helps you meet folks but also gets you thinking about writing in different ways – always a good thing. It also gets you reading, and reading to a writer is like air. If you don’t do it, you die.
If you have any follow-up questions for Jarrod, please post them in the comments below.