Supplementing My Freelance Career

Image courtesy of Malcolm/FreeDigitalPhotos.

Image courtesy of Malcolm/FreeDigitalPhotos.

by Tamika Burgess

When I moved to NYC I had this grand idea of my freelance writing and editing career immediately taking off. I pictured myself living this luxurious life, where I trotted around town writing at these cool little coffee shops and getting published and featured in all the top magazines I enjoy reading. I also imagined I would have this huge following who waited at bated breath for my next piece, so they could be inspired by it and share it with all their friends.

However, after my first year of freelancing none of the above was happening. I mean, I did have a roof over my head, I wrote whenever and wherever I wanted, and people were and still are inspired by my writing and share it. But things were not happening at the level I expected.

Since those early freelancing days, I have learned a lot about what it takes to work for myself. Any freelancer will tell you, you have to put just as much time (maybe more) into promoting your craft/services. In addition, I quickly learned that when starting something new, it takes time for it to grow. It also takes time to make a certain amount of money to live a particular lifestyle.

Because freelancing can be all over the place and sometimes inconsistent, I decided an additional avenue for income was necessary. In other words, I started looking for a part-time job. Having worked a job that stressed me out and felt like an everyday punishment; I knew whatever I chose to do had to be something I would enjoy.

One thing that came to mind was how I’ve always enjoyed working with kids. In the past, I’ve mentored on two separate occasions and really enjoyed the experiences. So I explored this idea, but in ways that would provide me with a paycheck. Thus, came about an opportunity to work at an after school program.

Working at an after school program is just like my writing and editing, meaning it hardly feels like work. And that feeling alone lets me know I have made the right choice. Plus, the logistics of my part-time position are perfect, as it allows me to still work on my personal writing and my freelance writing and editing.

Gone forever are those days of me waking up and dreading my job, or feeling like I’m not working hard enough because of the amount of money in my bank account. I now wake up with peace of mind, which only comes from a place of doing what my heart desires… and the bi-weekly paycheck doesn’t hurt.

Finding a way to supplement my income doesn’t mean I have failed with my writing and editing. It just means I am realistic. And while my career continues to grow and become more established, I’m still able to maintain a certain financial standard in my life.

Taking on another job has been an easy adjustment. All I had to do was become more organized with my time and when I choose to work on certain projects. And with this new found organization, I find it easier to get more work done.

Getting a part-time job was honestly a humbling experience. I used to think that by my age I should be well established in a career. But with working with kids now, I have found I can pursue more than one career path. And although I have no idea if this part-time job will grow into something more, I’m just thankful my first love (writing and editing) allows me time to pursue other opportunities in my life.

Tamika Burgess is a NYC based writer, blogger, and editor. Her articles have been featured on various sites, including Cosmopolitan. She is also the force behind The Essence of Me; where she blogs about all things that catch her attention and sparks a reaction.