Now as a freelance writer you’re not in the business of sinking/boarding ships or “liberating” digital media… probably. But what you will do is keep a stash, treasure or swag hidden away, Pirates (digital or otherwise) always keep something back for storming days. Be it buried under two trees which happen to form a convenient X, or on a USB HDD.

So the question becomes, as a freelance writer what will you stash away? Answer: things that will be useful to you.

• Local currency.
• Previous articles.
• Ideas, thoughts and ramblings.
• Clients (This last one sounds ominous I know, but stay with me).

We be Burin ye treasure Cap’n

Freelancing of any type can, and will be, far from financially stable. One week it’s clear sailing with client payments rolling in on time, every time. The next your world is ending because that one big cheque you were counting on hasn’t arrived, bounced or was nowhere near the agreed upon amount.

The moral being: always have money set aside for emergencies. Additionally, be strict about what you class as an “emergency” Don’t throw your stash at every petty problem that rolls your way, otherwise that well will run dry faster than my coffee mug at 2am. By all means keep the money handy, just don’t waste it on anything other than a real emergency. Once you have used it, make building it back up your biggest priority. Nobody likes empty treasure chests – especially when you’re staring down a massive problem.

Said massive problem, may come in the form of your end of year tax bill. As such I HIGHLY recommend all freelance/contractors consult with an accountant on exactly how much of your booty needs burying for that particularly stormy time of year.

All jokes/pirate powered metaphors aside, there are many tax shaped pitfalls awaiting unsuspecting freelancers – don’t get caught out.

Belay the map me hearties

Keep everything – be it old articles, research, whitepapers and other projects. Never forget that one of the bigger advantages freelance writing has over other freelance professions is the ability to rewrite, rework, reword, repurpose and potentially resell your old works.

An effective writer can turn research into the manufacturing process of Swiss cheese into product reviews, technical articles and potential cooking recipes. Or simply put, they can take that initial research article and resell it into different markets. It’s also possible to rewrite them to include new/updated information at a later date.

Avast! it be the motherlode of ye mind

Inspiration can strike at any time, as such I highly recommend keeping a way of jotting down ideas as they come to you close at hand (ideally at all times). Be it a smartphone, laptop or whichever works for you (I tend to use my notebook or my phone personally) Ideas and thoughts on articles, marketing, productivity, research and what to watch on Netflix.

Take down anything you come up with that in some way can help your freelance career. It’s entirely possible that around 90% of what you come up with may never be used, however that 1% may turn out to be a gold mine.

Yar! The lubbers’ be booty

Past, present and future – clients are a resource for all tenses. For the low cost of simply keeping up with them via social media or perhaps even dropping them a post card every month or so (don’t spam them) you can be in their thoughts right as they start looking for help on a new project. For the chance of an immediate sale and potentially creating a real lasting working relationship, isn’t it worth taking the time to socialise a little?


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