Keep Calm and Soldier On: How I’m Rebuilding My Client List

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2015 was my best year yet. I had my highest year end total thanks to many months where I made over $3,000. To top it all off, I spent a total of about two months time on vacation; three weeks in the Maritimes, a month in Mexico, and a few small trips in Ontario. I enjoyed living in a huge apartment in Montreal for a very affordable price, and people were finally starting to find me online to offer work. Rather than market and pitch everyday I had people coming to me! The work was steady, and I had more than enough to go ’round. It seemed like things were really working out and I was starting to make a name for myself.

2016 on the other hand has been an entirely different story. Things have not been going well. In fact, things got so bad over the summer that I had all but given up on my freelance writing career entirely. It seemed as though things had not worked out as well as I’d hoped. This year I lost nearly all of my biggest clients, either because the work dried up, or I fired them because I had become burned out from writing the same content for two years.  I should have started marketing immediately to replace the clients I lost, but no, I didn’t bother, and now here I am with barely any work and wondering how I’m going to get out of this hole.  Read the rest of this entry »

I Won’t Be Going to China Afterall

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I’ve been back in Toronto for a month now and it’s good to be back where all my family and friends are. Montreal is a great city, but I never felt like I belonged there. If I’m being honest, I wanted to teach ESL overseas because it seemed like the best way for me to get out of the freelancing business and out of Montreal. I was getting desperate. The isolation, the loneliness, and the frustration of freelancing had gotten to me and I needed to make a move. Toronto was just supposed to be a temporary stay while I found my first ESL contract.

But getting a teaching contract is not as easy as I was made to believe. I thought that a bachelor’s degree was just something that the language schools prefer to see in applicants as a way of screening them, but that’s not the case. A degree is actually part of the work visa requirements, so I’ll never be able to qualify for one. I could go to the country on a business visa, but if I did that I would actually be in the country illegally. Under a business visa you’re not allowed to earn income while you’re in the country. If my visa papers ever got checked I would end up in jail for 30 days, fined, deported, and possibly also banned from the country for up to five years. That’s a huge risk and I would be insane to take it! Read the rest of this entry »

Hiatus Over: Back to Business

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Sometimes all you need is to take a step back, breathe for a bit, and reassess the situation. I needed a break from writing, and now I’m getting back into it with renewed perspective. Now that I’ve returned to Toronto, my home, I feel focused, comfortable, and inspired. It’s time to put the past behind me and get back to work. I’ve come too far in my career to turn around and do something else, and it’s evident that I have at least a modicum of talent for writing, so it would be a waste to let it fall into neglect. The hiatus is over, and I am now back to business. Read the rest of this entry »

Leaving Montreal Was Exactly What I Needed

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I’ve been back in Toronto for about two weeks now and every day it becomes more evident that I should have done this a long time ago. When I moved out to Montreal, I had all this hope that it was going to be this grand adventure and that I would build this exciting life in a new city, but in reality none of that happened.

I became severely depressed out there, and there were times when even mustering the willpower to perform basic household chores was all I could do, let alone be productive in my career. In retrospect, my decision to move out there was shortsighted. I didn’t think that I would miss anything about Toronto, and I thought that everything would be different. But the grass is always greener, as they say, and to me it certainly did seem that way. Montreal was like The Promised Land, and Toronto was just the same old same old. I needed to spread my wings and that was my way of doing it. Read the rest of this entry »

Freelance Writing Can Be A Good Side Hustle

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I’ve been making a big deal about changing careers because I’ve become increasingly frustrated with the freelance writing business and it’s future outlook, or lack thereof. The wheels are in motion to begin my ESL teaching career abroad, but for the moment I still have to uphold the responsibilities I have to my clients.

If you are one of my clients and you’re reading this blog you can rest assured that I would never leave you high and dry. When the time comes for me to finally move to China or Taiwan or Hong Kong, I will finish whatever assignments I have, and you will be given ample advance notice of my departure.

But it occurs to me that maybe this doesn’t truly have to be the end. Freelance writing, due to the mobility and flexibility that it presents, make it the perfect side hustle. Even if I just take a handful of assignments each month, it would still be a nice cash infusion in addition to my teaching work. It’s also worth mentioning that I would not have to pay taxes to the Canadian government for any money I earn abroad, so the work could effectively be tax-exempt.    Read the rest of this entry »