The perks and perils of being a freelance writer (and why I’m still doing it)

Believe it or not, I wanted to be a medical practitioner when I was young. The year before I entered college was the year when Filipino nurses were in-demand overseas. I wanted to jump that train but failed the college entrance exam of the university I planned to go to. Abandoning my medical ambition, I ended up with a degree in journalism.

Becoming a writer is like walking right into the pre-ordained path for me. No matter how many bumps and detours I had in my life, I always end up where I belong – behind my desk.

I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed from college when I started my career as a freelance writer. By that time, I already have a two-year experience working in an office setting and a single mother to a two-year-old son. My main motivation for finding a freelance writing job was my antagonism on hiring a nanny for my kid, which stemmed from my fear that I cannot trust anyone, except my mom, to take care of my toddler then. Not wanting to burden my mother with the responsibilities, I dove into the internet to look for remote writing jobs.

Probably it was beginner’s luck that I found work from different places like freelancer websites and craigslist. My steady project when I started was being an academic writer for a now-defunct writing platform. I am proud to say that I started from the bottom (and I’m glad I did) working my way up to where I am today.

kristin dian mariano in skift forum 2019
I attended the Skift Forum 2019 in Singapore.

Below the perks and perils of being a freelance writer that I personally-experienced in the last 10 years and how I get around the disadvantages of the freelancer lifestyle.


  • More time with family
  • Work anywhere, anytime
  • Less cost on food and transportation
  • Better work and life balance
  • Higher pay than office-based positions


  • Jumping from project to project

Tip: Some companies offer long term projects and positions that will bring you a more stable source of income. In my case, I am currently a freelance writer for a travel trade media company for two years now. I also built an emergency fund, which is at least three-months-worth of expenses, as a buffer if I lose my current job and on the hunt for the next just to make sure that the bills will be paid.

  • Prone to scam

Tip: I had my fair share of scam, especially when I just started, wherein employers did not pay me for the articles or employers suddenly stopped communicating. Look for projects or employers on reliable websites like jobs board and referrals. If it is too good to be true, it is probably not true.

  • No medical and retirement benefits

Tip: Get your own policies. Pay your contributions for medical and life insurance that will benefit you in the long run.

Being a freelance writer is no easy task. You either have the talent or the drive for it as I have tried to teach this craft to some people who were fascinated with what I do and wanted to try to work from home. Doing what you love is still the best job in the world.

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