Living Well Off of a Freelance Career

Work from home and develop your own schedule by pursing a freelance career. The only warning is that it isn't for the easily deterred.

| January/February 1970

For an unbroken succession of seven years I had a fulltime freelance career by drawing and marketing advertising and magazine cartoons and — later — writing and marketing humor pieces for various publications.

Now get the picture: I lived through seven years of obtaining an income solely through my alleged efforts at the drawing-board and typewriter. I'm speaking singularly on the basis of that experience and what follows is based entirely upon it.

When I first quit a paid job (as an illustrator and editor for an aircraft company's technical book department), I was 28 years old, in good health, had one wife, one son, $145 cash-on-hand, about a year's experience at selling magazine cartoons (totaling about $225 worth of sales), a lot of illusions regarding fulltime freelancing and a huge dissatisfaction with any way of earning a living other than drawing cartoons.

Seven years later (presently, in fact) finds me with one wife (the same one), three sons, still in good health, 35 years old, less hair, more wrinkles, a hell of a lot more cash-on-hand than I started with, a definite disinterest in cartoon freelancing, a good job (four days, weekly) with a magazine and three days — weekly — in which everything I write sells — a happy fact that could not be, had I never learned how to make it happen through freelancing.

For me then, freelancing has been a transitory period: For you, it may be a hoped-for-future. I am going to offer a suggestion which (while certainly not the only way for a promising beginner to start freelancing), if followed to the letter, will keep you eating, out of the cold, freelancing and away from the necessity of giving up the whole idea and going back to a time clock.

Perhaps I'd better add: These points are guaranteed only if you are a type who really wants to freelance and whose family is given to adjusting reasonably easy to new situations.

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