The Business

One year of full-time freelancing

Am thriving, not just surviving :')

cake with lit sparkling stick

This week marks one year since I started freelancing full time.

Over these 12 months, I’ve worked on over 180 writing projects for clients large and small, local and international.

I’ve kept a consistently full schedule, usually being booked up weeks in advance.

And what a ride it’s been so far!

From SEO to email marketing to automation, and more, I’ve written on a whole range of digital marketing and software-related topics. Every day brings something new and there is always so much to learn.

I’ve also gotten peeks into how different businesses handle their content operations.

The sizes of their content teams may vary, and they may manage projects using different project management platforms. Yet, they all aim to produce valuable, high-ranking content for readers.

Such exposure to their SOPs has been fascinating. I could never have gained it from working for a single organisation alone.

Finally, I’m grateful I get to write for and about some of my favourite software businesses in the world. Whose products I personally use and love. They are doing the coolest things ever.

Of course, things haven’t been completely smooth sailing throughout. My client base has shrunk during the current “content recession”.

I’ve also had my share of crazy busy days (and crazy busy nights).

These are challenges I’ll continue to navigate with optimism…in my second year of full-time freelancing and beyond 🙂

But even as I look forward, I’m not done reflecting yet. Over the past year, I’ve also been thinking about what I’d advise people who want to be a freelancer.

I’ll share these tips in my next newsletter—which will come at the end of this month because I’m travelling in the middle of August. Talk to y’all again then!

More freelancer news

Should you top up your CPF account if you’re a freelancer?

(In other words, contribute more to your CPF account than you’re required to.)

The writer of this Seedly article recommends doing so because your money will earn more interest compared to leaving it in the bank.

The article gives the example of how $8,000 can turn into over $32,000 if you leave it in your CPF account for 35 years.

That’s definitely no small sum, but you’ll have to consider the potential downsides before going for it. In particular, you can’t withdraw your CPF funds (including your top-ups) until you turn 55 years old.

And one issue the article doesn’t seem to explore is whether you actually have the funds for topping up your CPF account.

Because depending on your income and your expenditure, you may not have much funds left over for making voluntary CPF contributions.

So if you’ve decided to top up your CPF account, it might be worthwhile to consciously set aside that amount every month. This way, you’ll have enough to make the top-up without fail.

You can also automate your CPF Special/Retirement Account top-ups by setting up a Giro arrangement + standing instruction with your bank. But okay, I’m digressing, let’s move on!

Freelancer-related forum discussions

There have been a handful of forum articles discussing freelance issues lately. Summarising them quickly here:

Do more for the safety and health of platform workers

This writer wondered who will be responsible for helping platform workers get back to work if they suffer injury.

This is on the basis that platform companies are not obliged to take reasonable measures to protect platform workers’ health and safety (because they are not employees).

Protections in place for platform workers’ safety and health

The Ministry of Manpower replied to the writer’s letter to clarify that platform companies do need to take reasonable measures to protect platform workers’ health and safety.

It also shared some measures in place to protect platform workers, such as the issuance of workplace safety and health guidelines for delivery platforms.

The government has also accepted a recommendation that platform companies compensate platform workers who suffer work injury.

Empowered to tackle platform workers’ concerns with new representation framework

The NTUC Freelancer and Self-Employed Unit (U FSE) also replied to the writer’s letter to mention its efforts to address platform workers’ health and safety concerns. These include maintaining a Short-Term Accident Relief Fund for injured delivery riders.

In the future, U FSE will also be able to represent platform workers in negotiations with platform companies to improve such workers’ welfare.

Champion welfare of freelance trainers

Separately, one writer thinks the Institute for Adult Learning, which offers training courses for adult learners, should “champion” the welfare of freelance trainers. Just like how platform workers have sought and obtained more protections.

The writer thinks such championing is necessary as more freelance trainers have been entering the market, leading to fewer assignments and lower pay for everyone. At the same time, the demand for training in certain skills has decreased.

This post was first published in my email newsletter on 3 Aug 2023. If you liked it, you can sign up for my newsletter here:

Tan Siew Ann
I’m a freelance writer for some of the most amazing software businesses in the world. On this blog, I share tips on how you, too, can run a sustainable and meaningful freelance business. Let’s forge your freedom. 💪

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