When I started seeking writing assignments, I had not realized how different it would be from working full time at the newspaper. As a newspaper employee, everything I wrote was for the paper. As a freelancer, there were new issues:
• If I did some work for a company, I certainly couldn't turn around and write objectively about that company. And maybe I shouldn't write about the business sector that company is in, either. All sorts of conflicts and potential conflicts could crop up. I had to try to anticipate complications and avoid them.
• If I helped a client write a book -- and the book was a flop or the client lost his job -- would I get paid?
• How much should I get paid and would -- could -- potential clients pay it?
• At the Daily Mail, I worked non-stop at the office. But as a one-person business, I could be too busy and then, when a project ended, not busy.
I coped with these and other issues by being honest with potential clients, seeking advice from other freelancers and consulting knowledgeable experts. So far I've worked for a newspaper, a magazine, a trade association, a media company and a wire service. The workflow has evened out.
It turns out that time is just as precious and scarce now as it was before. And the freelance gig is just like the full-time newspaper gig: There is no substitute for time spent thinking, writing, revising and seeking help from people who are smarter than me.
Hohmann retired as business editor of the Daily Mail earlier this year. Contact him at g.hohman...@gmail.com.