Freelance Writing from Paradise

Date Posted: May 12, 2015
Posted in: All About Roatan, Freelance Writing

Amanda Walkins writer

In an effort to offer some inspiration to other aspiring freelance writers out there, I wanted to share an update on my writing career since announcing that I’d left a salaried job and gone full-time as a freelancer. As scary as it can be to venture out on your own, I live in a place with a great cost of living that allowed me to quite easily take this chance. Worst case scenario: it doesn’t work and I need to find another job. No big deal!

Except here’s the thing…pretty much as soon as I started telling people I was available for freelance work I got slammed!

Creatively speaking, I’ve had so many more opportunities to not only blog here, but also to write for a variety of different outlets. Many are ghostwriting so I won’t be sharing them here, but others you’ve seen on International Living, though you’d see more as a subscriber.

Financially speaking, based on writing income alone over the past three months I’m averaging only 9% less than my average monthly pay from 2014 in a full-time (and usually very over-time) salaried job. That also includes a very low income in February as many of my writing gigs pay upon publication, so there’s a definite delay in work being submitted and pay hitting the bank. February was my first month freelancing full time, so I was finally able to write more – but didn’t get paid for most of that until March. March was in turn my highest-paid month since moving to the island. By far.

Add in the other odd jobs I’ve already done this year and I’m earning 66% more than I earned in an average month last year. Now, that’s not to say I’m Scrooge McDuck sitting on mountains of gold coins right now – I’ve also already bought three flights and spent a week gallivanting around New Orleans so far this year. My current budget indicates that I have about $45 to my name. (So don’t bother trying to rob me, guys, you’ll spend more money on gas driving to my house!)

While it’s impossible to measure statistically, I can promise that my happiness has increased exponentially. So regardless of my piggy bank, it is safe to say that going freelance full-time was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Like I said last week, a simple life is a happy one.

There are days now when I work on four different projects on the same day. There are days I do nothing, because I can. And all of the days that I’m doing all of these things or none of these things are happy days in paradise. I have the flexibility to work at odd hours, allowing me to take advantage of sunny days and gorgeous sunsets. I can pick and choose which days I want to work on each project and that variety keeps everything fresh and fun.

While I know that perhaps not every month will be financially successful since that’s the nature of freelancing, I also realize that I can work hard when the work is there and then relax when it’s slow. In the end it all evens out.

In retrospect, I see now that when I came here I still held too tightly to the American ideals of stable work and a predictable salary. Get a full-time job, clock in and clock out as dictated by the boss, take your paycheck, and carry on. Fortunately for me, I’ve officially stayed here long enough to finally break that mold and to free myself of those constraints!

Professionally speaking, I have nobody to answer to except myself…for the first time ever. And that feels incredibly amazing!

Since I’m freelancing, I am tracking my expenses and income in much more detail than I used to do. Remember when I posted Cost of Living in Roatan articles, always indicating that I don’t really track my daily costs at mini-marts, etc? That’s changing. I’m trying to be more diligent not only for my own purposes, but also to provide you with a completely accurate cost of living breakdown for Roatan in 2015. Stay tuned!


Make sure you’re subscribed to my blog to receive updates straight to your inbox! Go ahead and enter your email address into the Subscription box below. You know you want to!

In an effort to offer some inspiration to other aspiring freelance writers out there, I wanted to share an update on my writing career since announcing that I’d left a salaried job and gone full-time as a freelancer. As scary as it can be to venture out on your own, I live in a place with a great cost of living that allowed me to quite easily take this chance. Worst case scenario: it doesn’t work and I need to find another job. No big deal!

Except here’s the thing…pretty much as soon as I started telling people I was available for freelance work I got slammed!

Creatively speaking, I’ve had so many more opportunities to not only blog here, but also to write for a variety of different outlets. Many are ghostwriting so I won’t be sharing them here, but others you’ve seen on International Living, though you’d see more as a subscriber.

Financially speaking, based on writing income alone over the past three months I’m averaging only 9% less than my average monthly pay from 2014 in a full-time (and usually very over-time) salaried job. That also includes a very low income in February as many of my writing gigs pay upon publication, so there’s a definite delay in work being submitted and pay hitting the bank. February was my first month freelancing full time, so I was finally able to write more – but didn’t get paid for most of that until March. March was in turn my highest-paid month since moving to the island. By far.

Add in the other odd jobs I’ve already done this year and I’m earning 66% more than I earned in an average month last year. Now, that’s not to say I’m Scrooge McDuck sitting on mountains of gold coins right now – I’ve also already bought three flights and spent a week gallivanting around New Orleans so far this year. My current budget indicates that I have about $45 to my name. (So don’t bother trying to rob me, guys, you’ll spend more money on gas driving to my house!)

While it’s impossible to measure statistically, I can promise that my happiness has increased exponentially. So regardless of my piggy bank, it is safe to say that going freelance full-time was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Like I said last week, a simple life is a happy one.

There are days now when I work on four different projects on the same day. There are days I do nothing, because I can. And all of the days that I’m doing all of these things or none of these things are happy days in paradise. I have the flexibility to work at odd hours, allowing me to take advantage of sunny days and gorgeous sunsets. I can pick and choose which days I want to work on each project and that variety keeps everything fresh and fun.

While I know that perhaps not every month will be financially successful since that’s the nature of freelancing, I also realize that I can work hard when the work is there and then relax when it’s slow. In the end it all evens out.

In retrospect, I see now that when I came here I still held too tightly to the American ideals of stable work and a predictable salary. Get a full-time job, clock in and clock out as dictated by the boss, take your paycheck, and carry on. Fortunately for me, I’ve officially stayed here long enough to finally break that mold and to free myself of those constraints!

Professionally speaking, I have nobody to answer to except myself…for the first time ever. And that feels incredibly amazing!

Since I’m freelancing, I am tracking my expenses and income in much more detail than I used to do. Remember when I posted Cost of Living in Roatan articles, always indicating that I don’t really track my daily costs at mini-marts, etc? That’s changing. I’m trying to be more diligent not only for my own purposes, but also to provide you with a completely accurate cost of living breakdown for Roatan in 2015. Stay tuned!


Make sure you’re subscribed to my blog to receive updates straight to your inbox! Go ahead and enter your email address into the Subscription box below. You know you want to!

About the author

Amanda Walkins

Serial expat Amanda Walkins is a freelance writer and blogger. She has lived in 7 different countries, traveled to many more, and loves helping people explore the world through slow travel and living overseas.