Case Studies

Our case studies have been written by real writers who work for Academic Knowledge. We asked them to explain what it’s like being a freelance writer, and how they make it work for them. As we operate a fully confidential service, the names of our writers have been changed to preserve confidentiality. All other details are valid and correct, including the ID numbers of these writers.

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Writer Jobs Case Studies

If you’re interested in becoming a freelance writer, but you’re not sure how it works or how the position could suit your lifestyle, read our case studies below to find out more about becoming a writer. You could be working full-time as a writer, or take the position on a part-time basis, fitting as much or as little work as you find suitable around your other commitments. The position affords ultimate flexibility in choosing just how much or little work you wish to complete. To discover more about your earning potential with Academic Knowledge, take a look at our payment rates.

Andy - ID 12913

I’m a retired teacher living in Surrey in the United Kingdom. I’m 61 years old, married with three children and two grandchildren. I have worked for Academic Knowledge as a researcher for just over two years now. During that time, I’ve completed around 50 different projects in my specialised area of Business Studies as well as completing projects in general studies and education. As these subject areas are very broad, Academic Knowledge gives me the opportunity to develop my existing knowledge and research exciting new areas in my secondary subjects.

So how does my typical day go?

The first things to tackle on a working day are the administration tasks, this takes up about half an hour each day. I begin this process by reading through new projects that are available; every day there is a wide selection of new briefs for me to have a look at. After I have identified some suitable briefs, I need to make sure that I am capable of finishing the work. Firstly, I will start by looking for suitable academic sources; this can be achieved in a number of ways. I will consult my collection of academic books and articles and once I have exhausted my personal collection, I will do some researching online. There are numerous websites and databases that provide excellent academic material and I can usually create an extensive set of literature to complete the brief in question. Once I have completed my initial research and feel confident that I can complete the brief, I will look to place my bids.

Before writing begins, I also need to check my other e-mails for any outstanding correspondence that requires my attention. This can include but is not limited to: potential new briefs for me to look at, any projects that were delegated to me the evening before, (which means projects that I have been given to complete) or amendment requests from my customers. These are requests for changes after the initial work has been submitted. Sometimes these requests can be quite extensive, but I will complete them anyway.

Even though I work for Academic Knowledge, I take great pride in my customer base and consider them my customers. I have built it up a good portfolio of satisfied customers and enjoy being personally requested by customers for future work.

I will pencil in any new briefs that I have been delegated in my diary and plan my schedule accordingly. Deadlines are extremely important to my customers and a well organised diary helps to ensure that I always meet their deadlines.

Now I am able to begin work on my assigned brief for the day. I have already completed my initial research and so now it is time to dive into the sources. After I feel comfortable with my research and selected sources, I will begin to write the piece to the customer’s specifications. The time spent on writing the briefs will vary depending on the length, deadline and complexity of the customers’ requirements but careful planning and due diligence will always keep me on track so that I don’t miss my customer’s deadlines.

Once the work has been completed, I will submit it through the Academic Knowledge website and await feedback. If there are any niggling issues, I get on these right away and resubmit the completed work ready to be sent to another satisfied customer.

Elaine - ID 13630

A day in the life…..

My typical day starts between 5 and 6 a.m. Usually, I make my way to the kitchen and brew some strong coffee. It has to be filter coffee, and I really cannot start any work until I have had at least one mug at my desk. I usually check my diary and look at any emails, and then I read the BBC news page, a couple of blogs, and whatever else takes my fancy online. Some of the topics I write about are connected with international politics and culture and so I enjoy keeping up to date with developments in these areas.

By 6 a.m. at the latest I aim to be fully awake and immersed in my work. Today I had to complete a final check of a large brief that I finished late last night and also write a small, four page piece on research methods in my subject area. It took me about 90 minutes to do the proofreading and I felt very pleased with myself because I spotted several typos and one missing reference. I submitted the final version and heaved a great sigh of relief. It was a 30 page text, and I have been working on it for several days.

With a second cup of coffee I start on my brief for today. I have a nice collection of hard copy books on my shelf which I use often, and I use e-books and two academic referencing databases as well. Progress is fast and I quite enjoy explaining how to use qualitative methods to describe complex phenomena. This is my favourite time of day, because the house is quiet and I have peace to work without any interruptions.

At 8.30a.m. I stop work and sort out a few family chores. My small research piece is ready by noon and I upload it on the relevant page online. In the meantime I have received 5 emails alerting me to new briefs which are available, one request from the allocations team to look at a brief that no-one else wants to do, and an invitation from an American publisher to do some work on a new book that is due out next year. I bid for two of the new briefs and agree to take the other one. Of course I write back to the publisher as well, because it is important for me to have more than one source of income and a variety of different research tasks. This keeps me in touch with my contacts abroad and allows me to build a good portfolio, so that I will always have options for my future career.

The gas board is messing about with a pneumatic drill outside my window, and so in the afternoon I decide to take the dog to the park. He looks a bit shocked, because I don’t often have time in the afternoons, but the fresh air does us both good. When I come back there is an amendment request waiting for me. The client actually is quite happy with the work, but wants a few more pages on a similar topic. I send a mail agreeing to do this within 48 hours for an additional fee, at the same price per page as the original. Quite a lot of my writing is repeat work from customers I have worked with before, and so I try to be as helpful as I can with such requests, in the hope that they will come back and order more work in the future.

I cook dinner for the family (lasagne and salad) and watch Heartbeat with them because this is Mum’s favourite. The beauty of freelancing for me is that I can look after her at home, while working pretty much full time as well. In the evening I check my mails. Two new briefs have been allocated to me and so I enter these into my accounts, since I keep a running total of my income in order to avoid any last-minute panic when my tax return is due. I note the deadlines in my diary so that I can plan my time, and I set up files for each new brief, checking that I can download all the attachments and that all the instructions are clear. The flexibility of freelancing suits me very well and I look forward to another busy day all over again tomorrow!

Helen - ID 9996

I’ve been working as a writer with Academic Knowledge for nearly 6 years, and without a doubt the elements I enjoy most are the flexibility and the variety. I don’t have to be a “bum on a seat” from 9 – 5 every day and this gives me the freedom to do other things during the day if needs be. I’m also free to manage my workload as I see fit. To me this flexibility and autonomy is worth a great deal! Another factor which I really enjoy is that every day is different. I can work on a vast range of different briefs and projects, often working closely with clients to help them focus on a particular organisational problem, as well as more academic briefs. A benefit of this for me is that I’m up-to-date with the latest practical and academic thinking in several areas, and can offer clients a different perspective on their projects.

As every day is different a “day in the life” is by necessity an overview, and I think everyone finds their own preferred way of working. From me this normally involves writing in the morning, and reading and proofreading in the afternoon. I probably spend about twice as much time reading and proofreading as I do actually writing. During the course of the day I’ll periodically check messages and updates, particularly if I’m in the middle of a large project or waiting for a response from clients.

Part of the variety in each day comes from the fact that some clients can require work to be completed at extremely short notice, and so occasionally it’s necessary to drop what I’m doing and start work on something else. Whilst the pressure of this isn’t for everyone, finishing work to a tight deadline can be satisfying in itself. I also really enjoy helping clients to complete their work. Quite often they will have an idea of what they want to achieve, but they need some help to structure and formulate their ideas. Working collaboratively with clients gives me an insight into their organisations and cultures, and I’ve learnt a surprising amount about many different organisations, so writing is actually a two-way process.

Finally, the team at AK are great to work with and very helpful, so if you ever have a problem or a question then just get in touch with them, and they’ll be happy to help however they can.

Nathan - ID 307

My name is Nathan and I am a qualified solicitor, working in private practice for around a year and a half now. I work for a really great firm and as any new lawyer will tell you, this means that competition to work there is really stiff. The junior fee earners get paid a fair amount less than most of the secretaries because the HR department know they will get dozens of really strong applicants every time they advertise a job. I therefore work part time for Academic Knowledge as a freelance writer to supplement my income.

As my job at my firm is full time, I fit around five hours a week in at the weekend, usually Saturday morning to early afternoon. There is a little work to do in between – looking out for briefs that interest me and keeping an eye on emails from the company – but on the whole I can get this done within minutes and focus my efforts at the weekends.

The assignments that Academic Knowledge has offered me have been really beneficial for my job. My specialism is property but because I have a good law degree (LL.B) as well as a Masters in international law, I’m permitted to put myself forward for work in most areas of law. I’ve been able to research and write briefs in a whole range of areas, which has really broadened my knowledge and my competence. This has without doubt given me the edge at work; you see, a legal problem very rarely involves one area of law but most lawyers do specialise in a single area, and this means they are ignorant of potential issues or problems in other areas. Whilst the LPC does cover in brief some of those areas, the sort of research I am doing for Academic Knowledge is far more detailed and the resulting broader knowledge has really impressed the senior lawyers at my firm.

So the benefits for me of working for Academic Knowledge are the supplemental income that I could not do without, the flexibility (i.e. I can work round my existing job) and the increased knowledge gained from research. I hear that law is the biggest subject area Academic Knowledge deal in, and that’s very fortunate for me as there is always more than enough work available should I want it. I have recommended Academic Knowledge to some of my junior colleagues and will continue to do so in the future.

Brian - ID 145

Almost 10 years ago I saw an Academic Knowledge testimonial that prompted me to learn more about the Company, its people, projects, and clientele ….I have never looked back! And here’s why.

I am a lawyer by training and vocation. I take pride in doing my best in any situation. When I decided I needed freedom to pursue my writing, film and social commentary ambitions, the notion of having excellent part time assignments directly connected to my hard-won legal experience was very appealing. It was on this basis I began my Academic Knowledge work, one assignment at a time.

‘The best part time gig in the world’ is what I tell my friends about Academic Knowledge, and the evidence is compelling. I love engagement, taking on problems and sorting them out, perhaps with my own ideas and observations added to the mix. Being able to assist students to build out their fuller understanding of complex legal concepts and practical problems is very fulfilling. I feel that I am able to give something of myself and what I have learned in my own career in every Academic Knowledge assignment. For me, the work is at once challenging, stimulating, and enjoyable – I am working in my own wheelhouse. I consider myself well-paid, and as anyone that works for themselves will understand, I very much appreciate being notified by the remarkably efficient AK administrative gurus on the 15th of every month what I will receive by wire transfer on the 30th – without fail! An excellent business situation, too.

But the nicest benefits flowing from my Academic Knowledge relationships are beyond money and intellectual stimulation. I control my schedule, and as with any legal project, how I choose to approach my assignments is left to my professional judgment – trust, and knowing your opinion is respected is a wonderfully powerful, positive thing for anyone who values what they do. Best of all? The AK team are as good as it gets. From the senior management outwards, the Company and its people are first-rate, friendly, committed, and passionate customer service providers who care about what they do every day.

Academic Knowledge expects top quality, original, and well researched work. They want your best effort – and the company never fails to reciprocate. I look forward to many more excellent projects and great personal dealings in the years ahead.