If you're interested in becoming a freelance writer but you're not sure how it works, read our case studies below to see how other people have started in this profession, and how they make it work for them (apply now).
*As we operate a fully confidential service, the photographs on this page are actors, to preserve the confidentiality of these researchers. The names and other details have not been changed.
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 area of specialism (maths), in general studies and in education.
So how does my typical day go?
Well, administration takes up about half an hour each day – this means reading through new projects that have come through, looking for good sources (I never put myself forward for work unless I'm confident I have enough decent sources and I can do a good job) and 'bidding' on the projects I want. I also need to check for other emails – any delegations (which means projects I have been given) or amendment requests from my customers. I don't get many requests and when I do, it's usually for stuff the customer hasn't really asked for to begin with. I usually do the work anyway; even though I work through Academic Knowledge, I see the customer as being my customer, not theirs, and I really care about them getting good value for money. I also know that if I do a good job, I might get requested to complete future work for them.
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My name is Natasha 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.
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