I’ve had quite a few people contact me about quitting my career and taking the risk of freelancing since I published the post Why I’ve Quit My Job. Some have wanted to do what I’ve done but have been too scared. Others are desperate to do the same but lack the confidence. I’ve been told that I’m brave, that I’m strong and that they admire me for doing something I’m clearly very enthusiastic about. It’s been an ego boost and a positivity rush which, I’ll be honest, I’ve needed. The past few weeks have been up and down, a rollercoaster of dear gods, what nows and general wonderment and worriment about whether this decision has been a good choice. At the end of the day, it’s done now. So what’s a girl to do? Feel the fear and do it anyway as my mum would say. Which is probably the best advice I can give to everyone who has asked me in recent days what steps they need to take to make the same jump.
It’s a terrifying moment when you realise that the monthly pay check will no longer be sitting in your account at the end of the month. The fear is very real. And the questions will start.
What if I can’t find clients? What if the money doesn’t cover the bills? What if there is no money? What if I can’t find the time to freelance? What if, what if, what if. But there are always questions in any career.
The difference is, freelancing is completely in your hands and you will be as successful as you want to be, once you put the work, the time and the effort in. Knowing from the get go that you are the maker of your career can be liberating. It can also be stifling and terrifying when you realise you’re not guided down the bowling alley with bumpers at the side. Knowing how to start out will ease the brewing panic.
Get your head in the right frame of mind and you can easily tackle the rest.
Find a Mentor
For me, finding a mentor has been invaluable. How I’ll ever repay her I don’t know. Truly in the first few months of deciding on this new path, she provided me with the most insightful and helpful advice which has not only led me on the right path but also gave me the courage, and more importantly the confidence, to actually do it.
I know how hard it is to make this decision, to find your way and to feel confident enough to continue and finally pursue it. I have only started in this game but I am more than happy to answer any questions and help anyone along if they need it. Send me a message, tweet me, Facebook me. I’m here!
Who’s The Boss?
So, you’re used to spending your days working for other companies. You had someone to answer to and possibly someone to blame if you had underlings! I was always an underling as such so didn’t have this luxury. And now you are the boss. (Or, quite possibly, your little ones are more than likely the boss but that’s for another post!) You now answer to yourself. Even though, there are editors who hold your little writing career in their hands, you are ultimately your own boss.
Take a sick day, answer to yourself. Need a holiday, don’t get paid. Being the boss of your own career has its advantages and disadvantages. It can be frightening to know that you are taking the risk by going self employed and running your own business . But remember, it is a business. You are the business. And I mean that in the professional sense and in the you are the bizzzzneeesss sense! You can do this.
Be Educated… Or Not
One of the things I’ve been asked a lot about is my education. It seems many believe having a writing career is tied up with a journalism degree of some sort. I’ve been a writer since my teens. Before I ever thought about college. In the end, I did a Bachelors of Arts in English which obviously has stood to me but aside from that, the rest of my education is librarianship.
I did complete a certificate in sub editing and design which leaned more towards graphic design but gave me an insight into the publishing world.
A literary or journalism education is not necessary. If your writing stands out then you will be published. Of course, if having a certificate or two will give you confidence to pursue this dream then an online MSN program can always be studied from home. But it may not be necessary if you already have a flair and style of writing that comes naturally to you. Writing is very subjective and personal. What one editor hates another may love.
And be conscious of your writing. Whether you are writing for national newspapers, magazines or websites, remember that your words are being read. People are impressionable. People believe what they read so be socially aware and conscious of the information you are putting out there. Especially if you are writing health related information. Ok, this may be the librarian in me speaking, but I believe as writers, we have a duty of care to our readers.
If you’re writing a medical or health related article, you don’t want to put your readers off physically seeing their doctor if needs be. Remember you’re dealing with people’s health which means you have a responsibility to avoid being vague and to provide accurate information. Ok lecture over!
The main thing about writing, is to have confidence in your words, in your subject matter, in yourself. Starting out, it’s not easy to have that faith in yourself when you’re up against other seasoned writers but we all have to start out somewhere. And if this is something you want to do, you will inevitably put the time and effort in to hone your writing skills and win those commissions.
I do intend on writing a post about the physical steps to starting out as a freelancer when I’m more established … and know what I’m doing. I somewhat hope that this post shows you that confidence, courage and trust in yourself are the real first steps to take when becoming a freelancer.
and FYI if the thought of jumping ship and taking on freelancing is terrifying you into not doing it and stalling, then don’t forget about BetterHelp who you may have heard me mention before. Such a huge life change and decision is unnerving but there’s always support if you need it.
Feel the fear and do it anyway
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