I hear this a lot, from aspiring freelance writers: “I want to quit my job. I’ve always wanted to earn a living from my writing. But…I’m scared.”
Indeed. We all are. How do you know when it’s your moment to quit working for the Man and make the leap into freelance writing?
After a decade coaching writers in making this transition, I’ve discovered there are common ‘tells’ that show writers the time has come to head for the door and launch their freelance career.
If you’ve been wondering how you’ll know it’s time to act on your urge to quit, take a look at my list of common traits of writers who have reached their freelance moment:
I wasn’t planning on being a part-time freelancer. Six years ago I made the move to full-time freelancing after my third career layoff. I knew financial potholes existed. I also swore I’d avoid the worst ones. I wasn’t planning to blow through emergency funds and my family’s patience or stiff-arm friends asking for updates.
Fast-forward five years. I was stuck in a major client drought and bottomed out financially. I realized I had to find a part-time job FAST and settle for being a part-time freelancer. Like it or not. And I didn’t.
It felt like failure — you thought you could do this and couldn’t, dumb bunny. But monthly expenses had become monthly drama, plus some ugly debt was staring at me.
Ever find yourself wondering if you can make a living as a writer and do work you love? I did.
I wasn’t thrilled about the idea of becoming a part-time freelancer just so I could collect a paycheck from a J-O-B. When I made the switch, it had a big impact on my money situation. But there were also some positive and unexpected benefits to being a part-time freelancer.
“It’s a real hustle, you sure you want to quit your job at Harvard?”
That’s the response I usually got from family and friends when I talked about leaving my day job to become a full-time freelancer. So I put it off.
But after thee years as a smoking cessation counselor and researcher at Harvard Medical Center, I knew I needed to leave academia. The work was boring. The people were toxic. The egos were huge. And it never seemed like any of my patients ever quit smoking.
Ever wonder if you can make it as a full-time freelancer, find your niche, and make good money?
I did. So I started freelancing on the side. Within a year I took the leap and quit my day job. I’ve been freelancing full time for seven months, and I can’t imagine going back to a J-O-B.
Trying to find your niche? Some writers seem to have that dialed in from day one. It took me a little longer to figure out where to find good-paying clients. But what I’ve been able to accomplish as an LGBTQ writer in a short amount of time is proof that you can be a successful freelance writer in just about any niche.
Here’s the basics about how I found my niche, along with 18 LGBTQ sites (+1 bonus) that pay writers $50 or more per article.
I hear every week from aspiring freelance writers who despise their cubicle life. You hate your boss. Working for the Man is unfilling. It’s boring. Certainly not how you ever planned to spend your precious days.
So you’re thinking about quitting to become a freelance writer. Maybe you’ve been writing on the side in hopes of building up your freelancing until it’s time to quit. Or perhaps you’ve recently taken the plunge.
If you’ve been in Corporate America a long time, here’s my forecast: You’re in for a rocky ride.
There’s a popular myth that if you hate being a cog in a big corporate wheel, it’s a sign that you should quit your job. Your hatred of the paycheck world indicates you will be a super-successful freelance writer.
But in my experience mentoring thousands of writers, that ain’t necessarily so. Here’s why:
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