It’s been nearly 13 years since I made the switch to freelance life so, in certain respects, I was somewhat of a pioneer. Nowadays, there are 53 million other freelancers just like me, specializing in all types of areas within and beyond my niche of content writing. Not to sound old, but today’s freelancers have it way more easier than I had back in the day. No, I didn’t walk miles to my office in snow uphill. I did what most other freelancers did and sauntered from one room to another in my house to start my work day.
It’s not the commute that I’m talking about; it’s the growing acceptance and realization of value that has opened up many more job opportunities, benefits, and even an organization called the Freelancers Union to help provide further assistance. While I certainly enjoy the growing acceptance of freelancers and the fringe benefits now being offered, there are many other things I wish I knew about making the transition when I had taken this leap of faith.
Thirteen years ago, I held an Account Executive position in a busy PR firm. That meant a weekly paycheck, health insurance, gas card, leased car and even a profit sharing plan. I had been there for 13 years so it was a solid job. The only problem was there was no room for growth as the only person above me was the CEO. I was also just months away from the birth of my first child. The thought of continuing to commute to a job that was 70+ miles each way with no more challenge left me less than motivated about working.
My idea was that I would quit and do some work for the PR firm as a freelancer from home while trying to build up other clients and take on a swimming pool maintenance route to help my husband out. Beyond that, I hadn’t thought much through except that I could get COBRA health insurance and eventually just buy a family plan. Everything else I assumed would just fall into place.
Nope, it doesn’t always go as planned. While I did end up helping with the swimming pools for my husband’s company, I struggled to find work as a writer since writing jobs through the Internet had yet to really take off and my previous boss was less-than-thrilled with how I would work from home. Finding affordable health insurance was another issue. Finally, being a new mom was an additional role that I was navigating on top of trying to find work and do the other job was challenging.
It took time but it eventually worked out because I just kept going and hustled for work continually. While I took some low-paying writing gigs, it started to slowly build up my freelance resume. At the same time, more companies and online agencies appeared who were looking for writers not to mention I conditioned my old employer into liking the idea of having a virtual assistant to handle writing, publicity calls, and even remote email checks. Over time, I became so busy that I quit swimming pools and focused on my burgeoning freelance writing career.
Now, 13 years later, I have established a full-time freelance writing career that has grown to include more types of writing, including content writing, social media writing, ghostwriting and academic writing. While I continue to research and market myself for more writing clients, I have built a solid base of clients some of which have been with me for the entire 13 years.
Recently, I read an article from John Rampton, a highly successful blogger and well-known digital marketer not to mention serial entrepreneur. He had great advice on how to handle the switch from the traditional 9-to-5 job to the life of an entrepreneur. I wish I had this advice 13 years ago. If you are thinking of taking this leap, read his article first and put those tips to work. The leap will be slightly less scary, and you may even find that you avoid some of the pitfalls and mistakes I experienced along the way. It’s been an interesting journey and one I wouldn’t trade for anything!