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It’s true that almost anyone can start as a freelance writer today. However, not everyone is cut out to create content for other people over the long-term. If you currently have a job and are debating jumping into freelancing of any kind, wait. Don’t quit your job yet.
The bottom line is you don’t want to sacrifice your income now for the possibility of making more down the road. In this instance, I urge you to err on the side of caution.
Supplementing Your Pay
Before you quit your job, make sure you’re capable of supplementing your income. If you make $10 per hour throughout an eight-hour day, you need to make sure you’re bringing in at least $80 as a writer.
This is especially true for those who really can’t afford a loss in pay. If you’re not capable of matching what you’re making now, you could find yourself in financial trouble.
And I know some out there will point out how money isn’t everything when it comes to your happiness. Just bear in mind that bill collectors don’t care if you’re happy or not.
Make sure you’re capable of paying your bills before you hand in your walking papers.
2. Knowing It’s What You Want to Do
An important fact to freelancing is making sure it’s something you want to do over the next several years. I know a lot of people who assumed they would enjoy freelancing only to find out they hated it shortly after starting.
And unfortunately, most of these people quit their jobs to pursue freelance writing.
If you’re on the fence in the slightest, you could find yourself hating freelancing after a few months. In the mean time, your old boss already filled the position and you may be left looking for an entry-level spot yet again.
Make sure freelance writing is what you want to do before you quit your job.
3. Learning to Adapt to the Lulls
As a writer, there will be times when the workload is not the best. You’ll often find yourself with nothing to do while waiting for clients or jobs to come in. You need to know how to adapt to those lulls and keep yourself busy.
Personally, I use several content mills simultaneously to ensure I always have income. If jobs are scarce on one, I’d check the other.
At one point, I was getting weekly payouts from Textbroker and monthly payouts from WriterAccess.
I also manage three blogs of my own, which were initially used to keep practiced in writing. I try not to sit idle for too long, even if it’s something that only benefits skill rather than a paycheck.
This is what works for me. Now, you might have other needs or ideas. The point, though, is to understand that lulls happen and to have a strategy to keep yourself productive.
How to Tell When You’re Ready to Quit Your Job
So, when do you think it will be safe to quit your job? That’s entirely up to you. However, here are a few points I suggest keeping in mind before you tell your boss you’re done.
Track Your Income for Three Months
In just about any freelance career, you will have ups and downs in terms of income. Whether you’re freelance writing or driving for Uber, you are most likely to have varying day-to-day payouts.
Track your daily income over the span of three months. Then, calculate an average income per day based on what you’ve made over that time frame.
If your average is equal to or greater than your current job, it’s probably safe to quit and freelance full-time.
Do You Have a Solid Mindset?
Take a few months to decide if you have the right mindset for freelance writing. If you find yourself getting bored or frustrated after a few weeks or so, it’s probably something you don’t want to focus on.
It takes a great deal of mental discipline and focus as a writer…especially when dealing with unhappy clients.
In reality, there is far more to writing than just putting words together. Things like customer service and self-promoting are also often part of the deal. And I found it far more stressful than when running my own computer shop.
My point here is to make sure you have the right mindset to be a full-time writer for the next decade. If you can’t answer that question, you might want to consider a different career path.
Are You Ready to be a Professional?
Customer service and interaction is vastly important as a freelance writer. Even in systems like Textbroker, the way you interact with clients will dictate whether you get future orders or not.
You need to offer a professional attitude and become an expert in your field. This often means absorbing aggression without flying off the handle.
Keep calm, cool and collected.
Otherwise, you could create a reputation that will follow you everywhere. And this is vital if you plan to move up and acquire private contracts…which usually pay more than content mills.
You’re Focused on Writing
This goes along with having the right mindset. If you want to write as a freelancer, you need to focus on it. Give writing your full attention, which means learning more and keeping practiced.
You’re going to write A LOT of content for clients, and you need to be OK with that.
For instance, I am pushing nearly one million words this year alone…which is a ton of articles. But this is something I reserved myself to do since 2012. And I am OK with it.
Stabilize Before You Quit Your Job
To many people put themselves and their families at risk by quitting jobs too early. Before you quit your job, make sure you’re capable of supporting your household. Otherwise, you may inadvertently cause many financial problems.
Be sure of yourself and your abilities as a freelance writer. It’s not for everyone, and it’s safer to test the waters while working a regular job than to jump in without knowing how deep the pool really is.