Your mental transition to freelancing is the true key to your success.
You can have the 6 months income saved, what you consider the perfect computer and home or other office space. You can even have one or two clients already paying you, and still your attitude can get in the way.
In fact, if you don’t believe in yourself and your writing you’re unlikely to be successful as a freelance writer.
What is the right stuff for the mental transition to freelancing?
First of all, there’s no certain formula, or criteria that will guarantee you’ll make the transition to freelancing successfully. What worked for one person will not always work for another. That said, it is possible to point out a direction for your thoughts and feelings that may be helpful. Here are what I consider the three most important: A strong desire to freelance; some comfort with uncertainty, and self-knowledge and self confidence.
Strong desire to freelance
Look, in some ways having a regular job is mentally easier than freelancing, particularly in the beginning. The regular job is predictable, and so is the paycheck. Switching to freelancing is hard. If you’re a writer, you’ll need a different skill-set to build your freelance writing business. You’ll need dedication and discipline.
It’s all learnable, and many of us find it exciting to venture out in this manner, figuring it out as we go.
It’s also worth noting that a truly strong desire will help you overcome almost all, maybe even all doubts.
Some comfort with uncertainty
To make the transition to freelancing successfully, you’ve got to expect and have some comfort with uncertainty. Freelancing by it’s nature is uncertain in a lot of ways, including pay, benefits (the lack of them), predictability of scheduling, finding clients, keeping clients happy and more. Most of the things that are done for you if you’re working a regular job you’ll being doing for yourself. It’s downright scary at times. Of course, fear and excitement are closely related. You can choose courage and excitement.
Sure, the freedom to mostly control your own time, to avoid commutes, to pick and choose what you want to write and when are all possible when you freelance but some find the uncertainty anything but fun. Your life can be just fine without freelancing.
If you haven’t experienced freelancing it’s impossible to tell how you’ll react until you do give it a go. Don’t let uncertainty stop you, but do evaluate carefully and if you go for it be ready to be surprised.
Self-knowledge and self-confidence
I didn’t have much self-knowledge and confidence when I started freelancing; it was my strong desire that carried me through. That said, looking back, I can see how much easier it would have been had I really known myself and had true self-confidence. On the other hand, freelancing has given me much what I was missing along these lines.
Yes, there are other ways to build self-confidence. Thousands of books have been written on the subject, many of which are free in libraries or for very little money at AbesBooks. Most of the time self-help works; if it doesn’t it can be well worth it to get professional help. Just to toot my own horn, I also coach writers which is another possibility.
Write well and often,
Photo by Ali Yahya on Unsplash