5 Things to Consider Before Quitting Your Day Job

You'll make the transition from 9-to-5 employee to freelance copywriter easier if you follow some advice I learned from AWAI before making my big move. As you prepare for your big day, give serious consideration to the following five steps:

  1. Establish a sound financial plan.

    Investigate whether you'll receive a severance or retirement package from your present employer. If you will, plan precisely how you're going to use that money. Don't use it to fund a much-desired trip to Hawaii. Instead, use it to finance your business or pay for living expenses while you're getting started.

    Save money. Freelance writing is one of the least-expensive businesses you can start. But you may want to save up to six months' worth of living expenses or wait for the approval of your business loan before quitting your regular job.

    Establish a good credit rating. If your credit isn't so hot, take time while you're still working in order to turn it around.

  2. Take advantage of the fact that you're still working a regular job.

    Schedule routine physical, dental, or eye exams while you're covered by your company's health insurance.

    Take any company-paid classes or training that will help you with your future business.

    Work on paid writing assignments during your "free time," in the evening and on weekends. Yes, it's a lot to do. But you'll get valuable experience … and you'll get paid. Having that extra money in the bank takes some of the pressure off of having to make enough money to live on when you're first starting out as a copywriter.

  3. Build your copywriting portfolio.

    Complete your AWAI send-in assignments. Get them in tip-top shape to use as samples for potential clients.

    Volunteer to write brochures, sales letters, or Web copy for churches, schools, community groups, friends, and family.

    Pull samples of the writing you did at your current job. These don't have to relate to direct marketing. They just have to demonstrate that you're a capable, reliable writer.

    Write a strong self-promotional sales letter describing your copywriting services. This is a difficult task, because we don't like to say good things about ourselves. It will be easier for you if you follow the advice of experts like Bob Bly in his "Selling Yourself as a Copywriter: How to Earn $100,000 a Year. " (Click this link www.selling-yourself.com/tgte/ for more information if you're not already signed up for this valuable program from Bob).

  4. Develop a business plan.

    Start by writing a mission statement declaring what you're dedicated to doing. If your business is guided by a statement of what's important, you'll make better business decisions.

    Develop a formal business plan now to keep you focused on your goals and prevent you from neglecting issues that can affect your success.

  5. Prepare your family.

    Discuss with your family the impact that starting your business will have on them. Don't forget, they'll be going through changes as well – and their support is critical to the success of your new freelance business.

By taking these practical steps now, you'll be much better prepared when the glorious day comes to quit your day job and step into your new career. Here's to a smooth journey!

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »

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Published: June 14, 2004

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