Your Personal Independence Day

I opened my planner to March 1st, 2010, and wrote "Personal Independence Day."

I'd been dreaming about living The Writer's Life for almost four years. Another year was almost gone, yet I still hadn't made the leap. Now it was December 28, 2009, and I made a decision …

I needed a DEADLINE to make my goal happen

My deadline date would be March 1st.

And, I would do a number of things to reinforce the deadline. Not only was I writing "Personal Independence Day" in my planner, I put the date on a 3X5 card taped to my desk so I'd see it every day. Then, I started doing something daily to move closer to my goal.

In the four years since I decided I wanted The Writer's Life, I'd never felt so certain it was going to happen.

See, I'd actually been holding off on making the leap, because I'd landed a posh gig with a publisher in the IT industry. I was getting paid well (with a steady paycheck), learning and applying online and offline direct marketing strategies, and getting a free lunch (including sushi) at least one day a week, usually two or more.

It was something worth holding on to. Though I knew I'd never feel 100% fulfilled working for someone else. I wanted to do my own thing.

The only problem was, I'd gotten comfortable with my J-O-B. I'd found a groove and was now stuck in it.

That is, until mid-2009, when it became clear …

Everything was about to change

After four years in her Ph.D. program, my wife finally started to see the light at the end of the tunnel. She'd be going on internship soon. Which meant packing up and moving to wherever that sent us.

So, as she was applying and interviewing for internship sites, I started to ramp up my freelance biz. I took on more clients, and more regular gigs. I attended AWAI's FastTrack To Copywriting Success Bootcamp And Job Fair to meet even more clients (and because it made it all finally feel "real").

Yet, even with steady work in my spare time it seemed like making the leap wouldn't happen until some vague time in the future. It was making me more and more frustrated as the New Year approached …

And, it was right then on December 28th that I realized I needed a "make the leap" date.

I needed to set the date for my own "Personal Independence Day."

So, I set my date. I made my plans. I got the wheels turning.

Then something interesting happened

The work started to roll in fast. By the end of January, 2010, I booked so much business that March 1st wouldn't work anymore. I guess the universe had heard my call. It was telling me NOW was the right time. And, I better dive in!

Then on February 1st, 2010, I dragged the CEO of the company into a meeting room to let him know my plans. He beat me to the punch as I closed the door when he said, "You're not quitting, are you?"

I said, "Well, actually … I am." And went on to explain how starting February 15th, I'd be doing my own thing. (A full two weeks BEFORE what was supposed to be my "Personal Independence Day!")

Then, on Thursday, February 11th, (I decided to take Friday off!) I walked out of the office with my personal things … never to be an employee again.

Finally! Time to begin living The Writer's Life!

Since then, I've really started to experience the benefits of The Writer's Life:

  • I can work on the sale of our house without always feeling like I'm begging for time off
  • I'm ready to move across the country knowing I don't have to worry about a job —because I can take my business anywhere
  • I've finally knocked out the commute and everything else that stinks about working in an office — even a good one
  • I spend most afternoons with my young son, playing with him — because I can!
  • I'm in control of my income — I can work more to earn more and I'll never have to ask for a raise again
  • I'm starting on my first book (The Seduction Marketing Manifesto) plus working on multiple self and joint venture publishing projects
  • I'm finally doing what I want to do so I feel fulfilled as a person

Sure, I'm eating less sushi. And, the paychecks are more sporadic — sometimes more often, sometimes less. But the freedom … That's the real payoff.

And truly, this is something you can have, too. To help, I'd like to give you …

The most important lessons I've learned in making the leap

These are the things I wish someone had told me a long time ago — hearing them from someone who'd "been there, done that" would've made the whole process a bit easier (and maybe faster, too):

  • There's nothing wrong with starting small while working a regular job
  • Building good relationships with a few clients will make "the leap" easier
  • When you feel it's time: set your own "Personal Independence Day" and make it happen, because it's the only way it will

They sound simple, but often the simplest truths are also the most powerful.

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: May 11, 2010

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