Turn “Making the Leap” Into a
Why does freelancing — and living on our own terms — seem like a big risk?
I believe it’s because of a deeply-ingrained social myth that’s widely accepted as the truth. This myth has been repeated to us in many forms during our lives.
The easiest way to portray it is with an equation:
A Degree + A Good Job = Lifetime Security and Guaranteed Income
Surely you’ve heard this — or something similar — before. But as time goes by, we see how this equation is false. People with degrees and good jobs aren’t immune to being laid off or losing their “guaranteed” income …
Maybe the correct equation should look like this:
A Degree + A Good Job = Your Life in Someone Else’s Hands
I think it’s important to understand the only real security is the security you control. Becoming a freelancer is one of the best ways you can control your income.
But, if you’re currently working for someone else, making the leap can still sound like a terrifying idea …
Here are four ways to make your leap less risky by preparing now …
1. Add passive income streams into your freelance business.
In The Writer’s Life recently, I talked about Nick Usborne’s How to Write Your Own Money-Making Websites.
I think writing your own website is the best way to build a passive income stream. If you’re not familiar with that term, passive income is like a paid vacation. Once you set up the site and money is coming in, it continues to do so whether you’re sitting in your home office or relaxing on the beach.
With a Money-Making Website, you can sell your own product or sell someone else’s. If you sell your own — like I do — you’re responsible for everything from shipping to customer support.
However, if you sell someone else’s product (this is known as being an affiliate), all you have to do is create and maintain your website. Then, when someone buys something, you make a commission. You don’t have to store inventory, ship anything, or worry about customer support.
To learn more about my Money-Making Website — and the income it’s bringing in — read this article.
2. Choose a niche with great odds of success.
Another way to make your leap less risky is to choose a niche that practically guarantees your success.
Right now, I’d say that niche is B2B or Business-to-Business. In this industry, you write copy that informs one business about another’s product or service.
I think the B2B niche is so reliable as a sure thing because it’s a huge industry — 6.5 trillion dollars! And it’s practically hype-free because most of the copy is informative — not sales-y.
3. Diversify your copywriting services with quick, easy projects.
If you’re working to become a freelancer and having a hard time finding paying projects, you may need to start with smaller, easier projects. You’ll be able to finish them faster and around your other obligations. Plus, clients will feel less risk when hiring you so you’ll be able to get more projects.
If you provide more services to your clients, you’ll have more work and make more money. And — if these projects are easy to do and command good fees — you can greatly increase the stability of your freelance business.
Writing case studies is something you can quickly learn and add to your services. Plus, they pay well, they’re easy to write, and they’re also fun!
In case you don’t know, a case study is basically a testimonial or success story where your client is the hero that solves the customer’s problem.
4. Look for freelance opportunities with a payroll advantage.
Making the transition from full-time employee will be much easier if you keep getting a steady paycheck.
One of the best ways I’ve found to keep getting a steady paycheck — even as a freelancer — is recurring projects like e-newsletters or retainer agreements.
Once you set up a schedule like this with a client, the income comes in month after month — as long as you keep doing the projects you agreed to.
When it comes to e-newsletters, the projects are short, simple, and require no “hype” or sales-y writing. They’re basically entertaining articles in email form sent from your client to potential and past customers.
And, because these e-newsletters are needed on a regular basis, you can schedule your work and your income — just like a regular paycheck!
If I were starting over today, I’d make the leap much sooner by following the tips above. It’s much easier to make that leap knowing there’s security — and a steady paycheck — behind your decision.
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 »