How the One Thing You Don't Want Can Launch Your Freelance Career

About seven years ago, I read the now famous “Can you write a letter like this one?” promotion from AWAI. I was instantly hooked.

Like many AWAI members, I had a job at the time. In fact, I still have that job today. I work at a university as a fundraiser. It’s interesting work and often fulfilling. I admit, many people wonder why I would even want to leave a job like this in the first place.

However, if you’re an AWAI member, you probably know the answer. Like you, I wanted more. I wanted the money, the challenge, and the freedom made possible by the writer’s life.

So, I took the plunge. I studied AWAI’s Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting. I joined Circle of Success as one of the original members. And the more I did, the more I knew. I loved to write, and the writer’s life was definitely for me!

Yet, in those early days, I resented my job. I envied others who soared to become successful freelancers while I continued to trudge to and from work every day. My job became an explanation – an excuse – for why I wasn’t able to launch my own full-time business. “After all,” I told myself, “How can I possibly learn a new skill and establish a business while working full-time and caring for a family?”

Then, I had an epiphany. Well, actually three epiphanies. Not surprisingly, this happened at an AWAI live event (where ideas seem to rain from the sky for me!). I realized that …

  1. No matter what the task, I always seemed to have the time I needed to get it done.
  2. My job was actually helping me build my business.
  3. It was perfectly OK to reach my version of the writer’s life, on my timetable.

These may seem like pretty basic revelations, but this was a turnaround point for me. Once I changed my attitude about work and time, and let go of the expectations I had placed on myself, everything started to flow.

I can’t say it has always been easy. Yet my job has allowed me to take advantage of opportunities that have helped me build my freelance business. And some of these opportunities were completely unexpected.

So, if you’re working in a job, whether at a Fortune 500 company or at home raising your kids, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Am I trying to meet someone else’s expectations on my path to the writer’s life?
  2. Do I need to change the way I look at my job?
  3. How can I leverage my job to reach my goals?

If you’re like me, you’ll find your answers to be revealing. Feel free to share them here. And keep in mind, your answers will open new pathways to reaching your freelance business dreams, on your terms.

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Published: January 27, 2014

6 Responses to “How the One Thing You Don't Want Can Launch Your Freelance Career”

  1. Hello Chris, Thanks for sharing! Yes that nagging pressure we put on ourselves (or, what I put on myself) to juggle AND prioritize between our dream life and job. My angle is coming from having taken "enough" time to figure out what was next for myself career-wise and lifestyle. (Both are biggies) I decided and now I'm dying to "get there". But first we should perhaps "relax" and pay attention, and get through the SF Copywriting course and the speed and benefits will follow the tenacity, I believe. And I AM signed up for Bootcamp already too! and a new PWA member! Check!

    Guest (Cheryl Davis)

  2. I know the exact feeling. At first I felt as if I was rotting just sitting at work with nothing productive to do. I asked for more work, more assignments, I got my degree and still I was overlooked. In the beginning, I took it a little personal but now I realize I am exactly where I am supposed to be right now. My job gives me the time I need to write. I can't wait to begin the Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting.


  3. Chris, this was SUCH an encouragement to me! I look forward to the "writer's life", and yet my job is VERY rewarding! Approx 12 years I've worked helping individuals with developmental disabilities. I began as a caregiver, then was promoted to Case Manager, & Supervisor. I also spent time in Canada in this field & loved it! I'm presently Case Manager over 9 counties and although challenging at times, still very rewarding! BUT I LOVE WRITING ALSO! So thanks for sharing your story!

    Guest (OzarkMtnAngel)

  4. Hi Chris, Thanks for this. I earned a bit last year, the year I finished the "Accelerated..." course. But it didn't launch the writer's life I wanted to develop. Elance is painfully slow, cheap one-time gigs.
    I've come to the same conclusion. My unique work in health as a Chiropractor offers me a specialized group I can approach. I'm just starting to take some baby steps in that direction but it seems to have more long-term, steady promise.
    I'm looking forward to reading your comments.

    Doc B

  5. Thanks Chris!

    From another COS member who has had some of the same excuses and revelations, it was refreshing to see them spelled out this way.

    I too have a great job that I love, and I can look at it as an asset or a handicap, depending on the day of the week.

    I'll be watching for more insights.

    Jonny in Seoul

    Jonny Bahk-Halberg

  6. Hi Everyone, I'm thrilled to hear that my story is helpful! I hope all of you will keep on with the course, with applying what you've learned, and going forward!

    Guest (Chris Allsop)

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