The #1 Very Best Label for Where You Are Now as a Writer
Do you consider yourself a freelancer or an entrepreneur?
And do you openly call yourself a writer? What about in public?
Those three terms — writer, freelancer, and entrepreneur — get tossed around a lot in our world. I do it myself in the copy I write for biz-opp clients, merging and massaging those labels as if they’re interchangeable.
But they’re not. While they are certainly related, each title comes with a sort of hard-won victory over your own self-esteem. A victory that pushes you forward to reaching your writer’s life dream.
So, let’s look at each step and see how they relate to your writing career.
Step #1: Calling yourself a writer is the first step. If you’re like every writer I know (including me), you had to overcome self-doubt before you could look a stranger in the eye and declare, “I’m a writer.”
Step #2: The next step is officially becoming a freelancer. You can’t call yourself a freelancer till you have clients who pay you. Finding those clients and landing writing jobs they’ll pay for adds a couple more rungs to the self-esteem ladder.
Step #3: Once you’re on that ladder, doing writing work you love, getting paid for it, then you’re an entrepreneur.
After all, you’re creating your own destiny. You’re working hard to make money on your own without anybody telling you what to do or how to do it. You’re a free thinker. Your skills are bankable. Your writing is a valuable resource worth paying for.
And since all those things fall under the umbrella term of entrepreneur, that’s what you are. Right?
Well, not necessarily, says marketing guru Seth Godin.
Seth did an interview a few years ago where he talked about the difference between a freelancer and an entrepreneur. In his view, freelancers get paid for their work. Meaning, they only get paid when they work.
But, according to Seth, entrepreneurs build businesses bigger than just themselves so they can get paid when they sleep.
Seth sees freelancing as an essential step in the journey to entrepreneurism.
I see it as … negotiable. For writers like us, anyway.
Take the great Bob Bly, for example. He still freelances for clients (and charges hefty professional fees for doing it). But he also runs his own email newsletter and e-book marketing empire that makes money for him while he sleeps.
Same with our beloved Nick Usborne. He freelances for big-name clients, and he’s got his Money-Making Website on the side pulling in money at all hours of the day. To date, he’s made over $350,000 working only 1-3 hours a week on his “hobby.”
I don’t think it has to be an either-or thing. If entrepreneurship was the end game, I’d be beating myself up right now for only being a freelancer for the last 10 years. When the truth is, I’ve made great money and great friendships working solely for clients.
Plus, while I’ve been busy raising a family, it’s given me the space to let someone else worry about keeping the ball rolling with consistently scheduled emails and a marketing calendar and whatever else my clients do.
As for me? I’m content to just write. For now, anyway. That could change … but the point is, don’t let yourself get weighed down by labels. Figure out what it is you’re after — what matters to you and fuels you to pursue paid writing — and go after that. Maybe it’ll change in the coming years, and maybe it won’t.
Either way? Your satisfaction should be the priority, not your title.
Life as a money-making writer is hardly static. Which means no single path is the right way and no single destination should be exclusively pursued.
Maybe you can be both — a freelancer and an entrepreneur. Maybe call yourself a solo-preneur.
Maybe don’t even worry about a label and just make sure you challenge yourself on a regular basis. If that means reaching out to a bigger client for a project worth more money than you’ve ever charged, go for it.
If that means venturing out on your own with a Money-Making Website or any of the other writing opportunities AWAI connects us with, then go for that.
Just don’t stay stagnant. Don’t get hung up on categories. Don’t worry about what others have accomplished that you haven’t, and don’t care for a second if what you want to do with your writing skills has never been done before.
Chances are, that’s what will make it — and you — a resounding success story.
Do you have any questions about your path to the writer’s life? Share with us in the comments below.
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What a fantastic article! Fun,empowering and educational, too. I've been with AWAI in some capacity for many years and love that I'm a freelance writer with her own business. Solo-preneur? Exactly. And love it. Thank you for providing such great info all the time.
Guest (Nancy Quatrano) –