I Was Terrified About Striking Out On My Own…But I’m Doing It!
Making the transition from 9-5 to being your own boss can be daunting. Here are some lessons from a newly-minted writer.
Have you ever thought about earning extra money through a side hustle but were too afraid to try it? That was me too, about four months ago – before I started moonlighting as a freelance writer.
I thought that if you were going to charge money to do something, you needed an outgoing personality, or advanced training. I have neither. I am shy and introverted, and the only advanced training I have is in wildlife biology and management.
What could I possibly do on my own? Create harvest recommendations for squirrels in someone’s backyard?
Things changed, though. I wasn’t making enough money to pay the bills and support my husband as he returned to college. I wasn’t fulfilled at my day job, and my confidence and self-esteem had taken a nosedive. I needed to challenge myself.
I thought about what options I had available to me. I had done a lot of writing in grad school, so I thought, why not try that? I was also in the midst of a year-long personal finance podcast binge in an effort to teach myself how to manage my own finances better.
I estimate that I got nearly 1,680 hours of free financial “education” this way. Still, I had a lot of hurdles to break through to begin actually making money from all of this knowledge.
I had spent so long learning how to be the perfect little employee that I didn’t know if I could work for myself, even if I wanted to. Shifting out of this mindset proved to be a huge test – one that not everyone passes. Luckily, though, I’ve got some tips to help you break past this barrier.
Find Your Tribe
Let’s be honest. Side hustling is an odd thing to do. While your friends and coworkers head home each night to catch up on the latest episode of The Walking Dead or House of Cards, you’ll be off doing your own thing.
As supportive (or not) as they might be, that’s just something they’re not going to fully understand. If your community doesn’t understand it, it won’t be real to you.
Instead, find your own community of other side hustlers who understand what you’re doing and can support you.
They know exactly how difficult your struggles are and how much each win means to you. They’re going through it themselves!
I would not have had the courage to go out and try freelance writing if I hadn’t met other people doing the same thing online. It wasn’t real until I personally connected with other people doing it.
Learn to Accept, Even Welcome, Failure
I was afraid to try freelance writing because I knew there were a million ways I could fail. What if I sent a client something they didn’t like? What if they requested major edits, or even a rewrite? What if I panicked while talking to them? What if I didn’t meet a deadline?
These are all things that I’ve actually done, and guess what? I’m still alive – and not only that, I’m thriving; and I’m stronger now for having gone through those challenges.
The reason I was able to recover from these “catastrophic” failures (to me at the time, at least) was because I went into this knowing that I would make mistakes. And that was okay.
It didn’t matter if I made a mistake – it didn’t become a true failure unless I failed to learn from it the first time and repeated the same mistake again.
This took all the pressure off me to be perfect. I’m not saying be sloppy, but don’t be hard on yourself if you mess up.
I officially began working as a freelance writer three months ago. In that time I’ve made a ton of mistakes, but that’s okay – they’re called rookie mistakes for a reason. I’m still learning how to be more efficient and run my business better, and each day brings new challenges and opportunities.
And, of course, the money I’ve made so far has helped tremendously. For the first time in my life, I’ve been able to start saving money in an emergency fund. And who knows – maybe someday soon I’ll even be able to quit my day job and take my side hustle full time!