When it comes to changing any profession regardless of what you are doing, and any of the circumstances behind it, it can be a headache. So many questions arise. So many “what if’s” flood our minds. I know about this very well. Before taking on the world of copywriting, I was a contractor in a state that does not give hospitable weather in the winter time for construction, nor the flooding of the spring time, nor does it give you mercy in the summer with the heat reaching 115 degrees. There is only autumn, and that is only 3 months out of the year, if my state is even lucky enough to get a true autumn, and it does not go straight from summer to winter. Yes, it has happened to me on more than one occasion. When I finally decided I had enough of the unreliable work schedule, and the constant trying to find more and more work. I finally gave in and began to investigate the world of copywriting. I made plenty of mistakes along the way, and I am here to help save you from just a few of my pitfalls. A lot of it is, as my wife loves to refer to it, unfucking yourself. As humans, we do this to ourselves a lot; more than we like to admit.
It’s Not As Easy As Social Media Makes It Look
I have almost a decade in being self-employed. I am here to inform you, in case you have not figured it out yet, being self-employed is not as easy as the pictures and stories on social media make it look. It takes work in the beginning, and it takes work to keep it going. It really is a simple truth, but also hard to embrace. Here are my best baby steps on how you can start working from home.
Related: Are All Work from Home Jobs a Scam?
Baby Steps: How to Start Working from Home
- Start off freelancing as a side gig: This is exactly what my wife and I both did. My wife was first to start freelancing. She taught college part time and also worked in a law firm. It wasn’t until she realized she lost money by turning down freelance work that she cut her day job(s). Use freelancing as a means to make a little extra cash. This does a lot. First, it lets you know if you are even cut out for freelancing. I have watched many people decide to just take the plunge into freelancing without ever having given it a try. Putting all your eggs in one basket is a horrible idea. If you cannot meet your deadlines or you just cannot find motivation for yourself, you are destined to fail. When you fail, your client fails. When a client fails, all of a sudden you are no longer finding work. I have seen this led to people begging for money to pay rent, get their children their medicine, and keep their lights on. Do not put yourself in this position. Take enough time to get your feet wet, develop an income, and client base before you dive into the deep end.
- Make time to work: People believe that when working from home or freelancing that you can just get to it whenever you feel like it. This creates a plethora of issues. What if you have three deadlines all of which are by 5 pm Friday? Are you just going to do them all Friday morning and hope that you finish before the 5 pm deadline and pray that they do not need any revisions on what you delivered? If the answer is yes, freelancing is most likely not a profession you should be looking into. Clients may look at the project and decide they don’t like the colors used in the graphic. Maybe you left out something they consider important in a paragraph. Do not put yourself into a bind that you cannot get out of. Spread the projects out, always set your deadline the day before the actual deadline so that you can turn the project in early just in case revisions need to be made.
- MOST IMPORTANT!!! The finished product is not yours: It is their project that they hired you to help them create. Any emotional attachment to the product does nothing. If they want something changed, change it. Don’t complain (although you should review the original instructions to make sure that YOU did not miss anything). It is our job as freelancers to give the client what they want, not what we think they want. Do not get emotionally attached to the product. I have seen this a lot, and I have watched it ruin people’s professional lives because they could not treat the product as what it is: a product. If you hire a contractor to redo your kitchen and you want granite counter tops, but the contractor, personally, does not like granite counter tops and he decides to tile your counter top, do you pay him? No! Same is done when it comes to anything else you do while freelancing. You are hired to do a service. You can discuss your thoughts and ideas, but you ultimately need to accept the specs provided by the client.
- Work in your most productive time: Some people work best in the mornings, and some work best at night. Right now, it is 10:25 pm in my state. This came to me all the sudden, so I made sure I got it done before I forgot about it or before I let my mind get distracted by something else. If you work best at night, then work at night. I have watched people who drop their children off at school and then go home jump on social media until their children are at home and then complain about how they cannot get any work done. Really? Really? Is it that you had no time, or is it you decided that social media was more important than doing what needed to be done? It is a rhetorical question. The time your children are at school is at least an hour or two that you could be spending on your new business. If you are working outside the home for an employer, maybe you need to take a couple of hours before going to sleep to work on your freelancing business. It is not difficult, and it will let you know if this is truly something you want, and/or need to be doing.
- Your job is to find a job: Just like finding time to work, finding time to find more work is just as important. In the beginning just taking about two or three hours a week to find a new client is a great idea. If you take three hours per week, that is 180 minutes. Let’s divide that among five days, because let’s face it no one wants to work seven days a week when trying to start a new profession. So, 180 minutes stretched out five days is 36 minutes a day. 36 minutes!!!! 36 minutes a day is filling out one online application or filling out one online request for information about your services per day to someone who may not have even known you even have the availability. So, let them know by taking just a little bit of time out of your day. No one is going to go looking for you. They do not even know you. You must let them know you exist, and when you do, they will take notice. I was told as a teenager when I did not have a job that my job was to find a job. This rings so true for this section.
This is merely the beginning stages of what it takes to start. There will be more steps you can and should take to come.