Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pulling Double Duty Until Ready to Pull the Self-employment Trigger

There was no one there to tell me whether I was ready to make the move to self-employment. There were no set guidelines or rules in place to indicate if I was indeed as prepared to make the move as I needed to be. And there was no practice run to see if I had what it took to do the job until I pulled the trigger…or was there?

While I had taken the time before I left my regular employment to budget, develop a multi-year business plan, and save an emergency fund to allow myself to make the transition to self-employment, there was another move I made to ensure that I was as prepared as possible to make the self-employment leap. This move consisted of pulling double duty for several years before actually making the transition.

Here’s how I did it.

Train Ride to the Future
I didn’t make the move into self-employment as a freelance writer until late 2007. However, I started writing well before then. I actually began writing as a way to work on a book idea I’d had and fill time spent on Chicago’s commuter rail system on the way in to work back in 2005.

My morning commute actually started at night (since I worked the third shift at the time), but that’s neither hear nor there. I would use the time to write (yes, I actually wrote longhand since I didn’t have a laptop at the time) and practice my trade.

While that book never came to fruition, I look back at it now and realize that it was the spark I needed to light the fire that eventually became my self-employment passion.

Using Regular Work as a Resource
I didn’t let on to the fact that I was interested in becoming a writer to many -- if any of my co-workers -- until I knew for a fact that I was making the transition. First off, I didn’t feel it was a great idea letting people at work know that I was interested in pursuing a career other than the one in which I was currently employed. Second, I certainly didn’t want to count my chickens before they were hatched. And third, I really didn’t want people asking me about my writing all the time. Therefore, I largely kept my self-employment dreams to myself.

This didn’t mean though, that I didn’t use my workplace as a valuable resource while I was there. I did this in several ways:

• As a steady source of income necessary to eventually fund my self-employment efforts.
• As a source of information from co-workers and clients to be used as fodder for my writing career.
• As a foundation and credential (since I worked in finance at the time) for my future as a personal finance writer.

Finding Extra Work Hours
Coming home at night from a long day at work meant that I wasn’t always in the mood to write…but I did. Add into this mix a newborn son and you can imagine that the circumstances surrounding the time in which I was preparing to move into the self-employed world were certainly hectic. In fact, if you throw becoming a new father into the mix, I was actually pulling triple duty in an effort to enter the world of writing.

However, each night (once I switched to the day-shift) after I got home from work, before we ate dinner and gave our baby son his nightly bath, I would spend and hour or so working on writing projects. My grandfather used to do this in the morning, getting up at around 4 a.m. to write before going in to work when he was struggling to make it as a writer himself.

While this schedule wasn’t easy, it prepared me in the years leading up to my self-employment move for what was to come, and it helped me ensure that I had what it took to make a career out of writing and that it wasn’t just some phase or passing interest.

No comments:

Post a Comment