Let's talk about the concept of starting a freelance writing business when you're "ready."
Some of the most common questions I receive are along the lines of...
"How do I know when I'm ready to make money as a writer?"
"How do I know when I'm ready to start pitching my services?"
"How do I know when I'm ready to put my website out there?"
"How do I know when I'm ready to actually call myself a writer?"
Recently I received an from someone on my email list and that was her question - she'd been wanting to write for years but still didn't know when she'd be ready to take the leap.
Here's what I told her.
There is no such thing as being ready
Sometimes it's just based on taking imperfect action.
Nobody's ever really ready to do anything.
Think about someone who goes to law school for three years, the first time they walk into the courtroom for a solo case, they're going to feel nervous. They're going to feel scared.
You think about people who've been training their whole lives to go to the Olympics. But when they step out on that field or court to compete, they're still going to feel nervous. They're going to feel scared.
Imagine Beyonce going up on stage to perform. I guarantee you, she still feels nervous. She doesn't always feel entirely ready to go out there and perform or partake in whatever new business she’s part of.
So, starting a new career or side hustle as a writer doesn't require you to feel ready.
It requires you to take imperfect action.
Get paid and go from there
Here's the key to knowing if you're ready to get paid as a writer.
If you can find someone to hire you to complete a project and pay your invoice, then you're ready to get paid as a writer.
It's that simple.
In 2017 I wrote my first and only book (for now) - 8 Steps to Help at Risk Students Succeed. At the time, my plan was to be an educational consultant. I was going to use my years of experience as a teacher in Title 1 schools and Master's Degree in K12 Administration to help other educators support their students' success.
Who told me I could be an author?
Absolutely nobody but myself (and my mom who encouraged me to do it).
When I started my writing business, I was still working as an elementary school teacher. When I got that first client who was willing to pay me, I knew that I could get paid to be a writer, and I never turned back.
I didn't have any certifications or specific qualifications.
My background was in education.
I never made money as a freelance writer working for companies, but that didn't stop me from putting myself out there and seeing if I could find clients who needed writing help.
So if you're on the fence and you're one of those people who's been questioning whether you're ready, decide that you are and go from there.
Don't waste your time
If you keep waiting until you're ready - days, weeks, months, and years will pass. Before you know it, you'll wonder where the time went and why you were never able to achieve your dream.
On the other end of the spectrum, you can fool yourself into believing you're taking action - but what you’re really doing is wasting time.
Listening to podcasts
Watching Youtube videos
Interviewing other writing
Getting a writing certification
Working with a writing coach
But guess what's not included on that list, any action that makes you feel more confident as a writer.
Confidence comes in taking action - not learning more information. If you're not careful, you'll find yourself loading up on information while your actions remain stagnant.
Don't trick yourself into believing that's okay.
Instead of overloading on information - pick 1 source and take action.
Read 1 book and implement the recommendations.
Watch 1 video and implement the action steps.
Enroll in 1 course and follow the outlined plan.
You don't have to know all the things or do all the things to get started.
Talent isn't everything
I was listening to Rachel Rogers, a former attorney turned business boss and founder of Hello Seven, in an interview or podcast or something along those lines.
She mentioned that when working at a law firm, she would often question how some people got their jobs because they didn't seem all that bright or able to understand the concepts that should be basic to an attorney.
That is true every day in every company in every industry.
While skill is important, it's not everything.
It's often about developing a strategy and implementing and tweaking it repeatedly until you start to see results.
Am I the best writer in the world? No.
Do I have the best grammar? No.
Am I making the most money that a writer ever made? No.
I get consistent work as a writer because I follow a strategy. That's because I have confidence in my ability to make money as a writer.
Action breeds confidence
My confidence as a writer came from taking action, and with every step I take, I gain more confidence.
If I was still sitting in the classroom and never decided to put myself out there, create a website, get portfolio pieces, pitch myself to companies and start networking with business owners, I wouldn't have this confidence.
Suppose I never started getting paid for my work, getting testimonials, and having people refer others to my business. In that case, there's no way I would feel as confident as I am.
Now confidence is not an all or nothing feeling.
Do I have times when I feel overwhelmed as business grows?
Recently I launched a new venture, Write for Profit - a 6-week program teaching aspiring writers how to start their own writing business. The overwhelm and anxiety I felt!
But did I refund their money and say I'll just stick to writing because I've never launched a coaching program before?
I took imperfect action.
And with every coaching session, I feel more confident in my ability to deliver.
If I kept Write for Profit in my notebook and never took it to the world, I would have never felt ready.
You're ready when you determine you are.
A year later, don't let "I want to be a freelance writer," still be sitting on your vision board.
It doesn't take a year, 6 months, or even 30 days to start taking action.
All it takes is a decision.
I invite you to download the free Start Your Freelance Writing Business Toolkit to help you start your journey by taking imperfect action.
You’re one decision away from achieving your goals.