Becoming My Own Boss: From secretary to freelance writer

Truth be told, I never had a dream of being my own boss. The only aspirations I had were to be the best employee, wife and mother I could be. I was earning a living working at a job with the state and had been employed by the same agency for about four years. I had hopes of moving up within the department in the near future. That is until the rug was pulled from under my feet. I got the news that the agency was losing funding and that I would be out of a job within the next 90 days.

Suddenly My World Changed

Hearing news like that scared me beyond belief. When you’re working for a state agency, you assume you’ll be employed until you retire. So when I was told I only had 90 days of work left, I began looking for a new job. As I was putting in applications, I kept finding advertisements for jobs that were offering a lot less than I was earning at my current job. When I started coming up short on the job search, I began researching other ways to make money. This is where I came across the idea to be a freelance writer.

Turning a Passion into a Business

Writing had been a long lost passion of mine. It was something I did in school and loved it. I did more research and found that there were legitimate businesses looking for writers. These businesses were willing to pay people to create articles, blog posts and other web content. Interested in the opportunity, I began comparing the best freelance job sites for writers and set up a few profiles.

After a few weeks, I found a writing client who saw the potential in my writing but knew I’d need to learn about the technical aspects of writing for the web. As it turned out she was a writer who was overloaded and needed assistance. Since she enjoyed my writing so much, she didn’t mind taking the extra time to teach me about things like search engine optimization (SEO) and the various types of writing.

Expanding My Skills

I went from not having any experience to having experience in topics ranging from parenting to personal finances, all in just a few short months. I was gaining momentum, and after about three months, I had a few clients under my belt. I was starting to find my footing. The only problem was now that I knew what I was doing, the wages I was getting paid were minimal. I would have to be a writing machine to generate enough income for my family.

Then my first writing client gave me an idea: I should expand my skills. As I did research on freelance writing, I realized there were more options than simply creating SEO-friendly articles. Freelancers can  create blogs, e-books, social media posts, email marketing campaigns, press releases, newsletters and so much more. I decided that if I was going to request more from potential clients and stand out amongst the hundreds of other writers, I would need to have a competitive edge. As I acquired a new skill, I’d add it to the list of services I advertised to potential clients.

The Balancing Act

Expanding my skills certainly worked as the clients came knocking at my door. However, I had created a new problem for myself. There just were not enough hours in the day. I started pushing back deadlines and turning down some new work.

If I wanted generate a steady income, I needed to take on new tasks, but putting too much on my plate left me with no time for my family or to provide quality work. So to find a bit more balance, I did the following:

  • Outsourced clerical tasks to a virtual assistant.
  • Outsourced any overload work to two or three vetted writers.
  • Established work hours and a daily routine.
  • Utilized calendars, time tracking and task management applications to stay on track.

Where I Am Today

Once I was able to find balance, things were smoother. Though my full-time job was granted funding before we lost our contract, I realized that I enjoy being my own boss. More importantly, I realize that you need to have another stream of income. I’m currently working at my business part-time with a deadline of three years until I say goodbye to my state job. My journey thus far has been one to remember. I’ve had ups and downs, highs and lows, but I wouldn’t trade the feeling for anything in the world.

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