Quitting Your Job to Freelance Full Time? 3 Tools to Take With You

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You finally took your freelancing full-time, and the day you left the rat race was one for the books. You tossed your red stapler into a cardboard box and walked out with your head held high, finger in the air.

Fast-forward six months and you’re still lying in bed.

You thought you could just write. That the clients would just show up. And that business would be easy. But you have no one to write for and nothing to write.

In your defense, the red stapler was crucial. But to be a successful freelancer, you have to treat your writing business like any other business, and you have to work like any other employee.

So, here are three tools from your old office job that will help you get focused and work harder for yourself.

1. The over-sized desk calendar

While you don’t have an overbearing boss or a nine-to-five work schedule anymore, you still need to keep a set schedule to stay motivated.

Invest in a calendar or planner that’s best for you. I use Google Calendar because it also works as a to-do list. It sync all of my tasks and appointments to my phone and I can access it easily from any computer.

You can also color code tasks; for example, blue for blogging, red for feature articles and grey for marketing, so you can sort your tasks based on specific categories.

If you prefer handwritten to-do lists, take a look at these great old-school paper planners made specifically for freelancers.

But the key to having a planner is sticking to it. Set aside time at the beginning of each week to plan out your schedule, and then follow it as if that boss is still hovering over you.

Assign tasks to each day with a specific start time, but be realistic about how much you can accomplish so you don’t have to roll over tasks to the next day.

Choose times that work best for you. If you’re a night owl, schedule your tasks to start in the late afternoon, not in the morning when you’re less likely to get up and go.

2. The break room

One of the perks of having coworkers is gossip. Sharing work struggles with other walking, talking human beings is therapeutic and provides perspective.

Most freelancers keep their journeys a secret, but finding a tribe or even just a close friend to talk to can keep you accountable to your work. When you don’t tell anyone about your writing, then failure becomes more acceptable as you only have yourself to disappoint.

When I started my writing business, I joined the Freelance Writer’s Den. I connected with another writer in my area and now we swap nightmare-client stories over coffee. Venting keeps me sane and re-energizes me on a bad day.

The Den has also been a valuable resource when I have questions about the industry or need an outside perspective on how to handle an overdue payment.

You can also set an official launch date for your business, but you don’t need balloons and a “Now Open” sign to do it. Simply send an email to your friends and family members, or make an announcement on Facebook and Twitter.

As soon as I did this, everyone kept tabs on how my business was going, who I was writing for or what my future plans for growth might be. This motivated me to keep working so I never have to say, “Things aren’t going so well”.

3. The accounting department

Many writers choose freelancing to avoid the dreaded four-letter word… math. But regardless of how well your writing is going, math has to be a part of the business equation.

To stay motivated in your business, you need a plan, budget and income; in other words, you need to be an accounting department.

Set an income goal for each year. In my first year of part-time freelancing, I set a goal of $20,000. I created a business plan that outlined my strategy for reaching that goal, the services I would offer and the clients I would target. You can easily do this in a Word document or Google Doc. It doesn’t have to be fancy; it’s for your eyes only.

I also created a basic accounting workbook in Excel to keep track of my invoices, income, expenses and clients. With a goal in mind, I planned exactly how many clients I needed and what my rates should be so I never got behind… or apathetic.

Be dedicated to reaching that goal, just as you would be if you worked a nine-to-five and a big holiday bonus was on the line. Who knows? Maybe you can reward yourself with one.

Remember, even though you’ve left the rat race, you still need these three tools to run a successful business.

What is your favorite tool for keeping you accountable to your writing?

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Rebekah Olsen is a freelance writer, blogger and social media manager based in Memphis, Tennessee. She has a knack for turning complex subjects into concise and sharable content and writes on everything from aviation to pets.... .

Writer's Dust | @rebekah_olsen

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Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing..! It was an awesome about freelance writing job.

    Actually, I just created a freelance writing project, but I’m a fresh writer. I less experience with freelance writing career, but now you make me sense.

    I always plan my work and do check, but I did take much of accounting department. I have connect with some freelance writer blogs, and I found they recommended Freelance Writer’s Den.

    However, I did join the community yet. Thanks for recommending..

    • You’re welcome! When the Freelance Writer’s Den opens, you should definitely join. It’s been an invaluable resource as I grow my freelance business. Best of luck!

  2. Great article! Love what you said about officially alerting friends and family your business was open.

    I completely agree with you about the accounting and setting financial goals. I review mine religiously every month.

    I use a spreadsheet to track my articles by client and due date. Helps me schedule my time and make sure I don’t miss deadline. I also have a spreadsheet that tracks client details: rates, article types, guidelines, eg. Both spreadsheet help with scheduling work and budgeting.

  3. Thank you for the article, Rebekah! The main problem when you become a full-time freelancer is not relaxing too much but keep going.
    Everything you say actually works. Couldn’t agree more.

  4. Lawson Mukiri says:

    Thank you for sharing your tips looking forward to apply them as a new free lance writer.
    .

  5. I liked your question:

    What is your favorite tool for keeping you accountable to your writing?

    It made think.

    Probably my love for writing is the best motivating tool.

    Alta

  6. Chima Onuoha says:

    Thank you for the information.

  7. A Writer says:

    What a stupid article.

    Why is this acceptable for writers as advice? We’re supposed to be good with words but you seem to think this bullshit self-help, candy motivation is somehow helpful to writers. It’s not. It’s helpful for dreamers who want to do something but don’t want to take the steps for it. Writers out there struggling need help, actual help.

    Would a programmer accept an article on Three Tips on Being a Professional Coder that says “Sit by a window. Get yourself a big cup of coffee. Pace yourself.”

    No, it’s stupid and written by people who don’t know actual writing and have just stumbled into the plagiarism of copywriting without an idea how to actually do it well or maybe just the inability to communicate their own process effectively.

    You people are worse than fitness articles.

    • Ouch. That’s a little harsh, but I appreciate your candid feedback. I’ve owned three successful businesses, and I’m a credentialed and successful writer so the advice comes from someone who is passing down knowledge to budding writers who aren’t experienced in entrepreneurship or freelancing just yet. Sounds like you’re well versed in both aspects so maybe this article wasn’t right for you. Hope you find the advice you need though! Best of luck. 🙂

    • Colin Hunter says:

      I assume when you say that ‘writers are supposed to be good with words’ that you are excluding yourself from the category, considering your inability to express your opinion without the use of profanity. Or grammar.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Quitting Your Job to Freelance Full Time? 3 Tools to Take With You […]

  2. […] If your dream is to give up your 9 to 5 job and do business from home doing what you’re keen on, you’ll in all probability need assistance alongside the best way. In this publish Rebecca Olsen share some essential instruments it is best to have with you earlier than making that jump into the full-time freelancing . […]

  3. […] If your dream is to quit your nine to five job and work from home doing what you love, you’ll likely need some help along the way. In this post, Rebekah Olsen shares some important tools you should have at your side before taking that leap into freelancing full time. […]

  4. […] If your dream is to quit your nine to five job and work from home doing what you love, you’ll likely need some help along the way. In this post, Rebekah Olsen shares some important tools you should have at your side before taking that leap into freelancing full time. […]

  5. […] If your dream is to quit your nine to five job and work from home doing what you love, you’ll likely need some help along the way. In this post, Rebekah Olsen shares some important tools you should have at your side before taking that leap into freelancing full time. […]

  6. […] If your dream is to quit your nine to five job and work from home doing what you love, you’ll likely need some help along the way. In this post, Rebekah Olsen shares some important tools you should have at your side before taking that leap into freelancing full time. […]

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