June 16, 2012

Taking the Plunge

Making the switch from full-time corporate employment to self-employed freelancing is like hanging your toes over the edge of a long pier and choosing to fall into the frigid water below.

As I stood in my kitchen frying an egg for my toddler, I felt like hitting myself upside the head with my frying pan instead of making breakfast with it. I had just told my employer of nearly 10 years that I was leaving my position as a Senior Copywriter to pursue a freelancing career.  What was I thinking, going freelance with two children under three at home , a mortgage payment and only one steady client? Surely, I must have lost my mind. I continued cooking the egg, reassuring myself of all the reasons why this was the right time to make the freelance switch:

    • Flexible schedule
    • Creative assignments
    • Local impact
    • Family balance

The points rattled through my head like eggshells in the trash can. I knew that I could make more money in less time writing a wider variety of assignments by freelancing. I’d be able to devote more time to my children and nourish my local economy by helping small business owners market their services online through witty Facebook campaigns and compelling web content. I’d enjoy greater autonomy and control over my creative skill. I also knew there was never going to be a “right” time to make the uncomfortable decision of giving up a guaranteed paycheck, vacation and full benefits for said points.

I was surprised by the panic I felt as I fried that egg. It reminded me of a constant phobia of mine that that a line from one of my toddler’s preschool shows would make its way into an article assignment (“City officials announced their intentions to reduce the budget by having a big red chicken fix the massive pot holes plaguing Omaha.”).  I wasn’t surprised however, by my decision to become a freelance writer. I had been mulling it over for almost a year. I had talent, experience, savings, and a website. Surely the clients would come. I had already been working from home for my employer for nearly three years so I knew I had the discipline and time management skills to juggle full-time work and full-time childcare.

I had thought through my daredevil maneuver into the realm of freelancing; now I just needed to stop looking back and plow ahead into the fertile ground of new client development. Yes, I had indeed fallen off the pier into the icy water below. But, after the initial shock wore off, I realized that I knew how to swim, even in uncharted waters.

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