Maybe You DO Need a Safety Net (and Why You Shouldn’t Quit Your Job Just Yet)

Safety Net

A while ago I talked about how not having a safety net can be a great way to kick yourself into action. After all, if you need to make some cash or be booted out on the streets, chances are you’re going to figure out a way to make this work.

But you might not.

It depends what sort of person you are. If you believe in yourself, know you’re talented, and have no doubt you can make money when you have to, the no-safety-net approach will probably work for you.

But if, on the other hand, you’re somebody who’s lacking in confidence, somebody who doesn’t quite believe they can do this, this approach may not be a good idea for you. First, you need to believe in yourself. This is much easier if you’ve already proven to yourself that you can make money.

If you shatter under pressure, maybe you’re more likely to go into meltdown and will find yourself throwing CVs and applications at every job you can find instead of doing what it takes to make money freelance writing.

Either way, you’d be much better off earning some money from freelance writing BEFORE you quit your job. You might even want to build up a steady stream of clients — to push yourself to your limits work-wise before you quit your job — so you can go a little easy when you make the leap.

Another way around it is to build up a savings stash before you quit your job. If you have enough money to live on for six months — even twelve months — without worrying about making any more, perhaps you’ll set to it and build your business in a relaxed state. When I’m relaxed, I do fuck all. I work better under pressure.

So it all depends what sort of person you are. When I had several months’ worth of savings, I quit my job without doing ANYTHING with freelance writing — not even creating my website — and I ended up going back to my job for a few months later in the year after blitzing through my cash. In the end, I quit my job after I’d found enough clients to just cover my living expenses, and I grew from there.

If you dive headfirst into freelance writing when you aren’t quite ready for it, you may find yourself calling it quits FOREVER, crawling back to a ‘real’ job, and deciding you’re not cut out to be a freelance writer after all. When really, all you needed was to take the slow approach and build your confidence and your business gradually.

So fuck what everyone else says is the best way to do it, and figure out what is the best way for you.

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    2 Comments

    1. Great article, Karen. I was sort of pushed into freelancing as I couldn’t find a job in a new city fast enough to make rent. Hearing from your students and other freelancers about slowly transitioning out of their jobs to self-employment, I was a little jealous of how they didn’t need to fling things together just to put food on the table!
      My method did work out for a while, and I was very happy. But my recent life crisis threw a wrench into things (along with going through a tough period with clients) and I’m going through a million new changes in my life. I’m in a place right now where I absolutely need to be in a stable job, but I think the next go-around, I’m going to ease into freelancing again using all the lessons I learned from the first time.

      1. Thanks for sharing your story, Sarah. Yeah, quitting your job and throwing yourself into this isn’t necessarily the best way to go – completely depends on your personality and your situation. Glad you learned some useful things you’re going to put to use in the future! Easing into it is a great way to go.

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