How I made the transition from a boring day job to freelancing?
I remember growing up with “the” mighty ambition of becoming a fighter pilot. At that age, I have dreamed a lot about combat conditions, playoffs, controls and so on, so much so that I was a regular visitor to the practice airfield that was 14 miles away from home. Time passed and when I got into high school I was contemplating marketing or finance. This was after I realized that a career is not determined solely by passions, a paycheck was as necessary.
Not even in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would be staring at job security, health insurance and 401(k)s and work-life balance. This was when I realized that there were a lot more overwhelming factors in choosing a career than just paychecks and passions.
I was juggling jobs at the beginning of my career and settled with a computer education franchise as a marketing and logistics manager. The job came with fringe benefits like travel, vacation time, office parties and a lot more. I was doing well, met my would-be spouse here and was getting up the corporate ladder quickly.
The job had its dull periods which were seasonal. I had a bad habit of reading everything that came my way. It wasted a lot of time but my curiosity always got the better of me. During one such lull, I was reading an email in my spam folder which asked for freelance writers in the digital marketing field. I was always interested in marketing and writing, so I moved the email to my inbox and replied with the required details. Little did I know about online marketing at that point!
I went home that evening to a normal conversation with my kids and spouse (she quit her job once she married me) and when it was time to retire; I fired up my laptop and started researching on digital or online marketing. It was quite confusing but got the hang of it in the next 2 hours. With my brain steaming from this new line of marketing and its possibilities, I retired for the night, with an alarm set to ring an hour before my normal waking time.
I gave the concept a little more thought while brushing in the morning and sat down with my laptop to write what was asked. It took me some time, but the basics were set on paper. With these basics swimming in my little brain, I commuted to the office, went on with the daily chores and waited for the evening. I was immediately onto my laptop once I got home. With more clarity in the mind than ever, I started to edit the piece I had compiled and finished it in about two hours with interruptions from kids and wife.
After taking a last look at my first freelance writing piece, I emailed it and kept my fingers crossed. Sleep was not good with all the tossing and turning. Checking the email in the morning, I found that the article has been accepted and I was to be paid $20 for the same. Overjoyed, I asked for more work and it came. This went on for 3 months, after analysis, I found that I had written about 60 articles and earned $1500. After the first article, I spent an average of 90 minutes on each of the subsequent articles, so I earned about $15 an hour, over and above my paycheck.
Flash…. Why not make freelance writing a career? I was already contemplating a job change since I had outgrown the company due to lack of further growth path. So, the choice was between finding a new job and going freelance. A job would pay me about $2000 a month. A freelance writing career, assuming that I spend 8 hours writing daily, it would fetch $3000 (@ $15 an hour, working 25 days a month).
Looking at working 8 hours a day was not a real consideration, if needed I would give more time to it. The more important part was “Will I be occupied writing 8 X 25 X 12”? I thought, even if I was occupied 2/3rds of the time I will still make my salary.
Work-life balance in the present job was a small challenge due to travel commitments. If were to take on freelance writing, I could work my own hours going by the experience I have had. So, from this perspective, it was a worthwhile choice.
Considering the financial implications, I opted for a little consulting and found that this new way of working would be a challenge to set up. Until now, I had set aside taxes at the beginning of the month, but if I chose to freelance, that schedule could be messed up a little, temporarily. So, this was not a real challenge given some time. From the tax perspective, I go from salaried to a businessperson and it will come with a few downsides, I was willing to take that on.
Financial security was a major consideration. The future of freelancing (link to internal blog post 1) was something no one could advise me about. I had a talk with my spouse and she was seriously furious. She wanted me to work my day job as it is and look at freelance writing as and when time permitted. She was right from her perspective; however, I was quite reluctant to look at another job option.
One has to take a decision, and so, I let the issue occupy my mind for a week. The following Sunday, I went fishing, alone, and took a serious re-look at the issue. After a few hours and catching next to nothing in terms of fish, I came to a decision.
I will not look for a job change, will continue in my present day job and spend a little more time on freelancing. If I could have 6 months worth of my salary in the bank at the end of six months, I will quit my job and become a full-time freelance writer.
I went with this decision to my wife and she agreed, albeit a little unwillingly, since that would eat up on personal and family time.
Then and Now
My transition to a freelance writer was a hard one considering that I was raising two kids in a hard world. Down the years (near about 10), I have never had the chance to repent the decision. Since then, I have been there and done that, and learned many new life skills as well as professional ones. I have graduated from a freelance writer to a full-blown digital marketer and I love every minute of it. I am very active on most freelance platforms today; however, I prefer to work on Vulpith, since I think it is going to define the future of freelancing..
Compared to other freelance websites I have worked with, Vulpith helps me save money since it does not charge any fee for projects that do not opt for payment or data protection. This translates to more earnings for me. Moreover, there is no withdrawal fee which makes it quite unique and freelancer friendly in contrast to the competition. I have been shifting many of my clients to Vulpith so that they make the most of it too, by keeping their data and money secure and paying next to nothing for it.