How to Embrace Your Writing Passion and Ditch Your Boring Day Job

Tammy Wunsch
Fast Track to Freedom
10 min readMay 8, 2023

--

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

You dream of saying goodbye to the nine-to-five lifestyle.

You long for the freedom to live and work from anywhere.

You want to choose the writing projects that interest you and the clients who value your writing skills and abilities.

You want to enjoy life to the fullest, not just punch a time clock for someone else.

Stop denying your dreams and learn how to turn your interest in writing into a well-paid career.

Photo by Super Snapper on Unsplash

Take the First Step and Choose Your Niche

Once you have determined that the writer’s life is for you, you need to decide how you can best attain that goal. The first step is choosing your niche. You don’t need to limit yourself to only one niche, but more than two or three and you risk not becoming an authority or the go-to writer.

If you want to be a diverse writer, learn a few different types of writing skills, like blog posts, articles, ebooks, case studies, emails, or white papers. There are numerous online resources to help you determine the best niche for you, but you can start with “5 Steps You Can Use to Find Your Niche” on Entrepreneur.

Having a niche helps you build a profitable writing business more quickly. It allows you to focus on industry news and trends and to become an authority. Companies want to hire writers who do not need a huge learning curve about their business or their industry. With a niche, you have already won half the battle in being chosen as the go-to writer in your niche. This can also lead to client referrals and allow you to ditch your day job that much quicker.

How to Set Up Your Writing Business

There are three methods that you can use to begin your journey as a content writer. Each has its merits, but you must decide what’s the best choice for you.

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Launch a Writer’s Website

Launching a website for your new writing business is exciting–that is, if you have the technical skills and abilities to do it properly. To launch your website, you will need to do the following:

  • Research and choose a website host;
  • Decide whether your business name will be merely your name or a clever play on words that identify your niche;
  • Determine if your business name is available as a website address
  • Set up your website with a landing page, sales page, portfolio page, information kit, and contact form–as the bare minimum.
  • Start posting blog content related to your niche so your website can start ranking in search engines.
  • With your clients’ permission, post links to writing content you have created on your profile page.

Once your website is set up, you will need to create a marketing plan and advertise your business. This will entail setting up social media pages, launching Facebook or Google ads, and contacting everyone you know to announce your new business.

Launch a Blog on Medium

You’ve read about other writers launching their blogs on Medium and making a lot of money. Is that the norm? Unfortunately, not. There’s a great article called How Much Money Does Medium Pay Per 1,000 Views on Blogging Guide, and the answer is surprisingly little–between $4.32 and $8.19 per one thousand views. I found that it was difficult to get Medium subscribers–yes, people pay Medium to read content–to find and read my articles.

Using Medium means that you will be writing your own blog posts on Medium to become an authority in your niche and attract readers and clients who will want to pay you to write for them. It seems like a lot of work.

While the start-up costs are negligible to use Medium, I don’t think this is either the best or quickest way to ditch your boring day job and earn a full-time income as a writer.

Launch a Freelance Writing Business on a Gig Site

There are numerous websites with vague promises of enticing writing jobs that end up mostly being a waste of time. Do your research! Even as a new writer, don’t work for peanuts. Your time and your skills are valuable!

Some sites list freelance writing jobs, most of which require a paid subscription to receive information about how to apply for the job. Other sites are marketplaces where you can post your profile–sometimes a specialized, niche profile–and you can either bid on jobs that match your skills or be invited to apply when job posters find your profile.

The best sites that I have both found and used are Fiverr.com and Upwork.com.

How Fiverr Works

Fiverr functions exactly as its name implies–you can purchase just about any service for five dollars. Fiverr.com has grown, however, and now allows sellers to offer multi-layered services.

For instance, you may be looking for a logo. You can search for “logo” and the results will show thousands of available sellers who offer logo services. You can then refine your search with filters to find a seller that best fits your needs. While you may indeed find a logo for five dollars, if you want additional choices or a fancier design, the seller may charge more.

As a writing service seller, you will have to differentiate yourself and create an engaging profile to entice buyers to select you. People searching for writers can also post a request where you can bid on their project. It’s worth the time to post your profile even if you don’t get a lot of jobs from Fiverr.

How Upwork Works

I have always had more success with Upwork. I have used the site as both a freelancer and a client and find it very easy to work with and a great place to find talent.

You will first need to set up your profile. Upwork has a great article to help you do that titled 9 Tips to Help You Create a Freelancer Profile That Stands Out. This will help you do just that–stand out! There are also paid courses that go into more detail, but you can find a lot of resources with a basic Google search and on YouTube.

The great thing about Upwork is that you can have a few specialized profiles. Perhaps you decided that you wanted to focus on two different niches: travel writing and animal welfare. Upwork allows you to set up a different profile for each niche with its own job search parameters. This is a huge timesaver when searching for writing gigs.

Photo by Ian Stauffer on Unsplash

How to Launch Your Writing Career to Success

Now that you have a profile–or two–and have started looking through the job lists, you might think the best option is to dive right in and bid on high-paying gigs. High-paying gigs pay more for a reason–they are looking for experienced writers with authority in their field or industry. That’s not to say that some people haven’t landed a high-paying gig right out of the gate, but it is unlikely.

The best place to start, especially if you have limited writing samples, is to apply for the smaller jobs that pay in the “Under $100” category. Don’t work for free but you need to build up your profile and your ranking to qualify for the higher-paying gigs.

Once you have started building your portfolio, earning some money, and accumulating positive client reviews, the time will be right for you to start bidding on more in-depth, higher-paying gigs.

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

A Necessary Evil–Client Reviews and Testimonials

Most freelancers detest asking for client reviews and testimonials. Besides client referrals, however, your reviews, testimonials, and ratings on gig sites are essential factors that will gain you the greatest number of clients. Use the below tips and suggestions to become a writer that clients will seek out.

How to Obtain Glowing Client Reviews and Testimonials

The first step in obtaining a positive client review or testimonial is to always be professional. Avoid using slang or being overly familiar with a client. They are paying you for a service, not to be your new best friend. It is better to err on the side of formality than to offend a client with an ill-placed off-the-cuff remark.

Next, after winning the job bid, or sometimes even before bidding, clarify the job parameters so as not to waste either your time or the client’s time. Perhaps the client is expecting significantly more than the job post described. Ask for a project brief that will detail exactly what the client desires. If the client doesn’t have or won’t provide a project brief, feel free to write a quick outline of what you believe the job to be and get client approval. This will help you if there is a dispute over the finished product or if the client is just generally unhappy.

Always meet or beat project deadlines. You don’t want to be the writer who always requests more time to complete a project. This will quickly remove you from the client’s list of preferred writers. Life happens though and an occasional project extension is fine. Set your goal of meeting or beating your deadlines at least 99 percent of the time.

There are many writing tools and resources that will help your copy stand out for clients. Use them!

  • Grammar checkers scan your writing work for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. Three of the best are Grammarly, Hemmingway Editor, and Readable. All three offer apps as well as free and paid versions.
  • Plagiarism checkers detect even inadvertent plagiarism errors so you can correct them before submitting your writing content to the client. I use Copyscape’s Premium Search. This is a paid feature but the per-word search cost is very reasonable. Ten dollars lasts me about six months of content checking.
  • Wordcounter provides basic word counts, an estimated reading level, reading time, and speaking time as well as summarizing keyword density.
  • To collect and organize your notes and research, you can use Evernote or Trello.
  • You can always use Microsoft Word to write, however, some companies may request that you use Google Docs for ease of shareability. Some writers use Scrivener for assistance with designing outlines for blog posts and managing metadata and research notes for cross-referencing purposes.
Photo by Alexander Mils on Unsplash

Final Steps to Becoming a Well-Paid Writer

After building up your business and your portfolio for a few months, you may be ready to take the final step and ditch your day job. Now that you’re earning some money, you are ready to set up your writer’s website (see above for a basic outline). There are plenty of articles and YouTube videos that will help you–or hire a skilled authority on Fiverr or Upwork to assist you with this task.

Always remember to request client reviews, testimonials, and five-star ratings from clients–especially ones with whom you enjoyed working. Nurture the relationship and ask if they have any additional work you can do for them. If they don’t currently have any more work, ask if they could refer you to anyone else in their industry. After all, you’ve already proven that you know how to write for your niche. Also, ask if you can keep in touch–and do it! Some of your best gigs may come from client referrals or follow-up emails long after the initial job has been completed.

Are You Ready to Ditch Your Day Job?

When deciding if now is the right time to ditch your day job and live the writer’s life, you will have to consider many different factors. Do you have steady work or monthly retainers? Is your writing income sufficient to cover your expenses, including any type of insurance that you may need to pay for privately? Do you have a dedicated space where you can spend your writing hours without interruption?

Don’t be surprised. Before making this monumental decision, work out a budget and discuss this potentially big change with everyone in your life such as family and friends. It’s a HUGE decision–be prepared for it!

Photo by Andrew Ball on Unsplash

The Writer’s Life

You have said your final goodbye to the nine-to-five lifestyle.

You now have the freedom to live and work from anywhere.

You are choosing the writing projects that interest you and the clients who value your writing skills and abilities.

You are enjoying life to the fullest, not just punching a time clock for someone else.

Welcome to the Writer’s Life!

--

--

Tammy Wunsch
Fast Track to Freedom

A multifaceted freelance writer with experience writing business content, destination descriptions, reviews, articles, blogs, and case stories for clients.