Give Up the Day Job and Become a Writer – I Did and Here’s How

Tuesday, 7 January, 2014

in Online Jobs

In 2007 I had a steady job, bought a new house and just pottered away. In 2008 Lehmam Brothers crashed and the economy plummeted. In 2009 the writing was on the wall, the company I was working for was downsizing. In 2010 I lost my job. The Depression of 2008-2014 was the best thing that could have happened to me.

My Day Job

I worked in a security company in Ireland from 2004 -2010. The job involved driving around Ireland in an armoured van with colleagues who wanted to take short-cuts rather than to do the job right. We had to park the van illegally and then try to talk our way out of parking tickets we received. The van had no air conditioning which was a problem because the windows did not open either and there were days over the summer when the temperature inside the cab got as high as 400C. The job also involved answering alarm calls at night to banks. Sometimes I would have a series of calls all night, followed by a 6am start for the van-driving aspect day job.

Unemployment

In Ireland I was entitled to twelve months of weekly payments because I was unemployed. I also had a redundancy payment, but I had a large mortgage and loans I had taken out in the good years that amounted to three times the money that was coming in. I was 57 years old and my chances of a job were zero, so I started writing articles online because it was the only way I could think of that might keep the roof over my head.

Self-Employment

Four years later the article writing still gives me an ongoing income that is higher than I was earning in the security job. It took a while to build the contacts and reputation, but things are good. Article writing on a payment per article basis is not something I want to do forever. I need to transition my time to earning residual income from books I have written months or years ago rather than it all coming from work I have done this month.

Writing an ebook

A writer’s life is a happy one.

Being a Writer

I am a writer and that means I have to write pieces that are more than 1,000 words long that actually say something. I have written one book and am writing a lot more on education-related subjects (I used to be a teacher). I am also writing a series of novels. Many people want to be writers but have no idea how to start. Here’s how I started to give you a few ideas.

1)     Start writing articles for websites that give you a share of advertising revenue You will not get rich, but you will improve your writing and you will make contacts.

2)     Believe in Yourself You have to believe in yourself or nobody else will. If you are ever to get paid writing jobs then you need to be confident.

3)     Help Others This is the single most important aspect of developing your reputation. You have to help people in their writing. Forget the idea that you are helping your competitors; the people you help are highly unlikely to ever compete directly with you for writing jobs. Others will see you being helpful and their respect for you will increase. Those you help will want to pay you back by helping you when they are able to. It really is about ‘paying it forward’

4)     Keep Your Eyes Open Look out for the main chance. Always be on the lookout for paying writing work. If you are an active member of a good writing forum, G+ or Linked In group you will be offered paying projects by other members if they know you are looking for paid writing work. Every cent I have earned over the past four years has come from forum contacts.

5)     Outsource You are limited in your earnings by the number of hours in a day that you can write for. If you employ others you earn less per project but you can take on many more projects. Your writing business needs to grow if it is to provide you with a full-time income. Writing articles for cash is not going to pay your mortgage for long.

6)     Keep Growing You must continue to grow as a writer. It really is a case of ‘grow or die’. You need to start writing longer pieces. E-books are a great example of a medium that allows writers to grow; they can be 2,000 words or 100,000 words, have low cash investment requirements and appeal to more people all the time.

Should You Give Up the Day Job?

Probably not, but you do need to develop an exit strategy before it totally stunts your mind. I wish I had started writing years ago, while I had a secure income. I would advise anyone to start working online before they lose their job. I would never have given up the security of a weekly wage but redundancy gave me my way forward, the time and energy to devote to writing.

Can I Help You to Give Up the Day Job?

I wish I’d had someone to show me the way to earn money as a writer. If you need help getting started all you have to do is to ask. If you comment here, I check all comments before they go live and will get back to you individually.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Carmen January 10, 2014 at 15:25

Thank you for sharing.

I too would love to leave my day job and become a writer fulltime. I have been toying with this idea for several years. As a single parent and being the sole provider has kept I scared and stuck working for someone else so that I can keep a roof over our heads and the family fed. Several years ago I moved to a different state where housing is cheaper. My children are grown and now they can work and take care of themselves, so I want to make the move within the next 3 years. I am currently in the process of setting up a website by the end of March this year.

I have decided to just close my eyes and jump if my plan is very well thought out I should be ok. How you work through your fear of the unknown? My concerns like everyone else is will I be able to make enough to take care of myself, not necessarily take fancy vacations but that too would be nice.

Reply

2 Phil January 10, 2014 at 15:52

Thanks for commenting Carmen. I toyed with the idea for years and it was only redundancy that made me do it. I am lucky in that my children have grown, and are making their own lives.
A 3 year transition period is perfect. It gives you time to learn and time to grow your reputation and contacts before your income depends on them. You are right to set up a website as the first step.
You ask how I worked through my fear of the unknown. I had no choice; but the contacts I made were a big help. It is essential to grow your reputation by helping others in any way you can, paying it forward and growing your contact list. In 3 years’ time you will be ready to rock the world.
If I can help in any way at all, please just ask. I want to help, but only you know how I can help you best. Please stay in touch.
Phil

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