I think there are two reasons why more people don’t become professional bloggers, even if they want to.
- It sounds unachievable.
- They haven’t discovered the potential of the internet.
At the risk of becoming an ardent evangelist, I’m aware that I’m placing my livelihood on quite a risky medium – the internet.
However, other people also place their livelihoods on other risky mediums, and that’s not just professional musicians or actors.
Financiers are at the mercy of the market. Charity workers are at the mercy of the performance of the organisation.
By coming to terms with risk, I was actually able to see that everything I was worried about going wrong with my vision was actually very unlikely to happen.
Change your ideas about blogging
There are people who are professional ‘bloggers’ and for them, blogging is a business. Blogging is the tool through which they sell their products and they can become very rich on it.
I am a professional blogger in the sense that I write blog posts for a living, which is very different. My blog is also my business because it generates clients for me, but I don’t sell any products through my blog.
This is where a lot of people go wrong when they start to learn about blogging.
If blogging as a business is what you’re interested in, I recommend Jon Morrow’s blog, Smartblogger.
I’m talking about blogging as a freelancer, which means selling your blogging services.
Read The Four Hour Work Week
The reason I was able to become a professional freelance blogger was by reading quite a famous book, The Four Hour Work Week, by Tim Ferris.
Among other things, he helps you work through your irrational fears about taking risks, and it enabled me to understand that traditional ‘employees’ like myself need to come to terms with taking control, and traditional ‘entrepreneurs’ need to learn how to let go of control.
While this book isn’t gospel or the be all and end all, it’s certainly essential reading if you’re planning to start your own business or launch a freelance career. I’m putting together a list of top reads for budding freelancers, so watch out for that soon.
Introduce minimalism to your life
Another thing that Tim’s book spurred me to on to do was go through all of my possessions to whittle them down to the bare minimum. (I mean, I still have loads of stuff). But I had been accumulating more and more for years, and it got to the point where moving was a real pain.
By minimalising, and streamlining all of my possessions, I was able to see how I could again put my belongings into storage and move out of my flat.
A lot of my well-being had become attached to my home, and while that’s still important, my belief that I needed to live in the centre of London meant I would need to be earning upwards of £1,500 a month from freelancing (and that’s not even taking into account tax).
While that’s certainly attainable in the long term, it’s a lot of pressure to put on myself in my first few months of freelancing.
So, by terminating my tenancy and paying only about £100 a month for storing my favourite items, I’m now free to travel or live somewhere cheaper. I don’t need my home comforts to be happy, because becoming a freelance blogger is more important.
Trial freelancing before quitting
You wouldn’t just go into a relationship with someone you didn’t know – you’d go on a few dates first to see if it would be likely to work out.
You need to see if your personality would be a good fit for freelancing – you need to be disciplined, able to work alone, at the same time adept at building your freelance community, and good at dealing with rejection.
Work out the minimum you would need to earn to make freelancing a success, and set concrete milestones that you need to pass before you actually quit your job. That will make you more accountable and stops you subconsciously moving the goalposts.
Just keep your freelancing separate from your work if you think it might be a conflict of interests. Most workplaces should really value the employee that is pushing themselves outside of work to develop and grow.
Work on your issues
I wasn’t always good at the things that enable me to be a freelancer. I was distinctly undisciplined for many years, but going through some difficult times made me realise that
I had to sort out the things I was avoiding through turning to alcohol and other distractions.
It turned out that I was developing an ability to deal with pain and transform it into something positive, that would help me cope with adult life.
Sadly, if you’re not willing to face your issues, you’re going to find it very hard to follow your dreams. This is because you’ll always be sabotaging yourself, either through procrastination, making mistakes or numbing out.
Only through personal growth can we follow the right path.
I’ve been keeping this blog for quite a few years and if you look back through the archives, you can see how far I’ve come. I’ve even got other abandoned blogs where the posts are far more embarrassing than anything you’ll find here. But it all takes practice.
Not only do you need to write but you need to actually show it to other people and get it out into the world. That’s a huge stumbling block for many writers. I remember how painful it was when I first had to get used to criticism.
And that’s the key to success – being willing to learn and look a bit foolish in the eyes of others. You’re not perfect, you won’t always be right, and sometimes you’ll get it wrong.
But ultimately, it gets easier because you spend less time stressing over things that don’t matter.
Find out more about how I quit my job to become a freelance writer. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about freelancing, or check out my professional freelance blog.
Catherine Julianne is a blogger and content writer obsessed with the field of personality systems theory. She also likes tech, visual art, Eastern practices, adventures and being in nature.