Why You Should Quit Your Job and Become a Freelance Writer Instead

Become a freelance writer
I’ve never regretted the decision to
quit my job and become a freelance writer.

Not even when the initial euphoria and smugness of not having to get up early and drag myself into the office wore off.

Not even when it suddenly dawned on me that my working day, my income, my tax bill, my financial future – and everything else – was all down to just one person:

Me.

Wow. That’s a lot of responsibility.

But I’ve always relished the fact it’s also given me lots of other things; a sense of purpose (finally), courage, confidence and – above all else – freedom.

I like freedom. I really, really like freedom.

So no, I’ve never regretted my decision to become a freelance writer. In fact, I think it’s the best decision I’ve ever made, and I actively encourage you to make the same one.

Here are some simple truths you probably won’t hear elsewhere to help you along the way…

1. If you want to become a freelance writer… you can

You don’t have to wait around for anybody to give you a break. You don’t have to get your first masterpiece published in the national press, or for the latest and greatest blog to pick up something you wrote and offer you paid work. You can quit your job and become a freelance writer by carving out your own path.

As I wrote in my post Can You Afford to go Freelancing Full-Time?, the world of work is most certainly different to how it used to be. The traditional method of going to a designated place each and every day while being drip-fed a salary is no longer necessary… if you don’t want it to be.

In other words, it isn’t necessary for you.

Does this ring true for you?

If not, consider this:

2. It’s hard work… but not all that difficult

I’m not saying it’s not hard work to make a full-time living as a freelance writer online. Depending on your situation, you might need a bit of savings in the early days. Of course it will take a while to build up enough to live on. It took a while to build up what you live on now didn’t it? And is it enough?

Probably not.

The surprising thing is, when you decide to become a freelance writer and work hard at it, you can build up a healthy living relatively quickly. You can get paid more than once a month –  or more than once a week if you like – and if you need a bit of extra money you can just work a bit harder (or smarter – it’s up to you).

So sure, you have to work hard. Making your own money to meet all your financial commitments isn’t easy, but making your own money on the side and then building it into something bigger and better is definitely achievable. Sometimes the attainability of this goal is either over-complicated or overlooked, and the temptation is just to give up and be like everybody else.

But where’s the fun in that? Where’s the freedom? Where’s the challenge, and where’s the creative spirit?

3. As a freelancer… the possibilities are endless

So why isn’t everybody doing it? The simple answer is: Because some people place other things higher up on their list of priorities. Things like social status, security and predictability to name a few. And that’s fine too. That’s their choice. (Perhaps.)

All I’m saying is that different people value different things. Which makes sense when you think about it; the world is made up of wildly different individuals so it stands to reason we might not all hold exactly the same values as each other.

For instance, I value above all things, including especially security and social status, something I’ve already mentioned and am grateful for each and every day: freedom.

The trick is to find out what you – that’s you, not everybody else you work, sleep and hang out with – hold as your most important personal and professional value and make it your number one priority.

Then you work towards that priority every single day.

Want more? Check out my practical course on how to become a full-time freelance writer online – from scratch, with no experience whatsoever.

16 Comments

  • Pablo

    Reply Reply January 7, 2013

    It would be awesome to eventually move to this point!
    I’m in no rush though, my current day job is one that involves my favorite hobbies. That’s already a step ahead of most people.
    I’m stoked for the time when I can just travel and write, but am totally content slowly making my way there.

    Soon Enough :)

    • Kirsty

      Reply Reply January 7, 2013

      It’s amazing that your day job involves your hobbies – some people aren’t quite so fortunate! Thanks for stopping by. Keep up the good work on wherespablo.com. Inspiring stuff :)

  • Shawanda

    Reply Reply January 12, 2013

    This post reaffirms my belief that I’m not crazy for pursuing a career as a freelance writer. The challenge I’ve encountered is getting opportunities that don’t involve content mills/farms. I know they’re out there; this post confirms it. I’ll be subscribing to your blog; I look forward to your next post. :)

    • Kirsty

      Reply Reply January 13, 2013

      Thanks Shawanda. That was exactly my intention with this post. There will always be naysayers and doubts in your own mind but if you really want it, work hard and create your own opportunities you CAN do it. Thanks for stopping by.

  • Alexia

    Reply Reply February 7, 2013

    Great post!
    I was absolutely thrilled when I decided to abandon architecture to become a full time freelance writer, but everyone else around me (with the exception of my partner) did not really believe I was serious about it. Some keep asking if I will go back to my “normal” job. I wish I could stop getting frustrated about these remarks. Articles such as this one help a lot! Thank you :)

    • Kirsty

      Reply Reply February 7, 2013

      Hi Alexia! I’m glad that this post resonated with you. Perhaps the only way to not get frustrated with the naysayers is to realise that most of them genuinely think they’re helping by being ‘realistic’. (Although for some it’s far more about them than it is you!). They’re not helping of course but I find it best to smile knowingly and move on.

      You know better after all ;o)

      Thanks for stopping by.

  • Kimberly

    Reply Reply February 9, 2013

    Hello Kirsty!

    I’ve enjoyed reading your articles/posts. I, too left my office job to try freelance and while I am mostly very pleased, I wouldn’t mind branching out a bit. The travel aspect is something that has always intrigued me. I don’t have funds for real travel, so would you suggest starting local and pitching story ideas, or full-fledged stories within a region (I’m in North Carolina, US. I love the idea of writers helping writers!

    Thanks for your insight!
    (Yes, I know I need a REAL url!
    Kimberly

    • Kirsty

      Reply Reply February 11, 2013

      Hi Kimberly. Glad to hear you took the plunge into the world of freelancing and that it’s working out for you. Yes, I think that locally is a good place to start if you want to pitch a couple of travel articles or stories. With the huge scope of the Internet though you don’t necessarily have to of course as there are so many places online that need good, solid travel articles. All the best to you and let me know how you get on!

  • I’ve been full time since October 2015. I built my freelance clientele on the side for three years during my full-time job in marketing. While it’s a challenge (thankfully I put some living expenses aside) to meet my modest financial goals (e.g. pay mortgage!), I find myself stuck in the house far too much and not being as mobile as I had imagined. I also would like to move into writing more for industries I enjoy, although I don’t think the pay would be what it is in more technical industries. Figuring out how to make that next transition. Anyway…your blog has been an immense help over the past few years, and I’m enjoying your Udemy course!

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply March 31, 2016

      Sounds like you’ve been smart with regards to how you approached going freelance, Amanda. It’s important to look back and realise just how far you’ve come when you’re not feeling like you’re in the right place. Look at all the changes you’ve made to your work life and how much freedom you now have. It’s also important to keep tweaking things as you go along though. Perhaps dedicate some time to finding out how to get into writing for technical industries, and structure in more things that get you out and about during an average day. I’ve found that my career and my life is always a working progress. Once you look at things like that, it’s difficult to ever feel stuck!

      So glad the blog has been helpful to you and that you’re enjoying the course. Keep up the good work, and thanks for all your insightful comments and support. :)

      • Great point about looking at the changes I have already made. Seems obvious, but focusing on the positive sometimes get lost in the “still to do”s. I hope things are going well for you, too!

  • Brent Jones

    Reply Reply April 11, 2016

    Jeez, Kirsty…

    I couldn’t have said any of this better myself! :-)

    I’m in the same boat… I have never once regretted striking out on my own. Never. Even when the days were long and the pay was low in the beginning.

    My three pillars or measures of success for my freelancing business have always been as follows:

    a. Freedom
    b. Flexibility
    c. Financial Independence

    In other words, when I make a decision regarding my business, I ask myself three things:

    1. Will making this decision continue to allow me the freedom to be entirely in control of my own affairs?
    2. Will making this decision allow me to continue working where and when I choose?
    3. Will making this decision further increase the healthy, above-average income I’m earning?

    If a choice, no matter how great the opportunity, is going to risk my financial well-being, cause me to be dependent on someone else, or force me to work set hours from a set location, it’s an absolute no.

    That formula has worked well for me, and it sounds like our priorities aren’t so different!

    Great post.

    Brent

    • Great list of questions, Brent. I’m at a place in my freelance career (six months full time, nearly four part-time) where I’m trying to figure out how to add d. passion. Most of my writing is for industries I’m not that interested in but that pay well. Not a bad thing, of course, but I need to also identify what also makes me happy AND pays well.

      • Kirsty Stuart

        Reply Reply April 11, 2016

        That’s a good thing to focus on, Amanda. Many people see dollar signs and nothing else and then wonder why they’re not happy, so you’re on the right path if you’re thinking in this way – for sure!

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply April 11, 2016

      Sounds like we’re on much the same page with our priorities, Brent! I guess I also ask myself the same questions (or variations of them), but have never really seen them written out like that.

      Thanks for your comment, and I’m so glad you enjoyed the post!

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