After six years of working in various 9-5 jobs, and always having a boss, I decided to take my freelance writing career into my own hands, and became self employed. For me, self employment came with a lot of fear, self doubt, and anxiety – not to mention the family concern of me not being able to support myself. Even though I was unhappy in my 9-5, and spent six months questioning quitting, my crossroads came when the magazine I was working for closed down, and I was offered a position within the bigger company that I didn’t want. It was an abrupt moment of clarity that allowed me to see that the security, stability, and monthly income that I was promised, was not permanent. So for the first time I ignored what society was telling me to do, followed my gut, and did what was best for me.
But it wasn’t easy, and happiness started to seem impossible. I shed a lot of tears in times of doubt, made excuses when I was afraid to take risks in my business, and was angry at myself for walking away from a ‘stable’ income. But I knew I needed to give it a chance before throwing in the towel. It took almost six months to find my feet, work out my game plan, and really focus on myself before I could truly see results. My attitude changed, life didn’t seem as boring, and I, for the first time, had the freedom to live without restrictions. Discovering my happiness was definitely a process that my freelance writing career aided. It allowed me to be brave, work harder, and listen to my inner voice without doubt. It’s an ongoing process, but here are a few of the things I’ve learnt so far that have made me the happiest I’ve ever been:
Follow Your Gut
I remember my first day at home after quitting, and the fear I had of not being able to succeed as a freelancer. Most people around me kept telling me to find another 9-5, and everything would be okay. Yes, 9-5 would give me a paycheque, but not happiness and fulfillment. I was never happy building someone else’s dream at the expense of not following my own. I didn’t want to be stuck in a system where employment is given to me just as fast as it can be taken away. I needed to stop and listen to my gut before listening to anyone else’s advice. And my gut was screaming at me saying, “If you don’t like doing something, why do you keep on doing it?” So I stopped applying for 9-5 jobs, focused on applying and improving my existing skills, and started offering my services as a freelance writer and editor.
No More Excuses
If you want to quit your job, freelance, start a business, and live your best life, then stop dreaming about it, and start taking action. Yes it does come with risks that you can constantly convert into excuses, but honestly what’s the worst that can happen? For six months before leaving my job, I came up with every excuse in the book – I wanted to save more money, wait till my car had been paid off, and wanted to find freelance clients while working a 9-5 job (which my job did not allow). I made all these excuses because I was scared to step out of my comfort zone, afraid of the unknown, and being a failure. As soon as I stopped making excuses and started doing the things that scared me, my mindset shifted. Instead of being afraid of failure, I started seeing challenges, and opportunities to succeed.
See Failure As A Lesson
During the first year of my freelance writing career I saw every client I didn’t get, and every project I lost as a major failure! I felt like all my hard work resulted in nothing, and that society was right by saying I needed to get a 9-5 job. After losing my only client at the time because he found someone cheaper, I realised that it wasn’t personal. The client didn’t let me go because he didn’t approve of my work, but because of his own budget, and my need for a liveable income. I soon started seeing “failures” as stepping stones, each with their own unique lesson. Lessons are there to be learnt from, and if we only see the failure in everything, we’ll never learn.
Today, two and a half years later, I’ve realised that making the shift from formal employment to freelancing has empowered me, and it has let me take charge of my own life and happiness. It has been a process that has included a lot of realisation, an attitude adjustment, and ongoing work on myself and my business. You only have one life and it’s up to you to make it the best life. If you’re not happy where you are, then move – you are not a tree!