You’ve been brave and set a goal to quit your day job and start freelance writing full time. This is a worthy goal and very doable with so many large companies that need expert content creators to produce weekly blog posts, social media posts, audio, and video scripts, white papers, lead magnets and more.
There is plenty of work for you and millions of other service vendors and you know you can get a piece of the pie and quit your day job soon. All you need to do is build a portfolio writing site, throw up some decent samples, and start pitching.
But every week you notice a pattern of less than stellar production. Your website isn’t ready yet, or your samples are lagging, or you keep ditching your pitching schedule.
Why is this happening?
You never used to act like a lazy-good-for-nothing loser until you made your sensible goal to become a freelance writer.
The ego likes to keep you small and safe
We evolved from a species of cute-but-fearful small furry mammals who learned to play it safe. If they hadn’t been so good at hiding, they would have all been eaten, become extinct, and we wouldn’t be here.
This vestigial protective organ known as the ego doesn’t want you to fall on your face or feel disappointed, so it wants you to hold back.
As long as you don’t try anything difficult, it’s a happy camper. But anything that could make you look less than perfect will draw resistance from the cute-but-fearful ego.
The ego is tricky. It wants you to be miserable and stay stuck because then it will have been right about there being no way out, and no hope.
The ego will distort everything and anything.
It will make you feel so hungry you want to sabotage your healthy diet or drink or a toke when you should be working. It will want to break the rules and overspend when you are on a budget.
It will want you to watch all 5 seasons of Breaking Bad instead of getting to work on your freelance writing website. Because it keeps telling you it isn’t safe to quit your day job and live the life you deserve as a successful, well-paid freelance writer.
If you succeed now, what does that say about all the crap jobs from the past?
The small-fearful-but-cute ego wants to have been right about all the crap you went through in your life. If all that time spent working at crappy low-pay jobs was easy to get out of you would have done it by now, right?
So why even try?
Ego logic is illogical.
To override the cute-but-fearful ego you must ignore how you feel
The only way to plow ahead is to make a schedule and stick to it.
When you fall off the schedule, which you will at first, pick yourself back up and start again…
No Matter How You Feel.
The no-matter-how-you-feel part is essential.
Stop buying into the thoughts of that furry little frenemy.
The minute you create a schedule, the ego-mind will tell you that “you’ll start tomorrow”.
The ego will say you are too sad/tired/hungry/bored —fill in the blank with your usual antics— to do whatever is on the schedule.
Start to see these antics for what they are. These are lies to keep you “safe” according to the standards of a tiny fearful furry creature.
Be happy that your ego is so resistant because that means you’ve picked a worthy goal.
Every time you get close to doing something constructive, your ego will throw one of these antics up in your face.
You will believe you really are tired/ hungry/depressed/bored.
Your ego will even tell you that your business idea is stupid and that it can’t work.
Resistance will become fuel to build your business
You will learn to use negative feelings as fuel to flip yourself into a good mood.
Once you get started it will feel good to be doing something to change your life. Even if you only work for ten minutes at a time it is a start!
You will start to notice that these bored/hungry/tired/depressed/have-to-go-shopping/browse-Facebook moods come up the strongest when you are closest to getting something done.
You will learn to be thrilled every time you’re able to override these stupid ego prompts that tell you to stay small and safe.
You might even suspend your Netflix subscription!
You will notice you are only binging on Netflix for 3 hours at a time instead of the whole weekend!
Pretty soon you might end up watching just a few episodes instead of an entire season in one sitting.
Eventually, you will be so strong you will only watch one episode per day. Or you might give up your Netflix subscription for months at a time.
These stupid prompts will become part of your secret weapon because they will signal you to turn the gas up and flip them on their heads as you plod on, sticking with your schedule more and more of the time each day.
Every time your ego tells you not to stick with your schedule, do it anyway, and you will start to feel amazing.
At first you will fall off your schedule every few minutes.
Then you will find that you can stick to the schedule for whole hours at a time before you get hungry/bored/depressed or in need of some Amazon shopping time.
Eventually, you will stick to your schedule for whole days and weeks without deviating. You will build momentum and start to feel really good.
Soon you will crave the schedule and have no desire to fall off the schedule.
9 Resources to get you off your ass and into a successful freelance writing business
1. Natalie Bacon
Natalie Bacon has excellent tips for productivity. She schedules everything out to the last detail, and it has worked well for her to build a full-time blogging business and quit her job as a lawyer. Bacon was in deep in debt and started a financial blog to learn how to manage money better. From there, she found she loved blogging and finance.
Bacon quit her law job to become a financial planner. Then she left her finance job to work on her own site full time. She worked as a freelance writer until her own site started to get a lot of traffic. Then she quit freelancing to focus on selling her own courses.
Bacon had a head start on discipline with her habits from law school, but we can all learn how to have a vision and stick to a schedule no matter where we started out. Bacon has a lot of free resources and a whole suite of courses on, finances, productivity, planning, and starting your own business, so check them out.
2. Alex and Lauren of Create and Go
Natalie Bacon used the Create and Go blogging courses to get started and became their first 6-figure student. Create and Go is a blog by Alex and Lauren, a couple who started a health blog a few years back. After a couple of failed attempts, they were able to quit their jobs to work on their blogging business full time.
Alex and Lauren run one of the top blogs on building and online business, and they are still in their 20’s. Alex and Lauren have each other to help them keep going, and they’re no slouches. They each had successful careers making good money before they decided to start a blog. Alex was a personal trainer with a background in network marketing. Lauren had just graduated and was working a corporate job in finance.
They have a great work ethic and a lot of free resources for becoming productive. I recommend reading their posts to get an idea of how to change your mindset. Any time I need inspiration, I tune into one of their videos or read one of their articles. Check them out when you need the motivation to keep going.
3. Jen Sincero
Jen Sincero wrote You’re a Badass, and You’re a Badass with Money. I have both of her books on audible and listen whenever I get discouraged. Sincero was writing for low-pay and living in a converted garage for years before she finally started taking herself seriously. She couldn’t stand being broke any longer so she started and doing things that made her uncomfortable so she could be successful.
She had to get out of her old mindset before she could excel. Now she is a best-selling author and a life coach, helping people overcome the antics of the subconscious mind. Check out her books and her site. She is hilarious, and she gives you a good kick in the pants.
4. Elna Cain
Elna Cain is a freelancer with two young kids. She started out with a mommy blog and found her way into writing about freelancing and marketing. Cain freelances as a writer and makes money from several of her own blogs. Cain is one of the leading experts on freelancing and online marketing, but she is approachable and honest about her personal experience of what it takes to become a successful writer.
I like Cain’s teaching style because she gives you actionable ideas you can start implementing immediately. She has several courses and free resources you should check out if you want to be successful as a freelance writer.
5. Jordan Roper
Jordan Roper was the first freelance writing guru I found when I decided I wanted to start an online business. Roper was able to begin making $5000 per month within 3 months of starting her freelance career. She didn’t have a college degree, but she was motivated since she and her husband had just been laid off from their jobs.
Roper started writing in the tech niche. After a year she pivoted to writing about writing and starting your own business, for her own site, and now she does that full time while traveling. If you are looking for a good jump-start, check out Fuck Yeah Blogging Course and her Cold Email Marketing Course.
6. Bob Proctor
Legendary Bob Proctor has teamed up with Sandy Gallagher to offer a wide array of resources to help you shift paradigms and become who you really deserve to be. They have lots of tips on getting small daily habits to stick so you can finally get out of your way and excel as a business owner.
If you’ve read Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, you can get the updated version of these ideas through many different tools that they offer. Check out the Proctor Gallagher Institute to get unstuck for good. Join the streaming program to get weekly inspiration.
7. Hypnosis with Cynthia Morgan
Cynthia Morgan has written a book on the subconscious mind called You’re Already Hypnotized. She also offers hypnosis audios for changing your subconscious mind.
Hypnosis is an effective way to get yourself to become a disciplined writer or lose weight or do anything you want to do in life.
Morgan explains that a lot of times, we are controlled by our subconscious mind. Even if we want to do the right thing, we end up sleepwalking through life. Hypnosis audios offer a safe, affordable way to tap into the subconscious mind and change things in ways that can seem miraculous. I got her whole hypnosis bundle on sale and I use it all the time.
8. Kyle Cease
Kyle Cease was a standup comedian at the top of his game when he realized he wasn’t feeling it anymore. He had the audacity to just stop right in the middle of making a ton of money touring. He didn’t even know exactly what he was going to do but he started following his heart and created an amazing online platform with a huge number of videos and a weekly live program at minimal cost. He also does meditation retreats and speaking engagements and he is funny as hell. His books are I Hope I screw This Up and The Illusion of Money. If you are ready to break out of your shell he can help you crack it open.
9. Ramit Sethi
Although Ramit is known for his book on financing: I Will Teach You to be Rich, which is amazing by the way, he also has courses on motivation, starting and running businesses and human excellence. I like mixing his courses with the Kyle Cease materials. Ramit is very practical and totally the opposite of Cease so they balance each other out and keep me motivated.
That’s a wrap
Remember not to be fooled by negative emotions when you work on your business. Get excited and happy when you feel lousy! It just means you are getting too close to something big.
I would love to hear about your struggles and conquests with starting your freelance business and what has helped you get moving when you’re stuck. Please leave me a comment below!