The original goal was to reach early retirement age of 52, leave Corporate America and write full time. I’m a few years shy of that age. Circumstances changed on my current job that forced me to a decision: look for a new job or make the leap now to become a writer. I knew I was at that point of either staying thus becoming enslaved to steady pay check or take a leap of faith. 5 years from now, I’ll need a new car, my health may not be the same. The risk is greater to stay. I am in the position of not having any dependents, so the risk is mine to take. I’m taking it.
How does one prepare for the Write life after being in corporate america for 20 plus years?
Embrace with the emotional change
I did blog post in 2011 “Planning the Funeral While Preparing to Give Birth” It walks through the emotions of walking away from something that was once the goal and preparing for the new. A few weeks ago, I shared with my friends and family about my decision to leave my current job and launch a writing career. The encouragement was most welcomed. Yet I’m still dealing with the juxtaposition of excitement and fear. It’s OK to feel this way. As I settle into a new normal, which I’m excited about, the fear will dissipate. I am planning the new normal, but I’m also taking it one day at a time.
Do a financial evaluation
I am not out of debt. But my house is worth more than I owe – this is a good thing. When I looked at all my assets, I can liquidate everything and be out of debt. Now I don’t want to lose my house. My only outstanding debt is mortgage, student loans and minor medical bills to which I have an HSA to take care of. It’s the first time in my life I have a positive net worth. I do have some savings but not the ideal 6 months or more of expenses saved up. I’ve decided to accept that risk.
I also do a budget for the entire year. For the past 5 years, I’ve known what it takes minimum to keep the lights on and maintain the home. In fact the last 5 years, all my pay raises have allowed me to do is save more for retirement and enjoy a few more luxuries. I know I can survive on half my salary if I cut out the extra perks. What I need to survive is my financial goal for the year as a freelance writer. This has helped with the fear, because trying to maintain my 6 figure income with writing is daunting to start. Keep in mind, you may have to pay for a few extra things like Health Insurance if you aren’t covered by a spouse’s insurance.
Make a plan
I have a few bullet points jotted down in my planner and in OneNote. Keep it simple. This is not a 20 page business case for your writing career. I have laid out what I want to accomplish in 3 months, 6 months, 1, 3 and 5 years. Some are writing goals and others are practical business goals: start a website, sign up for Upwork, get a writing client etc.
Get a writing coach
Best decision I made was to seek out another successful ghostwriter and PAY for coaching. I started blogging in 2009. This has opened doors to network with fellow writers. Network and connect with writers. Be willing to invest in your business (it will be a write-off). I’m still figuring out the tax situation, but I got a year to figure it out. I’ll write about it when I do!
She is giving me inside tips on starting a business as a writer as well as tips on writing. It is money well spent.
Join a Writer’s Group or two
I’m an introvert! Part of what I am looking forward to is NOT having lots of meetings, facilitating discussions with leadership and talking a LOT. But we still need a peer group and interaction with people. Meetup offers a wide variety writing groups. I’ve joined 3 so I that once I week I’m socializing with writers.
As I write this, I’m entering my last week on the job. I’m excited to transition to this career. I’m looking forward to sharing the journey with you.