Quitting your job to become self-employed might sound amazing, but it’s not always a fun ride.
All my life, I was told the only way to have a happy life is by getting into a good college and then landing a stable high-paying job.
This is exactly what I did, and by 24, I was “settled.”
But if there was one thing I wanted all my life, it was to be a writer. And after a while, my high-paying central government job stopped feeling fulfilling. I was 28 when I made a career shift and decided to become a full-time writer.
Since then, life as a self-employed person has been amazing, and every day is a blessing. But unlike most people think, being your own boss is not always rainbows and unicorns. There are struggles and some truly dark days no one warned me about.
In this post, I’ve captured some dark sides of being a full-time writer I’d never anticipated. I don’t write these to discourage anyone dreaming to pursue their passion, but to make you aware of what lies on the other side of quitting your job.
After all, shifting careers is a big decision and no person should take it on an impulse. If you’re facing that dilemma, I truly hope this post will give you some food for thought.
1. How Much is Too Much?
Am I “bad” for wanting more money?
Am I dreaming too big?
These are questions I’ve often asked myself, and every time, there’s an element of guilt attached to it.
You see, growing up in an Indian middle-class family, wanting more money or even talking about it was taboo. Asking my parents their salaries was forbidden. It was commonly said that “Money is the root of all evil,” and we should always be happy with whatever we are getting. The only way to make more money than your salary is by working 18 hours a day or by being corrupt.
I’ve had to do a lot of inner work to let go of this negative emotion around money. Now, I’ve learned that:
- There’s nothing wrong with wanting more money as long as you’re providing value in return.
- You don’t have to work 10x harder to earn 10x more. With the right mindset and strategies, you can work just for 3–4 hours a day for 5 days a week and make 10x your current income.
- Dreaming big is not evil. The world is huge and the possibilities are infinite. YOU make your own rules, including the rules about money.
An affirmation that’s helped me a LOT as a self-employed person is this:
“I am unapologetic about what I desire and trust that what I focus on will GROW.”
2. Losing Track of What’s Important
As a creative person, it’s a lonely journey. And when things are bad, it’s easy to blame yourself.
Views are down? My first instinct will be to think, “Maybe the quality of my work has decreased.”
Not earning enough money? “Maybe I chose the wrong career and should have stuck to my job.”
Getting hate comments? “Maybe I’m not good enough.”
I’ve been stuck in that spiral for longer than I dare to admit. I’ve questioned my talent, doubted my potential, and hated every single word I typed on the screen.
But in the end, it’s you who pushed yourself down the abyss, and it’s you who can pull yourself back up.
Blaming yourself will take you nowhere. Maybe you’re banging your head against a closed door, ignoring that window of opportunity open right in front of your eyes.
Sometimes, it’s important to zoom out for a change in perspective.
When things are falling apart, take a few moments and look at the bigger picture. What opportunities are you missing? Are you applying the wrong approach?
Planning and executing are important, but it’s introspection that will set you apart from the rest.
3. The Green-Eyed Monster
There are several writers I’ve felt envious of. Sometimes, my envy forces me to think dark thoughts: They don’t deserve this. I can write much better than them. Why are they so famous? Why is my talent never noticed?
The truth is — no creator is immune to jealousy. But it’s a dark thought, and it will never lead you anywhere. But making something good out of your envy can.
Over time, I’ve found some steps how you can turn your envy into a strength:
1. Observe from a distance
Look at what they are doing and how it’s different from your methods. Try to reverse-engineer their methods.
You may or may not be able to emulate their success. But it will definitely be a learning experience.
2. Dissect their success
Read the posts of the people who fill you with envy, and try to analyze their pattern. What about it can you emulate and incorporate in your own writing.
- How many projects per month do they complete?
- How do they structure their articles?
- How active are they on social media platforms?
- How are they building their personal brand?
As an old Cherokee fable goes, there are two wolves inside each of us. One is evil — anger, envy, greed, and arrogance. The other is good — peace, love, hope, and humility. The two wolves are constantly engaged in a ferocious fight.
Which wolf will win?
The one you feed.
Don’t feed your envy. Turn it into something positive instead.
Final Thoughts: When Are You Ready?
It’s not easy to quit a job for something that might soar over the moon one day and go up in flames the next.
The future is uncertain and the plunge is not easy.
I’ve been pondering over quitting my job since September 2020, and it took me ONE YEAR to finally achieve the “self-employed” status. In closing, I want to discuss the FOUR most important questions that changed my perspective and will help you if you’ve been thinking of pursuing your passion for a living.
1. Do I depend only on one income source?
I currently have FIVE income streams as a freelance writer. That way, even if one dries up, I can still rely on the rest until I figure out a way to rebuild what I’ve lost.
2. Do I have an emergency fund?
To quit your cushy job, make sure you have enough savings to see you through tough times.
3. Do I have something to make my heart happy?
For most people, pursuing their passion means turning their hobby into a full-time job. But if you put pressure on your creativity to make money, it stops being enjoyable.
Make sure you have enough other hobbies so you can continue having fun while also not worrying about the $$$.
4. Am I passionate enough to keep going?
No matter how much you earn, the first few months as a self-employed person are going to be hard. To overcome all that and keep going, you have to be passionate enough to not let these hardships bother you.
“At the end, someone or something always gives up. It is either you give up and quit, or the obstacle gives up and makes way for your success to come through.” — Idowu Koyenikan
The question is: are you resolute enough to not give up first?
If you’ve ever dreamed of being a full-time writer, there cannot be a better time than NOW to start! To help people become highly-paid writers, I’ve put together a FREE course. Join the course today!