If I hear one more freelance writer whining about how she can’t find freelance gigs, I’m going to scream.
I’m like anyone else. There are times when I’m likely to sit around hoping for a new opportunity to knock me over the head. Fact of the matter is, though, I’ve come to the place in my life and career where I realize something: opportunities aren’t discovered, they are created.
I understand what it feels like to be destitute. When I lost my job in Information Technology, I applied to every position in the field within 100 miles. After six months of unsuccessful searching, I realized a couple of things:
- My state’s economy was in the tank, and my little part of the state was worse off than much of the rest of the state.
- Being out of work for 6 months in my field was like being out of work for six years. My skills were becoming dated, and even recruiters in growing areas didn’t give my resume a second look.
What do you do when you find yourself in a situation like that? I’ll tell you what I did. I tucked my tail between my legs. I wallowed in self-pity. I complained to anyone that would listen about the horrible turn of events I’d just been through. I blamed my situation on my old boss, the governor and anyone else I could think of.
One May morning, I looked in the mirror and realized I didn’t particularly like what I was seeing. I saw a man will all sorts of potential (so I’d been told as a small boy) with no hope and no prospect for hope.
But, then, it hit me: This is completely stupid. If I wanted to make something of myself, if I wanted to be a success, I needed to make it happen. No one was going to do it for me. No company was going to return my calls. Truthfully, I had little or no desire to go back to Network Administration anyways.
If I was going to be a success, I’d have to do it myself. I’d have to make my own opportunities. So, I enrolled in a Master’s program at Central Michigan University and started writing web content on the side. When my clients ran out of work for me to do, I found new ones.
Fast-forward five years. Today, I’m a successful freelance writer. I have more work than I can do most days, and I’m providing a comfortable living for my family. I’m working every day toward writing more for me and less for others, and it’s coming. My brand is becoming more and more defined with every post I write, and it’s proving to be. In another 12 months or so, my various Internet writing endeavors should be entirely my own.
Did I get here because I’m an especially gifted writer? Nope. I’m toward the high end of average when it comes to Internet writing. There are a heck of a lot of folks better at it than I am.
So, how did I get here? How did I become a successful freelance writer?
The Violent Truth Of Opportunity
I’ve told you already, and even if I hadn’t, some part of you knows it: opportunities aren’t discovered, they are created. It’s nothing new, but it is revolutionary. In fact, it can be life-changing if you let it. See, it’s another violent truth: Opportunities aren’t discovered; they are created.
It all boils down to taking action. When your freelance work dries up, get your ass in gear and get some more. When your #1 client goes under, find three more to replace him. When no one else will pay you to write for them, write your own stuff. Start a blog. Experiment with paid article directories. Finish your novel, and send it to a publisher. When they reject it (and they will, at least the first time, I promise you) send it to the next publisher, and then the next, and then the next. If they won’t pick it up, self-publish.
Can you get help along the way? Of course. My first (and biggest) web content client essentially coached me through the process of web content writing. I read books, blogs, message boards and anything else I could get my hands on. I used every tool I could find. I learned sales from Zig Ziglar, people skills from Dale Carnegie, marketing ideas from Seth Godin, and blogging from Darren Rowse.
I put as much sweat equity into learning the trade as I did into actually doing it, at least in those early days. And, when I ran out of opportunities I went out and created more.
The freelance life isn’t for the weak, it isn’t for the unmotivated and it isn’t for those who aren’t willing to make their own opportunities. If you can’t or won’t make your own opportunities, you may as well go back to your cubicle. But, if you can look in the mirror every morning and say, ‘I’m going to make things happen for me today‘, you’ve got a good shot at freelance success.
Why This Truth Is A Violent Truth
At Freelance Folder, I write about Violent Truths. What is a violent truth? Simply put, it is truth with power. It is truth that has power enough to shatter false idols and myths, but it is also truth that has the power to reconstruct reality around itself.
The truth of opportunity is violent because embracing it can smash your discouraged and defeated attitude and transform it into a true hunger to make your own way as a freelance writer.
About the author: Bob Younce is a full-time Internet writer and writing mentor living in Linwood, Michigan. He is dedicated to helping Internet writers to achieve their dreams. Visit Bob at The Writing Journey or follow him on Twitter.