Does the idea of quitting your job to become a freelance writer make you feel a bit nervous? Does it have you asking yourself, “How can I quit my job and survive?” Understandable. Here’s how you can make the move without making a death-defying leap into thin air.
My sweat-filled sneakers hung over the edge of the pole by an inch on either side…
I want to tell you a story about one of the most terrifying experiences I’ve ever had.
It happened in the redwood forest in northern California.
I was there as part of this personal development course, and it was early on an April morning. We were SHIVERING – and not just because the air was still chilly.
Right in front of me was a ladder, leaned up against a redwood pole higher than a telephone pole. The ladder only went up about 12 feet.
Then there was a series of black steel spikes sticking out of either side of the pole.
My heart’s actually pounding a little just telling you about it.
It felt like there was a tennis ball in my stomach, and my palms and pits were sweating while I waited for my turn, kind of hoping it wouldn’t come.
But it DID.
Here’s the process.
… You go up to the foot of the ladder.
… You talk for a moment with the team leader.
She asked, “What’s this about for you?”
I started in with, “I’m so scared. I’m really out of shape and I don’t know if I can even get up there – and what if my shoe slips or I fall?” I’d started crying from nerves, and was shaking too hard to wipe my eyes.
Grabbing my shoulders, Patricia looked me square in the face and said, “No, what does climbing this pole and jumping to reach that trapeze represent for you?”
Yeah. She said JUMPING.
The idea was that having a physical experience of breaking through fear as you go for a goal would imprint on my GUTS and stick with me forever.
I hoped that was all that would happen to my guts that day.
I told her – and the rest of the group – that this was all about winning the freedom I’d have by building my writing business enough that I’d never worry about providing for my family again.
Then I turned and faced the ladder while she buckled me into the safety harness. I took some ragged breaths and did NOT look up.
I turned back around and said, “I am Susan, and I choose IN for this experience.”
Goofy sounding, right? But it was what we were told to say – IN or out.
My hands grabbed the ladder rung at eye level, and I started to climb.
By the time I reached the end of the ladder, my breathing was heavy from the exertion, too…
I started talking to myself.
…OK really more like drill sargeant-style yelling.
Something about quitting all this blubbering and getting my ass up that pole. I was pretty much playing Richard Gere AND Louis Gosset, Jr. all in one.
“I got nowhere else to GO!”
The group on the ground was cheering me on, but I could barely hear them as I reached the last rung.
Hadn’t seen this next challenge coming. If you’ve ever tried to climb onto the top of a kitchen stool with nothing to hold onto, you know what I mean (and you’ve got some weird hobbies!).
This seemed logically impossible and I lingered up there forever trying to figure out how to get on top of that pole…
… all the while, getting more and more exhausted from fear.
Honestly, I don’t remember HOW I got into a position where my feet were both on top of the terrifyingly narrow pole. But I did it.
Then to turn 180 degrees around to face the trapeze that was suspended from a nearby redwood.
My feet hung over the edges of the pole on all sides.
I started to feel a surge of courage because, honestly, it felt like the hardest part was done.
Nowhere to go but down, right?
The sun peeked through the trees a bit as I rotated around. Dried tears mingled with sweat and my face was smudged with the combination. It got silent up there.
“FREEDOM!” I yelled – all Braveheart Mel Gibson-like.
I flung myself into empty air, fingertips reaching for the trapeze hanging what felt like a mile away.
The palms of my hands smacked hard onto the bar… I’d made it.
They lowered me down, hugged me, and said I’d done great. That’s when the real shaking started, as the adrenaline flooded my body.
Incredible, right? It was 9 years ago, and I still get chills remembering it.
Feel like you’re taking a flying leap as you contemplate quitting your job to get paid to write?
Starting your writing business might feel a lot like that pole. You might be asking yourself, “How can I quit my job and survive?” You’ve got bills to pay, people relying on you, and probably enjoy eating a meal and living indoors.
For a lot of freelance writers just getting started, it’s the same. Maybe you’ve got a steady-ish job – maybe not one you love, but you do get PAID every 15th and 30th.
Getting to work from anywhere, on your own schedule, with no commute… getting to be home with your kids… getting to build a business of your own instead of working hard to make someone else rich…
That’s that trapeze, that glimpse of heaven. But leaping across that gap seems DANGEROUS… and it probably is, if you’re the breadwinner in your home.
Starting your writing business doesn’t have to be dangerous.
Can I tell you something that might dissolve the fear you might feel?
You DON’T have to jump… you can build a solid bridge instead.
I’ve seen and helped a lot of writers go from nothing to having a thriving writing business – the kind that can support a whole family… the kind thatmight enable you to quit your day job.
Many of them built their writing businesses on the side, writing on weekends and after work, building gradually. They built portfolios, learned how to write the projects their clients ordered, and started getting paid… GRADUALLY.
It wasn’t like a flying leap or some earth-shattering overnight change.Instead of feeling like they took a scary jump off a tall pole, it was the kind of transformation that feels safe and SANE.
Some transitions in life are dramatic and demand every ounce of courage you can muster…
How Can I Quit My Job and Survive?
Getting your writing business going doesn’t have to feel like the riskiest move you could ever make in life. You can build with your feet firmly planted in safety.
===> This might help you get started.