Happy early Independence Day…
I could go with a historical and social analysis of the whole Fourth of July celebration here in the States, and probably suck the fun out of this whole issue.
But instead of doing that, I’m sharing an article I wrote for AWAI in 2011, about a year after I’d declared my own independence from the tyranny of bosses and jobs.
I’ve been incredibly fortunate and grateful to have succeeded now for more than eight years outside of traditional employment, and this is how it started.
If it’s the path for you, you may benefit from the steps laid out below.
I’m taking tomorrow off to be with my family for the holiday, and I’ll be back Thursday. There’s a lot on the works here…
Your Personal Independence Day
By Roy Furr
February 15th, 2010, will always rank right up there with my birthday, the day I got married, and my children’s birthdays as one of the most important days of my life.
That’s because it’s the day I went out on my own in my copywriting business.
It’s the day I wriggled out from under the heavy hand of a boss and J-O-B – to never work for anyone else for the rest of my life!
It’s my “Personal Independence Day.”
And while I can talk to you about all the virtues of having your own personal holiday (of which there are many!), I really want to provide a helpful lesson in this article.
And that lesson is the power of setting a date for yourself.
Setting a Date is Crucial to Your Success
You see, before I went out on my own, I spent a lot of time dreaming about becoming a freelance copywriter. I went through all the motions that I’d convinced myself would be necessary to set up my eventual success:
— I read all the books and programs.
— I started writing regularly, and even getting clients in my spare time.
— I dreamed and dreamed of what my life would be like “someday.”
But all these things seemed to do was breed discontent. You see, while I dreamed, I wasn’t achieving. My dreams kept growing, but my achievements didn’t follow suit.
Maybe you’re in a situation where you feel much the same way.
Yet when I actually set a date in my mind after which I would be a freelance copywriter, I got my tail in motion. I turned all these vague thoughts and dreams about how I’d like my life to be into specific things I needed to do to make my dreams reality.
And what happened? I ended up achieving my dream two full weeks prior to the initial date I’d set! In late December 2009, I decided it would be by March 1st, 2010, that I’d be out on my own. What really happened is that due to a flood of new projects, I was forced to quit my job early and set February 15th in stone as my “Personal Independence Day.”
Why Setting a Date Works So Well
“Great, Roy,” you may think, “setting a date worked for you. But it’s not going to work for me because … ”
I’ll stop you there.
It will work for you. And here’s why: Setting a date forces you to take action.
If you make excuses instead of setting a date, you’re just letting all those doubts and so-called reasons you’ll fail fester and grow. But when you set a date after which you’re going to go out on your own, you’ll face those doubts head on.
You’ll solve what needs to be solved.
You’ll ignore what needs to be ignored.
And you’ll move forward, day by day, until you achieve the success of going out on your own. Our human will has a stunning way of making things happen when given a deadline.
Just take a look back at your own life at some of the deadlines you’ve done whatever it took to meet. For me, they were:
— College term papers due the next day led me to staying up all night to get them done – and getting A’s for my midnight work.
— Product launches the boss wanted out yesterday led to me writing long product descriptions, editing, posting them to the website, writing and sending a launch email, and a thousand other little tasks – all in 4 hours.
— Needing to pay bills led me to taking more hours at work, working tired, taking on additional projects, and busting my butt to scrounge up the extra cash it would take before the bill came due.
And that’s just a quick sampling. When you tell your mind something needs to be done, and it needs to be done by a certain date, your mind will usually find a way to make it happen.
When You Set Your Date … Everything Else Lines Up
My own personal story is a good example of how everything else lines up once you set your date.
You see, when I set my Personal Independence Day in December of 2009, I thought I’d need a couple of months to get everything in order. That’s why I’d originally planned for March 1st.
Yes, I’d already learned a lot about copywriting. Yes, I’d had a few clients already. Yes, I’d already set up my business legal structure.
But I was a little short on cash to pay the bills I’d need to cover in my first few months, and I didn’t yet have a steady stream of projects. (How could I book projects when I didn’t know when I’d be able to do them?) I knew I needed this time to get all these things in order.
So I gave myself two months – and immediately proceeded to tell everyone I could think of about my coming “Personal Independence Day.” Peers, clients, potential clients, friends, and so on. I told them I was looking for projects, and if they knew anyone, they should send them my way.
Almost instantly I was getting requests. Not just “when you’re available” requests – but “can you do this now?” requests. And because I still wanted to build more financial cushion, I said yes. I started doing work early in the morning, late at night, and on the weekends. But even this was not enough. Soon I was booking my schedule well into March and April.
The momentum built and built. The missing pieces were coming together. Doubts and reasons it wouldn’t work were erased.
And by the end of January, I realized I’d given myself too much time. That I needed to get started earlier.
That’s when I revised my date to February 15th … The day that’s become my “Personal Independence Day.”
Yet without setting this date, I don’t know if I’d be a freelancer today. After all, it was the process of setting the date that put everything else in motion. If I hadn’t set the date, it wouldn’t have happened on February 15th, or March 1st, or possibly any day since.
How To Set Your Personal Independence Day
Okay, so you know what a Personal Independence Day is. If you’re still reading, perhaps you’re convinced not only that you should set one, but that it could be the most powerful thing in moving you forward to working for yourself.
But how do you set your date?
Well, there are a lot of considerations … Not the least of which are:
— Are you mentally prepared to be a freelancer?
— Do you have the basic knowledge you need to write good copy?
— Do you know how to sell your services and keep clients happy?
— Can you financially afford to make the leap?
— How much time do you need to get all these things in order?
The good news is, you can probably make it all happen quite a bit sooner than you think. It just takes some planning time and some dedicated effort. And if you’re serious about becoming a freelance copywriter … and building a thriving copywriting business … it’s time and effort you should take today!
This article appears courtesy of American Writers & Artists Inc. (AWAI). For a complimentary subscription to AWAI’s free newsletter that delivers original, no-nonsense advice on the best wealth careers, lifestyle careers and work-at-home careers available, visit http://www.awaionline.com/signup/.
If you want to launch a full-time freelance copywriting career…
And you still have a bunch of unanswered questions about how you’re going to make it work…
You’ll find many of the most important answers in my book The Copywriters Guide to Getting Paid.
When I get complaints about the book, they generally fall along the lines of, “You don’t talk about how to set up accounts receivable,” and other nonsense that really doesn’t matter in the context of how to make a good living as a copywriter.
I’m talking about getting paid in the colloquial sense, not literal.
From people that get THAT basic concept — that this is about the PRINCIPLES behind making a good living — here’s the feedback I get:
“I bought this guide and consumed it in one sitting. It was just what I needed to position an irresistible offer to pitch a big hitter in an industry I’ve never written for. I’m confident I’ll be able to receive higher fees now that I see how Roy does it. Well worth the few bucks in order? to see the math to make $1Million from one sales letter.” — Eric Bakey
“Let the headline speak for itself. Most copywriting courses will teach you everything you need to know how to become an amazing copywriter but few to none will teach you how to get that first client. This book is a great solution to that problem. Make the $5-10 investment into this book and you won’t be sorry.” — Amazon customer
“Roy cuts to the chase and tells the real truth about what it takes to succeed as a copywriter. His advice may not be what you want to hear but it sure is what everyone who considers writing professionally should hear…if you want to succeed.” — Keith Duncan
“No fluff just the facts to help a person succeed.” — George Walker
“First MONEYMAKING book for wannabe Copywriters…. Fantastic clues, if not direct info…! Not so much on the components of masterful copywriting as much as master MONEY EARNING!” — Barry Sindlinger
“Every Aspiring Copywriter Should Read This Book. I landed my first client seven days after reading Roy’s book. And if you do what Roy says, you can easily do the same. Needless to say, this is a must have book for any copywriter who wants to get their first client or land better, higher paying clients.” — Tjark H.
“ A 6-figure Gem for $7… that’s exactly how I feel. I’ve been a website copywriter for the past 2 years and I couldn’t stop saying ‘Why the heck didn’t I think of this’ or ‘Ohh yeah, I’m ready to rock and roll now’. If you even THINK you need this book, grab it now! You won’t be disappointed, I definitely wasn’t.” — Amazon customer
“A straight-forward conversation that gets to the point. In this book Roy, is not only talking about his experience…he is giving you practical advice and strategies you can readily use. You read this book and you will find out immediately that this is not just a one-time good reading…but a useful reference to keep close and handy.” — Rivera
“This is a great little book (just 67 pages) that offers practical advice for writers just starting out… and writers with experience who want to move upstream (or down funnel). There are a lot of books on the business of writing, most not worth the paper they’re printed on, but a few that should be read. This is one of the latter.” — Robert Marsh
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,