Last year I clearly remember reading blogs from successful freelancers. Many blogs, many freelancers. They had pictures attached to their blogs. A picture of an oceanfront, a rain forest, some even had pictures of themselves surfing waves.
Oh how I loved their pictures. Oh how jealous I was. So jealous. I wanna be there. I want to be in a rain forest with monkeys, I want to be sipping margaritas by the ocean. (I’ll pass on the surfing though. I couldn’t swim to save anyone’s life let alone my own.) I so desperately wanted to be one of those freelancers writing stories from exotic locations around the world.
I read their stories for over a year. They were interesting. There was no scientific formula, no Rubik’s cube to solve. They all managed to get there in their own ways. The more I read, the more I realized that I could do this too.
Why couldn’t I? Why can’t everybody? After one full year of reading success stories it was time for me to take some serious action so that I could be the next freelancer on the block writing stories from who knows where. I had no location in mind at the time, really. I didn’t even have a plan. All I had was a fierce determination and a never fail attitude. That was good enough for me to get started.
Perhaps you should know a little about me so you don’t think I’m some hot shot from Canada that had things handed to her and life was easy. Au contraire. I struggled financially and personally most of my life.
In and out of jobs, in and out of relationships, owned a hair salon that closed after 3 years and left me declaring bankruptcy (this, I might add, happened very recently, like 2012 recently). Left an abusive relationship in 2013 that left me broke, homeless and scrambling to survive. Nope, it hasn’t been easy, but remember I’m a warrior.
Up until July 2015 I was a full time hairstylist and have been for the last 20 something years. A profession I could always fall back on when my other ventures went to shit. Hairstyling takes its toll on even the fittest of people. At 52 years old I had received my first, and last, cortisone shot for shoulder pain caused by my job. I had had enough. I was not going to be a pin cushion for the rest of my life just to work to pay bills to survive. No thanks.
I’m a writer. I’ve always been a writer. Daily diaries, journaling, letters to ex boyfriends behaving badly and eventually a newsletter and a blog. Yes I could write. Time to kick this into high gear, make money doing this, hang up my shears and go sip margaritas by the ocean. Here’s my formula and trust me, it’s not rocket science. So keep in mind this formula is for freelance writers but it applies to any freelancer or entrepreneur at all really. It’s about you, your passion and your gift.
1. Write and connect with as many freelancers as you can.
Be prepared to work for free in the beginning. For about 4 months or so I worked for free and I still submit guest articles. Expect to put in long hours each day while you’re working on making your dream come true. Work on perfecting your craft so the big guys will take notice. I got a whack of no’s. I have pages and pages in my binder of no’s. Don’t give up. Remember fierce determination.
2. Social media is your best friend. Really it is.
Use it. Reach out to many site and page owners to get attention. Jump up and down and wave your arms in the air if you have to get noticed. Like pages, comment on blogs, tweet, update, chirp, twerk, good grief, you name it, just do it. Someone will notice you and see how awesome you are. Period.
3. Remind yourself daily how awesome and successful you are.
Positive self-talk is crucial. You might not be there yet but your brain doesn’t know the difference. Keep telling it how awesome you are. Your brain will believe whatever you tell it. Tell your brain, every single day, that you are an awesome writer (or whatever it is you are awesome at) and tell your brain that you are sought out by all the big guns. You tell your brain whatever you have to but make sure it’s positive.
4. Set a time frame.
Mark a date on your calendar. Make it bold and scary. Don’t be too lenient. If you want something in 6 months, then set that date. My goal was scary. There was no way no how I was going to spend another winter in Northern Ontario Canada. The clock was ticking and I had to move fast, work hard and push full steam ahead. Expect to do that. Prepare for hard work.
I am writing this article on my laptop from my balcony in Guatemala. When I look up I can see three volcanoes and one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, Lake Atitlan. My apartment costs me $300/mth (Cdn) everything included and I’m totally loving this life. I’m not telling you this to brag or make you jealous. I am telling you this because if I can do it, so can you.
A round of margaritas for everyone!