I just left my 6-figure day job to become a full-time freelance writer. Here's how I planned for such a massive career change.
- At the end of 2019, Wendy Fox left her six-figure job in senior leadership at a tech company.
- She decided to take the plunge to become a full-time freelancer and author, having already published three books while she held a day job.
- To make it work, she timed the choice carefully and met with a financial planner to see what her needs would be.
- She treats her writing like a startup, currently seeing herself as well-positioned but bootstrapped - and she's realistic about what she needs to make it work.
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I always wanted to be a writer, but, for much of my working life, I didn't want to try and make a living as a writer. Even a decade and a half ago, when I was finishing graduate school - I have a Master of Fine Arts in writing - earning money in the writing life was bleak. These days, most freelancers can only expect to earn about $10,000 to $20,000 a year. One 2018 survey of 1,300 freelance writers found that almost 60% of them made less than $20,000 in gross revenue.Book publishing is not necessarily more lucrative. The average advance for an author is somewhere in the $15,000 range for a fiction book, and more like $20,000 for a nonfiction book.
Courtesy of Wendy Fox
Yet, despite being very aware of what I was getting into, near the end of 2019 I left a six-figure, senior leadership role at a growing tech company to take the plunge as a freelancer and author.While I'm at the beginning of this journey, here's how I planned for it and what I've learned so far.
I did some real soul searching
I understood that timing is everything
I worked with a financial planner
I treated my career like a startup
I was realistic about what I needed
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