I’d like to welcome author Sara Morgan to Annette’s Paper Trail. Sara is on a blog tour for her recently released motivational business book, No Limits: How I Escaped the Clutches of Corporate America to Live the Self-Employed Life of My Dreams.
Refreshingly candid and honest, this career-minded guide helps professionals determine if self-employment is their ticket to a better life. Written by a successful, independent software developer, rather than a career coach or consultant, this straight-to-the-point book offers readers practical and useful advice for how to get started on their path to self-employment. It also informs the reader what the major benefits to self-employment are, along with identifying who is best suited for self-employment and what things these people will need to consider.
As someone who is highly allergic to cubicles, office politics, pantyhose, and sensible shoes, oh yeah, and has an incurable aversion to being told what to do, I knew I’d be able to relate to Sara’s book. This slim volume is a quick read and a perfect primer for office dwellers who dream of making a break for it and running out the corporate door. Sara shares her story and practical tips for taking that first step toward self-employment freedom.
I asked Sara some questions specifically for my writer-readers, so grab a cup of tea and read on…
What would you say are the top five traits a writer must have to be successfully self-employed?
Good question. I would have to say the number one trait is optimism. You have to believe in yourself, even when no one else does. You have to be able to take the inevitable rejections that occur to even the best writers, turn them around, and make them into opportunities. You can not do that if you are a pessimist and I really doubt anyone who is a chronic pessimist could succeed as a writer.
Beyond that, I would list the other traits as being passionate, creative, disciplined, and a finisher. If you are the type of person who always starts writing projects, but never finishes them, you will likely not succeed. Be honest with yourself on this one.
In No Limits, you mention an interesting study that was done about trusting instincts vs. rational thought. The study showed better, more accurate, decisions were made when participants relied on their instincts instead of using higher-level cognitive functions. Please tell us how you feel it relates to knowing when to launch into a fulltime writing career.
I think it especially relates to being a writer. Good writers who get recognized do not just follow blindly along with the flock, always taking the safe road. At times, you may have to write something that logically makes no sense, but that your instincts tell you is right. Listen to your instincts. That is the voice that truly knows best.
In the Good Advice chapter, you say: “Don’t be afraid to do something that has no immediate financial payback.” What do you mean by that?
In writing, this is especially true. Many well known writers spent years writing manuscripts that were never published or articles that were hardly read. These days a lot of writers spend time writing things that are posted for free, just to get exposure. That is ok, as long as you are refining your writing skills and getting your writing out in front of more people.
I’ve belonged to writing critique groups for years and I think they serve as a wonderful testing ground for new material. In No Limits, you talk about becoming a feedback machine. How can writers implement your concept?
It is natural to reject criticism. It is kind of a self-protective feature we are all equipped with. Sometimes this is good, but very often people offer criticism with the best of intentions. You need to develop a thick skin and not see the criticism as an attack, but rather an opportunity for improvement.
I know I struggle with finding a work/life balance. What tips do you have for other work-a-holic writers who find it hard to push away from the computer?
Remember that you are not doing anyone any favors by working too hard. In fact, you are probably just hurting yourself and your writing by stressing yourself out. It is not worth it. Work smarter, not harder.
You suggest to the newly self-employed: “Surround yourself with things that inspire you.” What inspires you?
Lots of things. Music is a big thing, but I also find inspiration from other people who have succeeded, despite big odds. I also love inspirational quotes and have them posted all around my house. You need to keep yourself energized any way you can.
I agree completely with a section in your book where you talk about how persistence pays off. I heard a quote once: “The only difference between a published writer and an unpublished writer is persistence.” Why do you think persistence is so important?
Because rejection is inevitable. There are just too many writers in the world for it not to be the case. The ones who become famous are ALWAYS the ones who kept writing, even when no one thought they should. Believe in yourself and eventually others will too.
Please share any final words of self-employment wisdom you feel writers should take to heart.
Just keep doing it, especially if you love it. What you need most in life is passion. Without passion, there is no purpose and without purpose, there is no hope. Hang in there. Stay strong and focused and strive to make each day the best of your life.
Readers: Post your questions for Sara in the comments section and share your thoughts. Have you taken the plunge to full-time writing? If not, are you making plans for your great escape?
Sara Morgan is a former web developer who escaped Corporate America four years ago and has never looked back. To inspire others, she recently wrote No Limits: How I Escaped the Clutches of Corporate America to Live the Self-Employed Life of My Dreams. You can find out more about Sara and her book by going to www.nolimitsthebook.com, or join her online community of like-minded people looking for a more balanced work life at http://nolimitsthebook.ning.com.
You can also register for a free upcoming teleseminar she is hosting. The teleseminar will offer freelancers and small business owners advice on what to watch out for when establishing a web presence. You can register for the event at http://www.nolimitsthebook.com/nolimits/teleseminar.aspx.