I’ve realised I’ve been looking at this the wrong way. The reasons I came up with in my previous post why I shouldn’t go freelance now, are maybe just things I need to address before I can go freelance. So all I need is a plan to overcome them.
I’m thinking this because I looked at b2b jobs and, ugh. I just didn’t see anything I at all wanted to do. Some of them were terrifying: imagine spending your whole time on the phone to energy traders, desperately trying to get someone to tell you something no-one else knows so you can get it online twenty minutes before everyone else. That’s a part of journalism I don’t want to be in.
Of course, there are magazines I could much more happily work for: Marketing and PR magazines, for example. But I don’t think those jobs are easy to get, and I don’t see any right now. I applied for one amazing tech journalism job, but I don’t think I have a chance.
But what’s more: I simply don’t want to be a business journalist. I never have done. I’m only doing this job because I needed a way into journalism. If I take another business journalism job, I’m branding myself.
My fundamental worries about freelancing are about my ability to get stories. But, let’s be honest, I can either do that or I can’t, and if I can’t, I’m not going to be a journalist no matter how well I write. I need to dive in, I think, and sink or swim. One more year working full-time on business journalism isn’t going to help me make contacts. If I want to write news, I need time to go out and get news.
The flipside, of course, is that I really, really need to leave this job. So I need a plan, which overcomes the obstacles i mentioned before, and gets me out of here, fairly quickly, without going bankrupt.
1. Start driving lessons. Use the fact that I have a proper salary right now to get this done, then it’s done. If I start at the start of July – June is looking too busy – I can be done by late September.
2. Keep blogging, and try to start reaching out to sources to beef up your blog posts, and promoting it to build an audience. All this will be incredibly helpful in giving me credibility when I start writing proper features.
3. Go to as many networking things as I can. I’ve avoided these things like the plague, but I have to start advertising myself. I’ve had some business cards made!
4. Start looking for a flat. That way you can get the mortgage side of things dealt with by September. So basically in July and August saturdays are going to be driving lessons and flat viewings, and Sundays are going to be blogging.
5. Earn extra money, and put it aside to use as a cushion when I first go freelance. Do this by:
6. Getting any, any freelance writing or editing work you can. Amazingly, I’ve started with this – I’ve just signed a contract, thanks to a friend of mine who connected me, to write tech and digi news for a website. It’s total drivel, I’ll do 20 minutes a day for 100 Euros a week, but that comes to about £350 a month before tax which I can slap straight into a savings account. (I suppose I’ll have to sort out the tax myself though, which is morbid).
By September, I can have a driving license, some income, some savings, and some contacts. Then I’ll just have to take the plunge.