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Not quite ready to follow your passion?

Posted by Deidre Rienzo on


There’s been a lot of talking about passion projects on the blog lately.

In my inbox, I get messages from friends who work virtually from Bali or Brussels; those who have followed their wildest dreams are joyously living “unconventional” lives and making money too. I realize what a pipe dream these situations would have seemed like to me back in 2007 before I took the leap.

As much as I felt creatively stifled and craved the freedom of self-employment back then—I had a great job, a beautiful office, good benefits and perks. I could even walk to work! The idea of jumping into some loosey-goosey idea (just to follow my heart, of all things!) seemed downright stupid when I was in such a good-enough situation.

But finally the moment came. Where I could. It was my chance. My boyfriend (now husband) was living in Ireland and we wanted to be in the same place. I decided to quit my job, become self-employed, and move to Ireland. I hadn’t saved much money or even thought, in any great detail, about what I would do. I’ve always written—for work and for play—but I went with the safer route of “Virtual Marketing Assistant” because with my background as a marketing manager for large companies, surely I could pull that off. That turned into more writing for clients, until I was finally confident enough to call myself what I always wanted to be…a writer. And here I am. I’m so proud that this year, I finally reached my corporate salary from 2007, which felt entirely impossible at the beginning.

I hadn’t really prepared, but I did know Ilise Benun, which was more than enough. Man was I lucky.

I admire my clients…many of whom are making the jump without continent-shifting circumstances…many of whom have such confidence already…They know it’s going to work out—and it is. I always feel an extra boost of happiness and relief for them when I know that they know, or are working with, Ilise. I encourage everyone to sign up for her Quick Tips. (I know this may sound like a little bit of a gush about Ilise—and it probably is. And even though I know she’s squirming, I have to say it…because it’s true!)

In addition, if you are getting ready to take the leap, here’s my advice:

  • Use Freshbooks from your very first invoice
  • Figure out your process so you can explain it to clients
  • Ignore the “Am I good enough?” voices…
  • Find the people who need you (and there are people who need you)
  • Start gathering emails so you can eventually send a MailChimp newsletter (even if you’re not ready yet).
  • Talk money confidently with clients (this can help)
  • Don’t do something (like Facebook) just because everyone else is. Do what works for you! (That’s why I quit.)

For the semi-scaredy cats (like I was)—I know all the talk of passion projects can feel like a gut punch. You see others going for it while you don’t feel brave enough. I felt like it was for them—not for me. But it is for me. And it can be for you too. Save yourself time and the lack-of-confidence, and get Ilise on your side. You will get there faster, fiercer and with fewer wiggles along the way.

Hi, I’m Deidre. In my posts, I talk about my voyage down the road of self-employment as a web copywriter, my achievements and roadblocks along the way, and what I’m learning as I go (with Marketing Mentor as my guide). To keep in touch, sign up for my un-newsletter here

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