There’s that one poem by that one (and sometimes only) poet everyone knows, Robert Frost, about the road not taken. You know the one. It’s called “The Road Not Taken”. It ends like this:
“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
It’s probably one of the most often-quoted poems out there, and with good reason. Besides the fact that Frost was a poet and poets are always cool (wink, wink), he also apparently knew what it meant to stand at a crossroads and make a big decision.
Kind of like many freelancers.
Whether you’ve got a creative side hustle or a full-time job as a freelancer, you’ve probably been confronted with a big decision: to quit or not to quit? It’s an important decision to take seriously. But if you know you have what it takes to forge your own path and start your own business, you probably also know that freelancing is a narrow path.
And there’s no room for baggage on the narrow path.
Taking the narrow path means you face more pressure on either side. When you’ve got more pressure on either side, you don’t have as much room for baggage. It just gets in the way and hinders your progress.
Some of the baggage you may have as a freelance writer could include:
- Fear of what others think
- Fear of lacking financial security, health insurance, or benefits
- Fear of isolation
- Expectations of a certain schedule or way of life
- Focusing on competition
- Comparisons to other freelancers and solopreneurs
- Fear of the unknown
They’re legitimate fears, and I still struggle with some of them, too. But as my wise husband has told me more than once, nothing truly worth it is ever easy. (I know, I know. It’s a cliche. But sometimes they work!)
So what can we do to simplify?
- Determine your main business goal(s)
- Start small and tackle one chunk at a time
- Eliminate excess (i.e., email, junk mail, too much social media, etc.)
- Set a schedule that works for YOU
- Stop comparing your progress to others’ progress
- Find a good online community
The good news? The narrow path is also more interesting because fewer people have gone that way. Taking control of your career and your schedule will allow you the freedom and creativity that will make your efforts completely worthwhile.