I was let go from my job on Monday of the week just gone. I wasn’t entirely expecting it but I wasn’t entirely NOT expecting it either. I was taken into the conference room as soon as I arrived into work (my first day back after 2 weeks off sick due to stress and depression surrounding my ex-husband’s marriage). The boss explained to me some of their reasons. My work wasn’t quite up to scratch. I hadn’t gelled with the team well enough. Stuff like that. I was told I could get my things and go straight away if I liked. Luckily, they are paying me for a month and giving me some redundancy money as well, which will keep me going for just over a couple of months.
First of all I was in shock. How could this happen to me again? What is wrong with me that I can’t hold down a job – even one that I actually quite liked? But it didn’t take long before I made the decision that I needed to do something different. I wouldn’t be going into another office job that I either hated or just didn’t care for that much. I’ve done a lot of thinking and researching this week and first of all, I had the idea to become a Virtual Assistant. I have a 15-18 year career in Administration, which would see me in good stead and I have always wanted to work for myself, make up my own hours, be around for the kids after school. I went as far as setting up my profile on a site called People Per Hour. I put quite a lot of effort into this, including recording a video for my profile. I applied for about 15 VA (Virtual Assistant) roles through there and got as far as having one interview and another email showing interest in my profile. I researched the industry and googled what it took to be a good VA. I was pretty much sold. I knew I really wanted to write but thought this would be an easier way to earn money while working from home while I figured out how to earn money from writing. I sent a Facebook message to the owner of a site called The VA Handbook. I was open about my reasons for wanting to become a VA and admitted that my true passion was writing and it was her reply that really hit a chord with me and made me realise that I’ve just been making excuses and putting off getting serious about what I really love to do and would love to do as a job. Writing. This is an abridged version of what she said to me – the bits that really struck me:
I think if your dream is to write then you should put 100% into being a freelance writer and not a VA. The set up process is the same and there is no reason why you can’t be successful….. If (VA) is not what you want to do then I don’t think you should do it. I think you should fully commit to making writing a success. Put everything you know into becoming a successful blogger/writer and you’ll get there. Being a freelancer is hard work – so whether you decide to be a VA or a writer, its the same. Just one is what you want to do and the other one doesn’t inspire you. Go be a writer.
I suddenly realised that she was right. I don’t want to be a PA (virtual or otherwise), anymore than I want to be a data analyst, a sales administrator or a project co-ordinator. I want to be a writer. I am a writer. I have been writing Mum in a Hurry for 4 years now and, while there have been times when I haven’t written, when time and life has got away from me, it has always been what I love. I would rather take a risk and find out if I have it in me to be a professional writer.
I have been doing my research and have gone on various freelance writing websites, downloaded free e-books, bought one by Jeff Goins called You Are A Writer (So Start Acting Like One), which I finished in two days and found very inspiring, interesting and useful. I am currently looking at a Freelance Journalism Course which I am seriously considering doing. I know this path won’t be an easy one.
I will be hard up – at least for a while, but maybe for the foreseeable future, but what is the point in having money but being miserable – jumping from one job to the next because I don’t enjoy it and can’t make it work. I have been looking at my finances and seeing where I can make cuts, services I can cancel, areas I can make savings. I know I can do it if I set my mind to it. Tomorrow I’m going to the Citizens Advice Bureau to discuss with them any benefits I might be able to get. I have never claimed benefits (other than Child Benefit) in my life. I appreciate that I will probably need to temp or work part time while I try to make this work.
But I have to decide. Make a leap. Trust my gut. I feel like if I don’t go for it now, I may never have the opportunity again.
I am a writer. It’s high-time I started acting like one.