I was working as a technician for an ISP. I also wrote for a company newsletter, the technical support database, and a technical training manual while there. Some months after another company bought us out, we were all laid off. It was difficult to find another technology job, and nearly impossible to find one that paid a living wage.
I had been writing online and for a small magazine on the side in addition to my writing at work. When I got laid off, I got by on my retirement investments, savings and severance pay, and started proposing articles to consumer magazines, business magazines, trade publications, websites and online publications that I thought would pay. I was writing mostly about technology because of my previous work, which I had enjoyed. This eventually helped to establish me as an expert technology writer.
As time went by, I was more and more determined to make a living as a full-time freelance writer. I also had to pay the bills, and the longer I was off work, the harder it would be to be re-employed. The need for income, the desire to be my own guarantee of steady work, and all the pride and emotional rewards of business ownership kept me going. I’d say that there was definitely a strong push and pull going on, moving me in the direction of independent business success.
There are advantages and disadvantages to this way of life.
There are none. I have no regrets. I miss nothing about being an employee. Believe me, if there were any disadvantages, this would be my chance to share them with someone who might listen, and I’d gladly tell you.
Others may feel differently, complaining about:
Not me. I’m where I want to be and well on my way to more of the same.
Here are some more advantages:
The only difficult thing about my profession is that no matter how hard or long I work, or how established I get, some risk will always be there. But I assume, expect and accept that part of it, so I still have no complaints.
Here’s Some More Background and Tips to Help You Along.
Having a Web presence is an important part of self-marketing. My most recent Web design was outsourced to Pamela Sinclair, who did a wonderful job. I wrote the content and she provided an appealing, professional design. I’m very pleased.
I started out designing my own site, working from a template and design done by my friend, Carl Rief. I picked up skills and code from him, from others I had worked with at the ISP job, off the Web and by using Arachnophilia’s HTML (version 4) editor. All other tech knowledge I got from being a technician (DSL, routers, simple business networking, etc), from working on my home network and on friends’ computers, by reading and through personal interest.
find my site through Google, online business directories and the Open
Directory Project. Other sites have linked to my site. I proactively
contact people for work. As part of assessing my skills they often visit
my site, which is linked in my e-mail signature. People
find me through online articles or personal recommendations.
I have also been quoted in a few books on writing. Some of my articles
about writing have been used in college coursework as well. Others have
quoted me online or used my articles to promote their corporations.
Expect to learn more by doing than by anything else. If you start out knowing nothing about your new profession, you are just about guaranteed all the failure and humiliation that comes with not knowing what you’re doing. But if you persevere, you will learn, and you will succeed. You can’t really learn what you need to know to succeed except by failing time and again in the attempt.
© 2004-2006 David Geer and Geer Communications. http://www.GeerCom.com.
David Geer is a technology writer who specializes in print and Web magazine features, corporate writing and other copy. Clients include IEEE's Computer Magazine and other business, trade and consumer publications found online or at your local newsstand.
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