Blog, Business, Career, Entrepreneur, Freelance Writing, Writing

The One Where I Decided To Start My Own Business

The moment I realized I needed to start my own business, I was sitting on my bed trying to figure out what to do after grad school. My husband was on his tablet and I on my laptop. We were staring at our electronic devices, not talking. Outside a drunk couple was arguing on the street about who drank the last of their Monarch vodka. This was our normal.

It was late December of 2016, around 10 p.m. In two semesters my graduate degree would be complete, and I planned on taking a well-deserved break from academia. I was ready to live my life without worrying about FAFSA paperwork and deadlines for assignments. I had started working as a part-time freelance writer back in 2012, and was ready for more. I realized that if I wanted to fulfill my goals of 1) becoming a published author and 2) paying off my student loans before pursuing my PhD, I needed a change.

If I wanted to meet both of these goals I needed to diversify my income, and to do that I needed to turn my writing career from amateur to pro. I realized that my regular 9-5 would only allow for one of my goals to be met. Relying solely on traditional employment would not fit my life. Instead it was slowly robbing me of two precious and finite resources – energy and time. I had an existential crisis. I wanted to spend time doing the things that I was passionate about. I wanted to continue entertaining and educating people with my craft. I wanted to spend time with my husband and family. I wanted to be who I have always been – a writer and an artist.

I decided to take my writing career to the next levelPredictably, I freaked the f— out. I have anxiety disorder. I can’t make life-altering decisions without paying psychological dues. The idea of starting my own business as a “serious” writer was both frightening and intimidating. Yet, I persisted. I knew that if I gave up writing or bailed on entrepreneurship, I would be miserable.

I started consistently pitching stories to my then editor, John Arrono, and actively seeking gigs. Before I knew it, I was getting articles picked up, and even landed an assignment reporting on gentrification and eminent domain for Alaska Commons. I was writing and creating, but on my own terms. A year prior, I would have written the whole thing off as a pipe dream. I began branching out and breathing new life into old drafts of short stories, novellas, and full-length novels. I started enjoying myself again. Then, Alaska Commons folded up shop, but not before leaving me with a wealth of contacts and eight polished articles to create my first professional portfolio.

I didn’t want to give up the one-on-one relationship I had built with readers through my years of blogging. I still wanted to write about the things I am passionate about. I wanted to write stories that people could connect to and share posts that both educated and inspired. I needed to write about the world in a way that fit the shape of my life.I built this website with that in mind along with the goal of creating an online resume. My goal is to share my experiences as a working freelance writer and independent artist in order to educate and inspire others. You can start your own business and be a successful artist and writer. Social media has opened so many opportunities for creative folk to have successful careers as writers and artisans, but knowing where to start can be overwhelming.

Which is why you have me to show you the way :-).

-RJK

 

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