What’s the Plan?

July 26, 2008

Matt writes,

“I was just a little curious about the logistics behind your move… You said you got the accounting job to pay the bills; I’m assuming you still have bills so have you saved up to get you through the rougher times? or created some sort of passive income, or just jumping in with both feet?

I’ve been tossing around the same idea, although I seem to get hung up on the logistics… I was just curious about how you’re approaching it, especially since it sounds like you’re probably just at the point of planning this all out… How long have you been working as an accountant?

Well thanks and good luck.”

I’ve been working as an accountant for about a year, and I definitely still have bills. My savings buffer is modest, and labeled “for emergencies only”. Step one in my plan is to transition my full-time accounting job into a flex-time accounting job. I need the support of my employer for this, and to get it, I have been concentrating on improving my work efficiency for the past two months. The boss has noticed, and he’s very happy with me. On the writing side, the first step is building my portfolio with pro bono projects. I am in the process of building a contact list of non-profit organizations in my area, and I will be calling all of them within the next month and offering my services as a volunteer writer. I have to write in my spare time for now. The purpose of the flex schedule is to wrangle a little more of that.

My next step will be to pursue paid writing work, and reduce my day job to part time. That works if (1) I build up my new writing business enough to fill the income gap, and (2) I can really fit my essential tasks into significantly fewer hours per week. I like the place I work, I’m just not an accountant. I’m considering suggesting that my boss hire an intern or lower wage part-timer to handle my clerical tasks. I’d be surprised if he didn’t at least hear me out on the subject of paying someone less than he pays me to get the little stuff out of the way when I’m not there.

Finally, I’ll announce that I’m changing careers, and will be available for another month or so to train my replacement. I may pick up temp work through an agency if my freelance income stream does not support me completely, but only for as long as I have to.

A lot of this plan comes directly from The Well-Fed Writer by Peter Bowerman, and its sequel, Back for Seconds. I recommend taking a look at TWFW, and also http://www.freelanceswitch.com for perpetually helpful articles.

Good luck!

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