The way I approach most things in life is to gather as much information as possible. This seems like a sound method – the more information the better. Right? How can having more information hurt? Information is a good thing to have when you are getting started on a new endeavor. But, if you are anything like me, it is easy (and sometimes preferable) to get caught up in information gathering and never actually get started on your goal. You may have heard this described as ‘Analysis Paralysis.’
One element of analysis paralysis is getting hung up on ‘setting the stage.’ For example, you have a goal to start running but first you need to get new running shoes, purchase a step/exercise tracker, find the best couch-to-5k program, and download the top running app on the market. Once you have all of those things in place, you can finally get started on your goal to run more often.
Or, you could lace up the shoes you already own, head out your front door, and go for a run.
New running shoes, a fitness tracker, and a solid plan can all add to your potential for success. But if you never actually start running – because you lost motivation while preparing to start running – what’s the point?
It is better to get started with what you have than to keep putting off your goals. There will always be more information out there. There will always be another ‘must have’ tool that comes on the market to make what you do easier and faster. Get started now – with the tools you have.
If you want to make money writing online, there are really only three tools you need to get started.
- Reliable Internet Connection
- A Place to Work
When I started my career as a freelance writer, I was using a laptop that was at least seven years old. We could not afford a new computer, so I had to make what I already owned work for me. It was annoyingly slow when I turned it on and was no good for streaming music or movies. But all I really needed was a computer with a word processor and internet connectivity. That old laptop had everything I needed to get started as a freelancer.
Would it be nice to go purchase a shiny new MacBook to complete your first paid writing gig? Yes! Do you want to trade in your current computer to make sure that you have the ‘latest and greatest’ when it comes to power, storage, and speed? Of course! Do you need to spend hours researching laptops and pay hundreds or thousands of dollars just to get started writing online? NO!!!!
If you have a computer that can connect to the internet you have enough to get started. You can even make it work without having a word processer installed by using Google Docs for your document creation.
If you do not own a computer (or have one you can use when needed) and have a tight budget, you can get a very basic laptop new for less than $200 and may be able to find a used one for even less.
Reliable internet connection
The second tool you need to get started writing online is a reliable internet connection.
A few years ago, we moved from a place in town – with access to high speed internet – to a place a little further out. Our only option at that time was satellite internet and it was terrible. There were times that I could not even upload a single page Word document from my computer. After about a year at the new house, high speed internet became available. I have never been so happy to see a salesperson at my front door!
That year with poor internet came with some challenges but it did not prevent me from keeping up with my writing work online. I simply had to leave the house and use wi-fi somewhere else when it was time to upload documents or do research. The good news is that there are tons of places that offer free wi-fi. I worked at the public library, the coffee shop, in my car outside of a fast food restaurant, and sometimes at my mom’s house. I even paid for a membership in a co-working space for a few months until better internet was available at my house.
If you can get reliable internet at your house and have the money to pay for it – then it is worth the investment. Not having access to a reliable internet connection at your home – for whatever reason – does not have to hold you back from starting your freelance writing career. Scope out the spots near your home that provide free wi-fi and get to work!
A place to work
When we were searching for a house a few years ago we came across a property that had a bunch of trees to one side of the house. Nestled among the trees was a freestanding structure that the owner used as a studio. It was a one room cabin within walking distance from the house, but it seemed like it was a million miles away.
We didn’t get that property – it did not work for our family – but I still think about it when I imagine the ideal work-space for my writing and other projects. My current ‘office’ is a section of our laundry room that I converted into a work-space.
It would be nice to have a beautiful and private office to go into each morning to do my work – but it is not necessary. I often work from the laundry room or my kitchen table. Sometimes I leave the house and work at the coffee shop or library.
You need a work-space where you can focus and get your work done quickly. Because, as a freelance writer, the quicker you work the more money you can earn. For me that means being away from the kids while I work because I am very inefficient with my writing when I am with them. Figure out what works for you – with the resources you have now – and get to work. You may have a beautiful sunny office in your future, but it is not a necessary tool to get started writing online.
Below is a pic of my dining room table which doubles as my office and photo studio as needed.
If you find yourself feeling like you need to get a few more ‘things’ in place before you start looking for paid writing work – ask yourself why.
Is it because you truly do not have the tools you need to get started?
Or, is it because you are afraid to get started?
So many people never get started on their goals because of the fear of the unknown or the fear of failure.