I wouldn’t be working on my proposed 6-month leave of absence from my traditional desk job next winter — I’ll have my certificate coursework to keep me busy till spring and I’ve budgeted accordingly. However, after lurking for a couple years in online digital nomad communities, and truly believing that the future of knowledge work untethers us from desks, I’ve been casting about for ideas for well-compensated, freelance remote work I’d both excel at and enjoy. The kind of thing I could do if I move to Portugal someday, from a sunny but not too hot cafe patio in Lisbon. (OK, it’s a very specific fantasy.)
Thanks to a broad liberal arts education (which also comes in handy at pub trivia), I consider myself a strong writer. Writers are in demand online as I understand it; alas, I have no interest in writing clickbait content for random websites. However, in the last week I’ve become excited about one remote work idea for writers who, like me, enjoy crafting structured, persuasive documents: writing business proposals for companies or organizations looking to secure government contracts.
Coming eventually, maybe: Hire me to write your business proposals
A former colleague gave me the idea of helping companies respond to requests for proposals (RFPs) last winter when I first started contemplating location-independent work. I more or less dismissed the idea out of hand, telling him I had no direct experience.
I guess the idea percolated over the last year and I came to realize that with my experience working in the public sector and writing highly structured options notes, briefing materials and treasury board submissions, I come pretty damn close to having direct experience. I’d hire me, and I’m hoping my network will feel that way too.
It’s time for some just-in-time learning
In the coming months, assuming I don’t talk myself out of this perfectly good idea or get distracted by a shiny new idea, I expect to read a few library books on technical writing and successful business proposals. Eventually I also expect I’ll hang out a shingle by launching a new website to advertise my services. And finally, I expect I’ll want to get coffee with some people in my network doing similar work (the always-helpful “informational interview”) to see what I can learn.
Side Hustle Podcast wisdom for n00b freelancers
I’ve listened to enough episodes of Side Hustle Podcast to know that many people starting out as freelancers take some under-paid or unpaid jobs to hone their skills and build up testimonials for their websites, and I may go this route as well. You won’t catch me on Upwork or Fiverr though.