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Our primary vehicle is a Ford school bus. A short one.
Yes, it’s still yellow. Painting is on the “someday” list. When time and finances align.
It has all the cool lights and stop sign (that we aren’t supposed to use!)
All of us fit in it (we’re a large family.)
And best of all, it has an amazing wheelchair lift, which makes traveling with our disabled son SO much easier!
As I was driving our bus into the big city for our monthly grocery run, I realized that driving a bus was very similar to my newly launched freelance career.
It’s Primarily Mental
I feared driving the bus for the first time.
Logically, I kept telling myself it wasn’t THAT much bigger than our Suburban.
Fear kept creeping in. It’s taller, it’s wider, and it’s just big!
I couldn’t drive it, I just couldn’t.
But I had to.
I had to rise above the mental fear before I got into the driver’s seat.
It’s the same with my career. I was terrified to start a business.
It stops many people in their tracks.
Is it stopping you? Don’t let it. Rise above your fear, and see how far you can soar!
I still don’t feel completely comfortable driving the bus, but I’m not scared anymore. I know it’ll feel more natural in time.
So will owning a business. Right now, it’s still kind of a shock—I actually started a business! But someday, it’ll feel like I’ve been writing forever!
It Helps to Have Help
My first trip in the bus, I had my husband sitting in one of the seats, guiding me through the process. He walked me through the mirrors, and how to tell where I was on the road.
I’m so thankful for that guidance—he helped me to gain confidence, and slowly build up to solo trips on the bus.
I had help with my career too. I read blogs by established freelancers. I subscribed to newsletters, and read eBooks. I took courses.
Others were there with me (not physically, but through their written words), helping me to build confidence as I started freelancing.
If you can find someone with more knowledge than you, they can be a great source of guidance when you first start out. I’m hoping someday I can help others who are just beginning!
There Will Be Distractions
Did you ever ride a school bus?
Pack a bunch of kids into a small space, and see what happens.
You’ll be trying to keep your eyes on the road, and simultaneously reminding the kids not to throw banana peels out the window or to not hit the window with the seat belt.
It’s kind of crazy
Even in a freelance career. What are your distractions? How can you better manage them?
My writing distractions are primarily in the form of animals lately. Cows escaping. Skunks stealing cat food. There’s always something going on at the farm!
Everyone’s distractions are different.
No matter what the distractions are, you have to remember to keep your eyes on the road, or your goal. Remember why you started freelancing in the first place. Otherwise your distractions will keep you from the goal.
You Will Get Made Fun Of
Guess what? I drive a short bus! You probably know the connotations that go along with that one.
I get teased a lot.
Yes, it gets old quickly.
When you announce that you’ve started a freelance career, people won’t understand. They’ll tease you about getting a real job. They won’t understand your choices.
They’ll think you’re weird. They may even think that you just sit back and don’t actually do anything.
Just like when you drive a short bus.
Get used to it. Hold your head high, and smile back—don’t let them get you down!
You Turn Heads
If you think a fancy sports car garners attention, try driving a short bus.
We’ve had people take our picture while loading groceries at Costco.
When you launch your career, you’ll also have people looking at you. They’ll be watching you, seeing if you’re serious about this writing thing, or if it’s just another phase.
Like it or not, you will be in the spotlight. You will have eyes on you. How will you handle it?
Driving a bus is a lot like launching a freelance career. Can you think of any other correlations we could draw?
Lisa Tanner is a former teacher turned homeschooling mom with 11 kids. She's also a successful freelance writer. Lisa enjoys helping other busy moms find time to start and grow a side hustle of their own.