Now that I’ve been a professional freelance writer for a number of years, I find that I get asked certain questions from time to time. One of these questions sound simple enough: if you could give a single piece of advice to people new to freelance writing, what would it be?

Just like any number of other careers, freelance writing is far from a single homogeneous entity. The person who chooses to be a technical writer for biotechnology firms will have an entirely different career path than the person who chooses to specialize in ad copy for marketing purposes.

They all need to stay organized, to be sure, but that’s not the most important piece of advice I’d give to someone considering a freelance career. For my part, the single biggest piece of advice I’d give to a new freelancer is:

“Don’t be afraid to take that initial leap of faith. You’ll never know what you’re capable of doing if you don’t try.”

Far too many people find themselves frozen in indecision, rendered immobile by fear of the unknown. This is perfectly understandable and it is a very human reaction. If you’re coming from what you perceive to be a stable full-time job elsewhere, it can positively be daunting to consider the unpredictability of freelance income. You may not know if you like working from home. Yes, it can be a scary proposition.

At the same time, it can be a richly rewarding opportunity! No, freelancing isn’t for everyone, but you really won’t know that for sure until you give it a try and that really is the best advice I can give to someone new to the game. (So to speak.) Even if you’ve been freelancing for a while, the same advice still applies.

Want to try a new kind of writing? Want to try your hand at an entirely different niche? Take that leap of faith and don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it. Life is all about exploration and experimentation, and your career is no exception. You’ll want to weigh these decisions against considerations about your financial and family situations, of course, but chances are, even if it doesn’t work out, you’ll learn something.

Along the way, you’ll encounter some difficult clients and you may need to gain an understanding of administrative matters, but these are all learning opportunities. Take the chance. As I’ve said before on this blog, you might risk failure, but guess what? You risk success too.