If you missed my Confession: I’m a Failure post, you can read it here.
If you’re going into freelancing full-time, have a plan. I know it seems like the sexy alternative to the drone of the 9-5 office life. Escaping from your cubicle, working remotely, getting to do what you love every day – it’s the dream. On the other hand, it can also seem like the best option when you’ve got a box in your hand in the back of a cab on a hot summer day. However, the nuances of freelancing are exhausting. The depression that comes with the fear and uncertainty is crippling.
If you’re not intentional with your decision to go into freelancing, it will knock you down and make you crawl up a jagged wall.
I had no plan. I had no savings. I had no safety net. I was just stubborn.
Define what success means for you. What’s your end game? What does success look like for you? Are you freelancing just to make some extra money on the side of your full-time job? Do you want to start your own business? Do you want to make a million dollars? Will you give up freelancing if the perfect full-time job fell in your lap?
If you don’t know what success looks like, it’s easy to be indecisive. If you have at least an idea of success and your path to it, you can be more selective and intentional with the opportunities you pursue. I didn’t know what success looked like for me, so I took on way too many projects, stretched myself way too thin, and ultimately sacrificed the golden opportunities for the dead-end ones.
Do a reality a check about your life. Freelancing impacts every single aspect of your life. How are your relationships? Are you in debt? What’s your working style? How do you handle adversity? What are your goals? What’s your back-up plan? Do you have a good support system?
This was the biggest contribution to my failure. I was in a new relationship I was ultimately unhappy in, I had family issues I was dealing with, on top of debt, and the ridiculous pressure I put on myself to finish school. All of this was on top of diving into freelancing full time without a plan.
Stop the comparison game. This is the worst thing you can do. Especially in the age of social media, when there are constant blog posts about the success of others. How to quit your job and travel the world. How Y made her first million before the age of 19. There are things to aspire to, sure, but that’s where defining YOUR success comes into play. If you start comparing your progress with others, you will stumble and fail. Your individual circumstances differ from others. Your success will never be identical.
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to success.
Never hesitate to ask for help. It feels like a dog-eat-dog world out there, and sometimes it is. The one thing I’ve learned since the beginning of this journey is that there are people who WANT to help you succeed – but you have to ask for it. Turn down the stubbornness, turn up the vulnerability, and be honest. You cannot do it all. Despite the endless amount of information available on the web, nothing beats a 1:1 conversation over coffee with someone who has been there. Remember that everyone is busy, so when you reach out, be clear and concise.
Respect their time, their expertise, and you might be surprised at where it leads.
Know your worth. Even though I was a communications professional with experience, I still thought freelancing meant I had to start from scratch. I cannot tell you the number of articles I wrote at a penny per word. I still get stressed out when I think about the clients who called me at 10 PM to yell at me about something that wasn’t my fault, and out of my scope of work – but I let them because I thought that’s how things worked. Do a gut check. Think about your experience and the value you bring to the table.
Don’t let others dictate your worth. Define it, and stick to it – no matter how scary it may feel.
Subscribe to receive updates from the Amplify Your Biz blog. That can be via RSS or by signing up for Mailchimp over there on the right. Of course, you can always follow me on Twitter & the page on Facebook.