Freelancer. Freelancer. I still can’t quite believe that I’m a (MacBook wielding, coffee drinking, flatly photographing, stereotype embodying) freelancer, running my own business and helping other professionals market their wares.
It’s still only early days yet – I set myself 3 and 6 month markers to look at how I was doing in my venture, but I’m pleased to say that things are looking fairly healthy at the 3 month mark. I’m establishing my portfolio with some brilliant clients (*waves*) and every day I get out of bed looking forward to
coffee crunching through my to-do lists.
I have learnt so much, applied so many of the random skills I’ve picked up over the years (social media, writing content, bookkeeping – for myself, usually whilst watching Doctor Who and wishing that I could throw the invoices into an inter-dimensional time vortex and come out with extra cash, organising and a hefty dash of genuine networking) and I’m sure that I’ll only continue to grow no matter where I end up.
There are a few lessons that I’ve definitely come to appreciate even more as a freelancer, overseen by a mightily demanding cat.
1/ Surround yourself with amazing people.
End of. (You know who you are.)
2/ Trust your gut, and listen to logic.
Two not always mutually exclusive lessons, I’ve found that listening to that inner voice more often than not plays out correctly, and often just voicing my concerns to a listening ear can help me nut out something that doesn’t make sense.
3/ Don’t take it personally.
It is business. Some things won’t happen, some will look like they will happen and others will sound ridiculously promising and then zilch. And, on the flip side, things that look like complete non-starters will blossom.
4/ Treat people kindly.
That’s a life lesson, let alone a freelance one.
5/ To-do lists are essential.
Many of my friends have said to me ‘I don’t know how you keep ‘in task’ without a boss to keep you accountable’ but what they probably don’t realise is a) the cat is a slave driver and b) as a freelancer if you don’t get the work completed for your clients, they could stop using your services.
It’s a real balancing act – I’m pretty disciplined about working Monday to Friday, 8-4ish (which is an old habit leftover my my office days) but on the flip side, if I want to take a 3 hour lunch I just make sure to make up the hours the next day. With everything I have to do, I simply have a pragmatic system of running to-do lists and hours specifically dedicated to certain clients.
6/ Don’t be afraid to ask. Don’t be afraid to be confident. Be afraid of running out of coffee. (And occasionally of 2-year old nephews who dive-bomb your cosy spot on the couch surrounded by his pets.)
7/ Keep learning.
Just like a normal office job, you should be continually learning new skills, staying up to date with industry trends and being able to add value where you can. I try and schedule in a few hours of learning time each week (hey, some bods may label it ‘social listening’ but tomayto, toemato.)
8/ It. Will. Take. Time.
9/ Learn to take a break.
This is probably my hardest lesson so far. It’s so tempting when launching a business/services to work yourself ragged – and in the first few months it’s been a mixture of quiet periods and a mixture of really, really busy periods – and whilst it has been quiet is when I try to get all of my admin done, dream up a few alternate strategies and occasionally just treat myself to a well earned afternoon off.
This isn’t a very practical list; that’s something I’ve got planned in a little while – I might even get all blogger and make a ‘shop my style’ flatlay. #girlboss.
Next thing on the list is to beautify my little workspace – and fill it with all of the amazing inspiration that I’ve been given over the 3 months so far. Another thing put on my ‘to-do’ list. (Also, in order of pictured workplaces that I’ve taken my mobile office they are: Qatar, 30,000 ft in an airplane, Sydney, Wellington, Wellington, Rangitoto volcano crater. To add insult to injury, I’m typing from a desk in the beautiful city of Porto.)