I cannot quite believe it’s been a year since I started this little venture. I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun.
I’ll start by saying that I’m grateful to have been able to start freelancing in the first place. The job I was in a year ago never gave me the freedom I needed to write for myself and I’ll be eternally grateful for my current 9-5 for being flexible and allowing me to do just that.
While I’m extremely thankful for that, I can’t say it’s something I always wanted to do. Obviously, I adore writing and I knew it was a possibility but the inconsistent income and lack of confidence in my own abilities put me off for a long, long time.
I’m not sure exactly why I decided that none of those things mattered but apparently, in July 2017, I did and here I am 12 wonderful months later with a hell of a lot of lessons learned.
Grab a cuppa and get comfy, this is going to be a long one.
Not every job is the job for you
When I first started out, I was so grateful to be offered any work at all that when I did, I took it with both hands. I’d spend hours researching topics and industries I wasn’t at all interested in to write for clients who were quite literally the opposite of the people I wanted to work for. It completely took the enjoyment out of writing for me and turned it from something I was passionate about into a task I dreaded coming home to.
I also very quickly learned that there’s such a thing as too much work. Working 9-5 and freelancing 5-10 just isn’t something that’s sustainable for me but it is something I did for a little while at first.
Again, I was so desperate to say ‘yes’ to each and every project and look busy that I took on both work that probably wasn’t right for me or the client and far too much of it.
If ever I’m going through a dry spell now, I try to remind myself of this experience as the alternative and hold out for the right projects.
Setting rates is the most difficult thing in the world
How much to charge for those projects has been another huge obstacle for me and one, in all honesty, that I still struggle with.
I’ve worked for far less than my time is worth and I know not to do that now though. There is a happy medium between what you think your work is worth and what someone is willing to pay for it, it’s just tricky to figure out sometimes.
When it comes down to it, if someone doesn’t value your skills, it’s worth considering whether or not they’re the right client for you in the first place.
Success is personal
I’ve gone on and on and on about Emma Gannon’s The Multi-Hyphen Method but it genuinely has completely changed my perspective about business. One of the first things she tackles is creating your own definition of success and I think it’s genius!
I’ve never been the kind of girl that dreamt of being a CEO with a fancy car, it just doesn’t interest me. Living abroad, working from wherever I want and enjoying what I do though, they’re all things I have subconsciously strived for all my life.
I like to think of this venture as my stepping stone towards that.
The book also made me realise that your side-gig doesn’t have to make you millions and take up every second of your spare time. If it’s something you enjoy and it brings in a few extra pennies to spend each month, that’s fine too and that’s what freelancing is for me right now.
Do I really want to do it full-time?
I feel like this is a potentially controversial thing to publish but I’m not sure freelancing full-time is my end goal after all.
It’s something I really enjoy, in case you couldn’t’ tell from the above, but I also really love my full-time job in communications.
I count myself incredibly lucky to have two jobs I enjoy so much and I’m not prepared to give either of them up at this point. The day-to-day dynamic of the office is something I look forward to and equally, so is coming home, working in my PJs and being my own boss.
I think the ultimate dream would be to do both part-time and see where that takes me.
It won’t happen overnight
I intentionally didn’t set myself many targets when I first started freelancing. Reaching 1000 followers on Instagram before August 2018 was probably the only one and I just about managed it – yay!
I was very conscious of not letting the pressure of goals take the enjoyment out of the process for me and I’m really glad I didn’t. A year in, I’ve got a handful of clients I genuinely love working for, I could definitely use a few more and that’s ok.
I’ve seen fellow freelancers skyrocket and quit their day jobs within months and I know there are others like me who are still working on it. These things take time and I’m only 24 – I’ve got plenty of it!