I love freelancing. That’s a pretty obvious sentence to find on a freelancer’s website, but I do love it. That’s not to say that I don’t procrastinate or take breaks from time to time. That hasn’t changed no matter where I’ve worked. Although I’ve learned a lot of lessons throughout my career in marketing. The first lesson I’ve learned in freelancing is that I can keep on, keepin’ on.
Two years ago I started a job at a Fortune 100 company. I was one of the first social media professionals in the company and a part of my job was to go out and create work for myself. My colleagues in other areas of the company (sales, channel, product development, etc.) didn’t know they needed me, so I spent half my time educating them and the other half of my time accomplishing tasks. This is pretty common with most companies in their beginning stages of maturation, but the persistence it takes will help moving forward.It worked out that I was constantly putting in 60 hours a week for two weeks of the month and then 30 hours a week for the other two. It wasn’t the most efficient time, but it was part of the job. I make this point to say the lesson I learned from this was that I had to learn how to find work for myself to do. I was, in a way, freelancing for my own company.
The benefits and the pitfalls of freelancing are closely related. Choosing your own schedule is an amazing perk, but not having enough work to do is terrifying. This is why persistence is key. Not only are you working the hours to create a product you love. You also have other tasks of searching for, pitching to, signing and retaining clients. They keep the lights on after all. Persistence is what helps you submit that proposal after a day of making client images darker. For those of you who work 40 hours and feel that its been enough, this line of work may not be for you.
Everyone paints working from home as this constant no-pants, Netflix on in the background hang out session. That’s a hard trap to avoid. It’s easy to roll out of bed at 915 to answer emails and craft strategies from your couch all day. But how long can that last? Soon the days will bleed together and before you know it, a month has passed and all you’ve done is wear a dent in your sofa. Persistence (and an annoying alarm clock) helps me get up at 730 am to continue my morning routine, showered and out the house by 9 and set up in a local library, friends house, coworking space, etc. I don’t mind when my work and life bleed together enjoyably, but I am not going to live like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day.
Persistence is also what keeps me paid. Not every client will be as on top of your payments as you would like. Keeping a clear, detailed record and chain of communication about when, how and in what manner you’ll be paid is worth it. Plenty of times clients with good intentions will come up short. It’s best practice to protect yourself.
Hopefully, I didn’t scare away any potential freelancers. I am always happy to meet people taking the leap like I am. That’s why I’ve joined my local www.freelancersunion.org hive and am contributing to their growth. For any questions or just to follow a new friend, feel free to reach me on Instagram or Twitter @WillBradley3rd.