This freelancer life is not for the faint of heart. However, I wouldn’t change the direction I’ve chosen.
I have known for some time that I have skills that can be transferred to entrepreneurship. As an editor, I have known that I could step out on my own and work for the clients of my choosing. But getting out of the comfort zone of a consistent paycheck was another story. It has only been a matter of months since I left my full-time editing job, and honestly it's been touch and go. There are days that I think about how much easier it would be to find a desk job with some company in order to feel more secure. But then I’m encouraged by the small things: the satisfying book project, the words of thanks directly from an author—and these have kept me encouraged and pushing forward. I also could not have done any of it without my wife being my hypewoman and her willingness to carry the load while I wait on those infrequent checks. Having a partner that believes in what you are doing and can step in when times are sparse is invaluable. Oh, and she reminds me the children have to eat.
It also helps that we are moving to Cambodia next year. It is a no-brainer that working remotely now makes more sense. Now is the time for me to build up my clientele, so that by the time we leave the States, I will have a solid client base that I can take with me anywhere. Copyediting is my first love, and I would probably do it for free if I didn’t know any better (and I was independently wealthy). Freelance writing is also a consideration.
So the future is now. I’ve been wanting to work on projects that excite me, and I am now able to do so. I plan my schedule for the day according to the projects I have chosen to do. I decide what days I will take off and which are most productive for me to work.
I’m psyched to say the least. And the plans don’t stop. I am ready to work with other freelancers/owners, so we can share in this magic together and complete the goals we have set. Folks like @blkcreatives and @blackfreelance are encouraging oases on the internet from which I sip daily to remind me that it can be hard, but it is never hopeless. A few Do’s and Do Not’s I’ve picked up so far: 1. DO give yourself time off. You have deadlines—use them. Schedule both work time and breaks, and stick to them as much as possible. Yes, you should reward yourself for a job well done; no you should not mess around so long that you are killing yourself to meet a deadline because you’ve waited until the last minute. 2. DO get some exercise. If you work at a computer all day like I do, then stiffness and achy joints will be a real thing. It is necessary to give your body a chance to move by doing something you enjoy. I am a walker, so I take time to walk at least 3 days out of the week. If you twerk, then twerk. Just move around. These help too. 3. Don’t get distracted. Remove devices/opportunities for potential distraction. I have to put my phone out of sight and leave the television off for periods of time during the day when a deadline is looming. Quiet music actually fuels me to work, so I will use it as needed to get energized and focused.
4. Don’t let naysayers sway you. There will be people who won’t understand your choice and exactly what you do. Don’t feel obliged to make them understand. Commit to your decision and your goals and stay inspired and growing by others who also have become independent freelancers (and are used to your kind of crazy). It’s not for everyone, but it is for everyone who steps into it. Safe travels (and satisfying work that gets you there)!