Last August was the 20th anniversary of my big leap of faith when I became a freelancer. WOW!
So I’ve been contemplating what that’s meant in my life, what I’ve learnt and what I can share as wisdom.
- Don’t beat yourself up when you’re in an inevitable lean time.
- Embrace a patchwork lifestyle – you may need to have income streams in diverse but related areas. Cross pollinate and be creative.
- Set aside a morning a week or a day or month for your own business development.
- Think ahead – you can’t predict the future, but you can be mindful of the pipeline!
- Expect some connections to take more than six months to bear fruit.
- Be prepared to respond/quote to 10 x more work than you can handle.
- Drop any competitive streak you may have inherited from culture. Instead cultivate a collaborative mindset and help others succeed.
- Outsource – the cleaning, your website, accounts anything you can.
- Place a high priority on ‘professional’ development – never stop learning and exposing yourself to the new. Invest in yourself.
- Don’t apologise for being human – you are not invincible and self-employment is one of the deepest expressions of who you are – it’s all you.
- Embrace the idea of sabbaticals, get away on a ‘creativity reset’ workshop, holiday or junket regularly.
- Cultivate solid working relationships with likeminded professionals and service providers – your team without having a team.
- Listen to your instincts – if a potential client is already pushing your buttons don’t go there unless you’re prepared.
- Never work more than 30 hours a week on client business.
- Reinvent (or at least review) your business face at least every five years. Logo, website, focus – as you learn your business will naturally evolve and change – go with it.
- Say no. Often and with confidence.
- Say yes – especially to the jobs that challenge you/make you wonder ‘can I do that’ – they are the jobs that will provide you with real growth and will lead to something new. (That’s the magic.)
- Find a mentor, a coach or a champion. Doesn’t have to be a formal arrangement – your ‘mentor may just be someone you admire and follow the career of as a best practice example.
- Know your why.
Know your values.
Align your business and personal ethics and remind yourself of who and why you are doing what you are doing in five simple words. (The Desire Map is a great resource for this.)
- Be real and authentic, always, without exception. That’s what the world needs most from you.
And Im so grateful I get to do what I LOVE and write to make our world.