What I've learned in my first month freelancing

It’s been a month…and I’m alive! For this week’s blog post, I want to share what I’ve learned in my first month of freelancing.

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It is easier to get things done than it is to be stressed out. At any give moment, the list of things to do could send any person into a downward spiral. The risk you’re taking by not living with the comfort of that trusty, steady paycheck is constantly palpable. It would be SO easy to give in to the stress and let it overcome your days, but what kind of life would that be, and what kind of success would that lead to? So far, I have found that you just keep doing things. Do as many things in a day that you need in order to maintain your sanity. Then do one or two more. Soon you find your stride and your life as a freelancer is your own.

To-do lists are my best friends. For me, in order to continuously get things done, I have found to-do lists are my best friend. I literally could not function without them. I have lists of what to get done today, tomorrow, within this week, if there is time left in the day (I wish!), this month, in my personal life….I could go on. The point is, when I don’t make a list, things fall through the cracks. There are all kinds of to-do list apps out there and project management systems. I happen to be an old school lined notepad kind of gal, but the important thing is to find what works for you. I probably spend 20 minutes a day evaluating and rewriting my to-do lists, but each time I do, I feel like I am more on track than when I started.

Being a little overly confident is ok (and necessary). Confidence has never been my strong suit. In a recent blog post, I discussed the steps that led me to full time freelancing. Though I felt I had the experience and a skill set to offer, freelancing by nature is a very uncertain way to live. If I didn’t start every day believing I can do this, I wouldn’t make it. Plain and simple. For that reason, I’ve allowed myself a season of unreasonable confidence. Believe you can do it, and take comfort in the fact that whatever you don’t know, you can and will learn along the way. 

But ask for help! Often! Despite the confidence factor, I have learned to ask for help – a lot! I ask people to read things for me before I post them. I ask clients for feedback when I put a new process in place. I ask business owners I know how they stay on top of things. I ask for advice on meeting people. Not only have I been saved from an embarrassing number of typos making it onto my website, I have also learned so much by reaching out to others, which leads me to my next point.

Be a sponge. In order to be a master of your craft, I believe you must be a forever student of your craft. In the last month, the motivation and desire I have to learn is off the charts - and it feels AMAZING! I try to start my day by reading one article with the intent to learn something from it. Through this process, I have discovered design blogs from fellow freelancers that have proved to be an invaluable resource to me (stay tuned for a post of must read blogs). This more than anything has helped me feel confident in the value I am providing my clients.
Additionally, I have sought out podcasts, meetings with people I admire, workshops, educational speakers, and online classes. Though the majority of what I seek out has to do with graphic design, entrepreneurship, or freelancing, I have also allowed myself to carve out time to learn more about other interests I have. By researching influences outside my normal sphere, I am learning things I’ve never made time for before and as a result have found inspiration in places I never would have thought. Be a sponge. You won’t regret it.