Doing a career change is not easy and it can be all sorts of confusing. Even though i've been preparing for this for months (mentally, financially etc.) it's still surprising to me how different my circumstances are. To anyone considering such a change, I recommend you read this blog post. As for my fellow freelancers, I'm sure you'll empathize with me.
Before jumping into this career change, I've been reading all over the place, watched videos or listened to podcasts about what it means to be a freelancer, about running your own business and establishing a home office. For months I could only dream of days like my past few weeks when I would get all consumed by photography and business activities. I have a business degree so I do have a passion for business, but I just did not find myself in the corporate world. So I made the change. I was however, careful enough to have enough savings so that my transition is smooth and I had secured some future contracts before making the change. And now yes, I am enjoying the perks of being a freelancer. I set my own hours (I'm a night-bird, so I would trade 9 AM for 9 PM work in a heartbeat), I work when and where I want (I have to admit, it was quite fun editing by the pool this summer), no stress of a boss or office drama, I watch movies or tutorials while editing, my eyes get tired, I go for a run, do some yoga, etc.
However, I am also dealing with the many challenges of my new profession.
One of my main ones is that it doesn't stop!!! Not to complain, on the contrary: when it's all about photography, I'm having a blast, and when it's time to get down to business I am all in. But that's the problem; I feel most of the time nothing else exists but what I do. But this is borderline workaholism, it's unhealthy and not good for my business (as in, I put in too many hours so my overall hourly rate goes down). But at this stage of my business, my time is my biggest asset. So I need to capitalize on it as much as I can. I do try to keep up the normal workweek, however, and I try to disconnect as much as I can in the weekends.
However, in spite of what I've been talking about in the above paragraph, another problem I've encountered are distractions. There are so many of them!!! But, you don't understand: SO MANY! From phone calls, to texts and e-mails, from social media, to friends passing by and other random things. And I've been putting my phone away, closing social media tabs and disciplining myself, but it's just not enough! For example, I need new business cards so the other day I was looking for inspiration, fonts etc. I ended up spending two hours on Pinterest, Creative Market and Behance, without any real result. Not to mention if I end up on some Facebook page (for business purposes, I promise)...But there are a number of apps that I've been using to help me better manage my time, such as Pomodoro (it breaks tasks into 25 minutes work sessions with 5 minutes of break in between), or Trello (it's a lists and project management app; I absolutely need it!). I will come back soon, however, with a post on some cool apps that I've found very helpful.
I know, however, I am exactly where I wanted to be. I have assumed an identity which is truly me, and I am experiencing a feeling I did not have in a while: job satisfaction. And the more I work, the more I want to work (workaholic alert!) But is it really called workaholism when you love so much what you're doing that it doesn't feel like work? I'm actually feeling guilty at times, as I feel I'm not working. I guess this is also something I've been dealing with lately: "I'm having fun, so it doesn't really count as work, right? Let me find the most boring task and overdo it, so I don't feel i didn't do anything the whole day..."
Freelancing is a hard job though, really tough in today's competitive environment, and very time consuming in today's social media environment. And you have to be Jack of all trades, and be master at all, you have to be good at your art, good manager, good PR person, good salesman, good bookkeeper and pro at social media. I know what I got myself into, however, and as long as I don't lose that fire, it's all going to be fine.
But this is only the beginning...time (and this blog) will tell what will be in the future. Stay tuned! 😊
I'm always inspired by stories, so, my dear reader, what's your startup story? If you're a freelancer, what were your main struggles when you started? Don't be shy, leave me a comment below, we can all learn from each other 😊.