How I Stopped Worrying & Learned to Love Being a Freelancer
By Jen Phillips April on June 18, 2012
My plan of someday being my own boss was the same as many people’s, save money, pay down debt and someday, strike out on my own.
Someday came sooner than I thought.
The recession came and I lost my job like 1000’s of others.
Well, this was it I thought. The time had come.
It was a most inconvenient time, my husband and I had separated and I was struggling to live on my income alone.
Like many of you, I’d been plotting my freelance life for years. It was a bold move, this idea that I could be a paid writer but it’d been my lifelong dream. When I learned about copywriting, it was a no-brainer. I took courses, studied and practiced. I started a website for dog lovers where I shared dog treat recipes and could practice what I was learning.
Now the day was here.
The Terrifying Reality
I had no idea how to get clients. No samples other than my dog site, no website, no idea how to pitch my services. It took me about six months of frustration and spinning my wheels before I finally found out about a local networking group. It was a few more months before I had the nerve to go.
Finally, the day arrived and I went. I’d rehearsed my 30 second “commercial” over and over and tried to appear confident. It was bad enough walking into a room where I knew no one and trying to “pass myself off” as a professional copywriter but then I had to stand in front of everyone and share what I did—my commercial. I got through it and left as soon as I could.
I kept forcing myself to events and by my 3 or 4th one I started to run into people I knew. Eventually, I landed a client. That led to a whole other level of terror. What was I going to do now? I was a fraud! Surely, they’d find out. (Never mind I had 6 years of writing for the web and tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of education behind me.)
I did it. I handled the project, emailed it in, she liked it and asked me to do another one. And, she paid me! I breathed a little deeper. Maybe I wasn’t such a fraud.
Fast forward two and half years and countless projects and clients behind me and I’ve realized something. You really DO have to believe in yourself. And, you CAN do it.
The other thing I’ve learned is to create support systems. All that networking has paid off in the form of friends and colleagues I can call, skype or email for assistance or advice.
I have fun and interesting clients and while the money isn’t as consistent as I’d like (yet), projects keep showing up and I have a feeling everything’s going to be just fine. It hasn’t been easy, but I’m learning to relax into the uncertainty.
How about you? What’s your journey been like in owning your own business?
Jen helps businesses create an effective online presence through the tools of SEO and social media so they enjoy an improved bottom line. Connect at her website http://www.jenphillipsapril.com.
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