Just the sound of the word brings feelings of freedom, happiness, positivity right?
Quickly followed by fear, worry, anxiety, problems.
Being freelance, for the majority of us is the end goal. To be able to work for ourselves, have the freedom to do what we want to do, when we want to do it. To get away from that 9-5, that dreaded commute, and to work in bed with Netflix on in the background, and be the ultimate #girlboss that we know we are deep down inside. Something to aspire to, something to work towards and something to be proud of when we get there.
For me, becoming freelance was always the exact situation as the one I described above. But the reality is that I was forced into becoming freelance. I got extremely poorly, I was unable to work in a normal job, and so the option to be one was the only one for me- but don’t get me wrong. I was extremely excited, and as I head into the 6 month mark of being completely and utterly freelance on my blog, you would have thought that I had it completely figured out? Wrong. I still make mistakes. The same mistakes I have been making for 6 months, and still get the feelings of fear and despair. But as I reflect on my last 6 months on this journey there are definitely some clear cut mistakes I made that jump out at me.
I thought that it would be easy.
How hard could it be right? It was exactly the same thing I was doing before I left my job, but just on a full-time scale. I would have more time to write, more time to photograph and more time to do what I want. I started and continued my first few months, just floating by and enjoying my spare time. I thought that the opportunities would just magic their way into my inbox, because I’m now free to do them, so why wouldn’t they? But they didn’t.
I didn’t realise that I now had to work extra hard in finding the work, in creating content, in emailing and collabing, in uploading my social media. In creating a job from this.
I got lazy.
What’s the point in being able to work from home, if you can’t do it from your bed, in your PJ’s, cat and coffee by your side? I slept in, enjoying not having to set an alarm. I told myself that I deserved the break, and that watching Netflix and reading magazines was a way of finding content to write about, and that I could write later..
I had no schedules. No deadlines. No boss breathing down my neck. I let myself get lazy- I stopped putting the effort in and passed it off with ‘Oh I’ll do it later’, and then wondered why I wasn’t getting the engagement I wanted, or the work wasn’t coming in as quick as I would like.
I was unorganised.
Finances. Invoices. Emails. Social Media. Collaborations. Events. Post Schedules.
Anything you can think off that comes with running your own business needs to be thought about, needs to be organised and needs to be current.
I uploaded posts when I wanted. I left my social media days without uploading. I left emails unanswered. I didn’t write down or keep a clear cut way of organising my finances, or my invoices when I started and when it came to chasing things up, things got hella confusing, and it is the most unprofessional thing to do- and just makes the work 10x harder.
I neglected my social life.
Things became a mix of putting off work, to having to work later- and everything in between.
I put off work because I could, then had to play 24/7 catch up. I spent my days and weekends on my laptop- I could go days without seeing anyone or having an actual conversation with anyone apart from my postman. I didn’t have ‘work-friends’ anymore. And this created an isolated feeling and got ridiculously lonely, and made me hate blogging at times. It had overtaken my life and I was nothing but this blogger.
I was too hard on myself.
Blogging is supposed to be fun. It’s supposed to be a way of creatively putting your feelings and thoughts out there. A way to connect with other people, a way to inform, educate and entertain. And being freelance means you can do that in your own way. But you can also become your own worse enemy. I became too hard on myself. To hit my page views. To gain x amount of followers. To post x amounts of times a week. To get the work in. And when it didn’t- I made myself feel guilty that I wasn’t good enough, or wasn’t working hard enough. Instead of finding ways to get those goals, I made myself feel bad and punished myself for not doing so.
I felt that I had to spend money on certain things to be able to write about them, or post pictures to stay current. I even spent a little while trying to write about things I had no idea about, because that’s where the highest view counts were. I didn’t stay true to myself and my readers could see, which made my views drop even more.
I’m still learning. I’m still only a baby blogger, but I’m learning, I’m growing and I’m finally loving what I’m doing. And I definitely used the word I’m far too much in that sentence.
It’s not about the mistakes we have made, its how we learn from them that count.