March 28, 2022
This week I wanted to share a glimpse into my freelancing journey.
When I started researching becoming a freelancer, I turned to a number of articles and posts about what that meant, so maybe I can repay the favour by being that person for someone looking to make the switch themselves. Or simply by sating some curiosities for people 🙂
There’s a lot I could go through, but right now, I’m going to address one of the topics I get asked about a lot – how did I get started?
The journey so far
I talked a little about this in my first post and on my about page. Probably on my Instagram too. But to recap and go a bit deeper:
In October of 2020, I realized I wanted a different career than the one I had. I was working as a project assistant, with a lot of really nice people, but I’d always known it wasn’t a job I’d stay in forever; it was a stepping stone. But I was having a hard time finding the next stone to step on, and I was getting more desperate to find it.
So after venting to my mom one day (thanks, Mom!), and proclaiming “I wish I could just leave and be an editor” (I’d edited in each of my professional jobs), my mom said, “so do it.” I was in a good place financially where I could take the risk (doing this as a side-gig wasn’t an option, knowing what my mental health cap is). In fact, it was probably the best opportunity to try something so drastic. So I left my job, took a few weeks to myself, and then started freelancing February 1st, 2021.
Ok, wait. Back up.
I didn’t just jump in. Those months in between were filled with financial research, set-up research, decisions about how I’d find gigs, setting up accounts, planning, etc. Which, really, to an extent, continues to this day (although now it’s more a matter of refining what I’ve already learned to best suit my lifestyle and goals).
I started on a few freelance platforms to see how I liked them. That avenue required less tool purchasing, and I liked the idea that I had established companies backing me up should I need it. I’m down to using just one of the platforms now, the one I’m most comfortable with and seems to get me gigs. There are a few others I’d like to eventually join, but they require some qualifications I’m still working towards. Then I decided I wanted to branch out and also have a website and Instagram page for my business, see if I could bring in more clients by having both. For my website, I needed further research, tools, and document drafting (like a contract template – thank you yet again to Google for pointing me in the direction of some fantastic examples) to prepare to take on clients this way.
You might notice in your research for an editor, or to become a freelancer, that I’m not the only one who uses both techniques of platform and website. It’s just a matter of finding what works best and in what combination!
Honestly, I’m still working out some kinks. I’m sure I will be for a while – it’s quite different from working an office job. Working with clients and doing the actual projects is the easy part – I’d basically already been doing that. But freelancing also involves considering taxes differently; determining if you want/need a website, then creating and maintaining said website; finding tools for taking payments if you aren’t using a freelancing platform (I use FreshBooks, which took some research to settle on); being your own spokesperson and sales rep and marketing team; determining your rates, which might shift as time goes on and from project to project; etc. Of course, some of that can be outsourced, but some of us do it ourselves, or as much as possible. You really do become your own business when you become a freelancer.
Also during my research, I read multiple times about the whole “feast and famine” cycle that freelancers go through.
It’s a real thing. It’s not fun. Worth it, if this is the lifestyle you want. But not fun.
All that to say, I’ve found this year to be hard, but incredibly fulfilling. I mean it when I say it’s been worth it, and that I love it. I’m so glad I took the leap. If there’s anything in this post that you’d like me to go into in more detail, let me know. I’d be happy to discuss what I’ve learned and discovered 🙂