Freelancing comes with the promise of a be-your-own-boss, make-your-own-hours schedule, yet at times, it seems like anything but. Demanding clients, unreasonable project guidelines, the constant search for gigs, workdays that seem to stretch into eternity…sometimes you might question why you chose this seemingly pothole-riddled path in the first place.
A feeling of jadedness might start to set it – you’ve seen it all before, right? Wrong! Freelancing, like everything else in life, is all about perspective – you have the choice to respond negatively or positively to any trying situation. On the road of freelancing, the more positive your response, the smoother the pavement.
Keep your choices in the balance.
Yes, an income is important, and achieving financial goals might mean sacrificing lots of time to passionless projects. As you gaze at your screen, appearing as if you’re trying to look deep into the future, that jaded feeling starts chipping away at your productivity.
Those disheartening projects you’ve been toiling on? Summon your utmost self-discipline to complete them efficiently, earn what you need to pay your bills, and then reframe your freelancing approach by seeking engaging opportunities you know you can excel in.
- Put some savings aside to aid in the transition for those days when you’d prefer to work more on what you’d like to than what you need
- Gigs don’t have to be chores – they can be catalysts for change. The skills you develop while you work can take you in completely new directions.
- Use the promise/potential of something better as an incentive to be your best self in all projects.
- You never know what other, more interesting avenues will be made available to you if your work impresses!
Start, quite literally, making your own way.
Remember, to be a freelancer in any capacity means that you have the freedom to not only choose, but to create. Approaches commonly taken include:
- Maintaining a salaried job while freelancing in off-hours as an artist/musician/designer/small business owner.
- Working towards an accumulated income goal until it’s financially viable to devote full-time efforts to freelance creative endeavors.
Whatever way you decide upon, do so with mindfulness. The start-with-absolutely-nothing-and-hope-it-becomes-lots-of-something method does not a happy freelancer make.
Creativity can also serve as an outlet for activism, to such a point where there’s no time to be anything but motivated. Take, for example, my own freelancing journey. I’ve been a part-time, full-time, and only occasional freelancer at various stages of my work life. I know most, if not all, of the pitfalls that go along with this career.
Finally, it got to the point where I decided that rather than become jaded by all the disingenuous tactics out there (I’m looking at you, people-who-post-jobs-asking-for-unpaid-test-articles-on-specific-topics-and/or-asking-for-article-pitches-as-part-of-an-application), I’d work towards providing a solution.
Using the research skills I’ve acquired along the way, I began building the resource I wish I had when I was starting out –this blog. For me, it’s a nice change of pace to the work I usually do. Here, I write what I want, how I want.
Be determined to diversify.
Sometimes, jadedness occurs if you’re too focused on a freelancing niche. This can especially happen with niches like transcription (low rates for long files) and writing (oh, those style guides). Additionally, with so much competition out there, it’s to your benefit if you can “switch a niche” as the situation calls for.
Part of the advantage (and, in the spirit of honesty, sometimes the drawback) of freelancing is that nothing truly stays the same. A good gig only lasts so long, and then it’s back to the search. So, you need to be ever-observant in anticipating trends as they surface, be it through social media or otherwise.
Stepping out of the known and into the possible is a great cure for a jaded mindset. Be thankful, be brave, and above all, don’t be bored.
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