So, it’s safe to say Freelancing has well and truly taken off in Australia. As of October 2015 there were an estimated 4.1m Australian’s freelancing (vs 3.7m in Oct 2014). Well, well, well, it seems I’ve become a bit of a statistic. While I can’t speak for the rest of Australia, I can definitely shed some light on why I think freelancing rocks and 5 tips every freelancer should know before embarking on the free life.
First, let me take you back. Back to my first day back at work after my one-year vay-cay aka maternity leave aka THE HARDEST YEAR OF MY LIFE. There I am, it’s 7am, I’ve somehow squeezed my baby bearing hips back into my Country Road pencil skirt and I’m rocking a pair of heels to boot. The anticipation of returning to office culture, weeing in peace and having actual adult conversations is almost too much to bear. I ride that bus all the way to work and I ride it good. Taking all the time in the world to browse through Insta, re-apply my lippy and generally just enjoy the space out.
Fast forward to 6 months time and I’m barely managing. In between demanding deadlines, nothing in the way of family support and a kid that manages to contract inner-ear infections bi-monthly, I’m a shadow of my former self. I’m failing at work; I’m failing at home and basically failing at life.
It became evident to me that this lifestyle just wasn’t sustainable. I began to question everything. Is it even possible to work and be a mum? Should I just bite the bullet, quit my career and work at Coles? NO I thought. NO. There has to be a way. We fight for equality, demand choices but are then expected to work for the man rain, hail, inner-ear infection or shine. NO I thought, NO not me.
So, I took a plunge and launched my own freelancing home business, The Savvy Assistant. Basically, everything I was qualified to do but in a freelance space. Having never freelanced before, I was really thrown in the deep end. Don’t go in blind like I did. I’m coming up to my one-year anniversary freelancing and have a few pearls of wisdom I’d like to share with you.
Table of Content
1. Find your tribe
Freelancing rocks but it can be lonely. I find sometimes I’m so busy that I stay in my trackies, not interacting with the world till 5pm and I haven’t even noticed! So, find a tribe of people you can interact with and treat like colleagues. There is an array of wonderful Freelance groups available to you. All you need is a bit of alone time with you and Mr. Google and you will find your fit.
2. Learn how to say NO
It’s tempting when you’re first starting out to jump at any enquiry and take work on that’s perhaps not suited to your skill level. You know what? You got into this game to work the way you want to work, working on projects that you want to work on. Stay true to yourself.
3. Wellness is important
Yes, I know what you’re thinking. “Wellness? What, while you sit at home all day in peace? Sook!” Well here’s a little tip. I work more hours now than I ever have. Why? Well for one, the work no longer feels arduous, rather a creative space that I can fly in. Loving what I do so much makes it hard to switch off. The other reason, we’re SO readily available now! I have clients email me at 10.30pm and I have to fight myself not to reply. Enjoy the freedom freelancing allows you and take some time for YOU.
4. Clients are not going to come to you on a silver platter
“What do you mean?! I set up my website, I have an ABN, where the clients at?! “ Yes, don’t freak out but potential clients won’t automatically know you exist. You need to network and grow your contact list. You need to market your services and position yourself as a knowledge expert. Join Facebook Groups, make friends, grow your following and take the time to market YOURSELF.
5. Learning is a continuous thing
The world is faced paced and the need to keep up has never been so strong. If you don’t know something, that’s ok but make the conscientious effort to up-skill. Think of your brain as an investment. Every piece of knowledge you acquire will eventually pay off. Content is king and everyone has something to offer. Sign up for relevant e-newsletters, participate in a short course or undertake your own research. Just keep reading and keep learning, being schooled is where it’s at.
So, fast forward to now and here I am, in my PJ’s working, my son tucked safety in bed, literally pinching myself at the lifestyle I’ve created. Is it hard work? Yes. But you know what, it’s MY work, MY life and if my son woke up with a middle ear infection tomorrow, guess what? I can take the day to care for him, cuddle him and smother him with love. And that is what we, as women have been fighting for all these years. Freedom to live, love, work and BE. Just BE.
“Sometimes your dream job does not exist, you must create it.”
After having her son Oliver, Marissa took a leap of faith and started her own business, The Savvy Assistant. Marissa specialises in copywriting, marketing and social media management. Marissa is a self-confessed caffeine addict by day, wine enthusiast by night and a ‘sometimes’ fitness junkie. She blogs about social media and freelance life. Her free time is spent wrangling the cheeky but charming men in here, Adam & Oliver.