There are a lot of reasons one might choose to begin freelancing. Some of these reasons are admittedly wonderful: you are your own boss, you can work when and where you like, and you can choose your own clients and projects. You can also do other, more personal things like stay at home with your kids, take extra vacations with your family, and, if you’re like me, you can spend more time with your military spouse when they are around. There are a lot of highlights.
But for every good part, there’s a counterbalance. There are long days and even longer weeks, tight deadlines with no extra hands, the pressure that comes from the weight of your business being solely on your shoulders… Oh, and then there’s tax day.
It can’t all be sunshine and roses or everyone would do it and I would be out of a job.
Before I began freelancing 13 months ago, I felt like many of my friends and many other millennials: lost. I graduated with a degree I wasn’t quite sure what to do with, took the long way around to figure out that grad school wasn’t for me, and bounced from job to job before I landed a position at a marketing firm in Raleigh, North Carolina. Even once I excitedly signed the contract for my first salary position, these things–which were all very different–had one thing in common, and that thing is that I wasn’t passionate about any of them. The incredible drive I felt in college for my major and my courses wasn’t even remotely there. The thrill of a heated discussion in my Argumentation Analysis and Advocacy class or the intrigue of Communication and Persuasion was gone. It left the building when I took off in my Mini Cooper with my diploma, and I spent the next four years searching for it, trying to find my passion again.
So in January 2015, I took the plunge to find it–my passion–and I signed up for an Upwork account (oDesk at the time). I filled out my profile, vamped up my resume, wrote a killer cover letter, and landed several jobs. And as quickly as I hit submit on each application, I felt that passion come rushing back to me.
Four years–almost 1,500 days–and I found it. It was back.
Freelancing is hard. It’s full of hard work, hard days, and hard decisions. Some days are incredible, complete with connections made and feedback that lifts you up where you once were heavy. Some days are tiring. Oh, so exhausting. They make you wonder if you made the right decision; if you should keep sticking it to the man; expressing your individuality via your lack of a 9-5 schedule. You may make more than you’ve ever made in your life or you may start off with just enough money for a Chick-Fil-A combo with a fruit bowl and a Dr. Pepper.
But each day is absolutely worth it.
Whether it’s freelancing or basket weaving, find what drives you. Find what allows your creativity to seep from your veins, what excites you each and every day. Look for that feeling–you know the one–that ultimately lets you know you made the right decision. The one that brings you pride and lifts you up.
Find your passion.
And when you find it, like I finally have, be sure you hold on tight. It’s a wild ride.