I’m in the freelance business—freelance fiction copyediting, to be exact. It isn’t exactly a profession where I can expect to retire with a gold watch (did I mention I’m writing a novel, too?). The book world—and the future of work in general—have been undergoing rapid change. Flexibility and, in turn, uncertainty are the name of the game, now more so than ever. Here are a few mantras that help me stay positive.
- I embrace my choice to go freelance. There’s a reason why freelancers swap our cubicles for the kitchen table. Maybe a corporate environment isn’t the best fit for you, or it’s difficult to find a full-time gig in your job or industry. Don’t second-guess your decision out of fear. Instead, educate yourself on how to effectively run your own business.In Austin we have valuable resources like the Jumpstart program through the Texas Freelance Association, Michelle Nickolaisen’s generous online resources over at Bombchelle Industries, and the events and resources provided by Freelance Austin (including this blog). If you’d like to read a whole book on the subject, you’ve got The Freelancer’s Bible or My So-Called Freelance Life.Freelancing isn’t always easy, but there’s more help and information out there on how to do it well than there’s ever been.
- I’m grateful for my local community. Isolation is a hazard of the job, and the online world can only do so much. Freelancers comprise about a third of the workforce, so there are now a number of professional groups and coworking spaces—and knitting circles and book clubs—that provide an opportunity to connect with others. If there’s a group you’d like to join that doesn’t exist yet, see if you can start one (I did!).“Networking” implies a means to an end. I like to think of it as just hanging out. You never know who you’ll meet and how they’ll impact your life.
- I accept downturns or breaks between projects. After the initial jolt of “Ohmigosh I don’t have another project lined up the second I finish this one,” remind yourself of the myriad other things you’re interested in but never seem to have time for. You’ll likely find inspiration in unlikely places.One upside to billable work slowing down is that it opens up more time for marketing your business to find even better new clients. No matter what comes your way, you’ll be all right. And remember: Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen.
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