Working for yourself has become easier than ever these days. With the power of some simple website creation tools, easy to use accounting software, and your standard email, getting started is as easy as powering up in the morning and finding the systems that work best for you.
But the business of freelancing is not always so tangible. What happens when a relationship is more than a click away and finding clients is harder than getting more followers on Instagram?
Here are three things that helped me navigate my own-employment world and hopefully they can be there to guide others too:
1. Be ok (and learn to love) the instability:
Sometimes, you are on top of the world with projects. Regular client meetings, a steady work flow, and a brand new portfolio piece you are pretty damn proud of. Others, you are scratching your head wondering what to do with your days and contemplating if you are ever going to eat again. The instability is one of the hardest things to get used to with self-employment, but also one of the biggest perks. Use this “down time” to revamp your portfolio or contact some of those clients you’ve been thinking of and just haven’t had the push to yet.
2. Find a mentor:
Unlike working in an office full of co-workers to ask wonderful questions to, as a solo-preneur, you need to find your own network. Finding a mentor may not be so easy, but after attending a few events (see below), reaching out to old colleagues who have also gone solo, or connecting with other freelancers on the internet (not really my style, but I’ve seen it work for others!), you can start to get a feel for who you can trust and see is willing to help you. It is beyond helpful to have someone as a sounding board to ask questions to with everything from how to deal with a certain client situation, to which software is better to use. Who knows, they may even have some work to pass off to you when their plates get too full too.
3. Be ok with networking:
Working from home all day by yourself sounds amazing, until you realize that you have haven’t seen people in days and seriously need to leave the house to just confirm that you aren’t a hermit. For me, networking started out as a mere attempt to meet other like-minded creatives and start to navigate a new scene I wasn’t familiar with yet. Joining groups and getting out there not only introduces you to new and interesting people, but is a great way to meet everyone from clients to mentors in one room.