I have been freelance writing for about two years and I will start by saying it has not been easy. Gone are the days where I only had #1 to look out for and an insatiable appetite for shoes on sale. Now, I am finding myself burning energy a lot quicker, or in a more accurate sense, my energy being zapped by the little human that looks like me, sounds like me and bosses me around.
Like me, you’re doing the grand juggling act, carrying endless responsibilities and multi-tasking like a pro. Not only do we have a career to maintain and new heights to pursue, but bums to wipe and hungry mouths that need feeding (as well as wiping).
Nevertheless, in my freelance writing start-up biz journey there have been moments of ‘failing forward’ that hurt like hell at the time but, in retrospect, I don’t regret. I take great pleasure in knowing that I can gather a collection of innocent mistakes (with a few dumbass moments thrown in there) and offer some roaring advice from someone whose dysfunction somewhat resembles Bridget Jones.
Shit’s about to get real. Let’s get ready to rumble!
1. Worry about what other people think
OMG is this not a common issue amongst us people-pleasers or what?! When I began, I was riddled with anxiety about what my friends thought. I had so much concern for their opinion about me that I held back a lot when it came to being vocal about my new endeavours.
In conversation, I would downplay my skills and creativity, to the point where I cared more about people’s approval than my own success. It really killed my confidence, which took a good year or so to build up.
If I could do my time again, I’d go guns blazing, hair-in-the-wind Thelma and Louise style, without a care in the world. Only recently have I developed the confidence to sass to take my work, my business and plans to dominate help the world to the next level and that definitely takes you up a notch when it comes to scoring freelance writing work.
Life is just way too short to be pre-occupied with the approval/disapproval of others. As the saying goes, decisions divide. You can’t and won’t please everybody. To propel yourself forward just be 100% yourself, do your thing and don’t be apologetic or timid about it in any way.
2. Do too much all at once (or nothing at all)
I’m one of those ‘all or nothing’ types when it comes to eating healthy, exercise and just about anything that requires effort. I would swing from frantically running three different businesses (e-commerce, marketing and lifestyle writing) to just being completely overwhelmed and flaking out.
The slightest hint of rejection, failure or resistance would send me into a wailing mess. I found it difficult to navigate the inevitable highs and lows that come with running a business as I wasn’t used to the unpredictability. Coming from a corporate background, I was accustomed to being an office drone. You input work for 40 hours, you get X output in pay. Day in, day out. Year in, year out, multiplied by 15.
Start-ups are always difficult in the first few years, but I could’ve made it a lot easier for myself if I learnt to tolerate the uncertainty that comes with it. You really have to be prepared to work hard and make a lot of mistakes in the beginning and at the same time, pace yourself to avoid burn-out. Slow and steady always wins the race!
3. Believe that overnight success actually happens
Unless you are the producer of a sensational K-pop single with hideously bad dancing, then overnight success is not real. It doesn’t happen for most of us. I would even pull a statistic out of thin air and say that 99% of humans who’ve attained any success have done so out of sheer effort and progression of time.
I spent a lot of time pouring over empty gimmicks by sociopaths on the internet that promised a 3-step blueprint for immediate success, hoping that I’d find my ticket to a short-cut. Simply put, life offers no such thing. Nobody enjoys delayed gratification and yet, you can’t rush the process and make it go faster.
I’m thrilled to say I’ve finally said goodbye to my desk job and will now be freelance writing as a full time profession ??? From small beginnings in 2001, straight after I graduated from high school and got my first “real job” (back then marketing was as sophisticated as stuffing flyers into envelopes ✉️?) I had no idea doing such a monotonous task would somehow lead to my dream job. This journey was definitely not a linear path, and certainly not an easy one. I started my "idea" in 2012, and much has happened in between then and now. With a few false starts, self-reflection, testing of the waters, trying new ventures, multiple failures and “diversification”, I finally found that sweet spot. And, in between all that I had a baby, went bat-shit crazy and became quite ill, which actually became the catalyst for writing and publishing honest and authentic content. It became beauty for ashes. This entire process took SIXTEEN YEARS. Just remember, overnight hustles don’t happen, but through the process of testing, trying and failing forward, dreams really do come true. You just gotta get past the inescapable moments of rain and thunder to finally reach that rainbow ?⛈??☀️? “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28 NLT) #romans828 #womeninbusiness #womenoffaith #dreambig #dreamjob #blogsandbanter
Instead of the futility of trying to fast track, it’s better to take small and deliberate steps on a consistent basis. For me, that looks like writing fresh new content and publishing it regularly. I send out email blasts and push out content through my social pages almost daily. I try and offer advice and support to other budding writers by joining LinkedIn and Facebook discussion groups.
All these little things add up to big things and eventually, it has a snowball effect. Keep the momentum going in growing your business, brand and social profile and you’ll see results in due time! Be ballsy and don’t stop putting yourself out there to the world – someone somewhere needs what you’re offering, so keep going and never give up!