Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Why I liked being a freelancer





While freelancing wasn't all rainbows and butterflies, but it wasn't all bad, either. There were actually quite a few good things that came out of freelancing.

Finding community and building a network
Prior to moving to Miami, I did not know a single soul here. I had heard about a cousin on K's side of the family, but that was it. So I got to work. I began volunteering at Dress for Success Miami. K and I got to know the long-lost cousins and got plugged into a local church. Now, a year later, I can say that I have some very dear friends here in Miami—people I can text for a quick dinner or shopping trip. Friends (yay). I also got to make connections that weren't only personally fulfilling, but also professionally beneficial. Not only was I finding people who could toss some opportunities my way, but I was also building up my ability to be a resource for others.

Trying new things
There were a lot of firsts during my year as a freelancer, though not all work related. Sure, there was my first BNI meeting (which was great, but I already knew I wasn't staying freelance and it is pricy). My first business proposal. My first homemade gnocchi. My first diaper change. My first speed-friending session and first speed-friending friend. My first nonprofit board experience. My first book proposal (still in progress). And my second in-person glance at a Kardashian.

Refocusing my career
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, freelancing gave me a much better picture of what I want to be doing in life. I learned (a bit late in the game) that I hate grantwriting. It makes me tear my hair out. And just because I'm good at it and it pays well doesn't mean it's what I should be doing. My freelancing experience also reminded me of how much I loved working for a nonprofit that aims to serve others and bring about greater good. While much of my freelance work was still with nonprofits, it also required a lot of time spent concentrating on myself and my business, which to me was a distraction.

Free time
Let's face it. The best part about freelancing was the free time I had when I (1) wasn't drumming up business, which I hated doing, and (2) wasn't working, which I didn't do much of because I wasn't doing (1). This was free time to make our place a little more homey, try out some new projects, hang out with new friends and really just hang out. I was a stay-at-home mom with no kids (and a husband who does his own laundry and ironing—score). After several whirlwind years of full-time work, freelancing on the side, blogging, serving in church, being a wife, flying to see family and friends frequently and other commitments, I was beat. So tired. The past year was pretty refreshing, but I'm ready to get back in the game.

8 comments:

  1. You did speedfriending?! Awesome. The rest is so interesting to hear - I get some of the good stuff as a telecommuter, which I enjoy, but sometimes I miss the work community too.

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  2. I learned something from every one of my previous jobs, and you seemed to learn a lot from your time as a freelancer. You're right that trying new things can show us what we like AND what we don't like. For me, I never want to send a permission to reprint request again!

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    1. I'm with you — I've loved some aspects of every job I've ever had. I think I felt afraid to say no to some types of work being sort of new in my career, but now that I have some years under my belt, I definitely feel more confident specializing and delegating. :)

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  3. I totally get the being beat part. It's good to unwind at some point.

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  4. I thought this post was really interesting. I'm glad to hear that you still felt productive during your freelancing career, even though it wasn't what you expected it to be.

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    1. Thanks, Alex. I definitely did enjoy parts of it, but in the end I knew I'd be happier back in an office. :)

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