Hello everyone. I’m starting a new series called the freelance life, purely because of the fact that I’m freelancing now, and have been for more than a year and a half. I thought this would be a good way to note down thoughts, advice and general discussion about freelancing. All this applies to any field- with one common factor: you’re working on your own, for yourself and you’re making all the rules as you go along. That’s what a freelancer does, isn’t it? So here’s the first essay of the series. Hope you like it and hope it makes you ponder about things.
The Freelance Life 1 : Looking beyond ( the ordinary)
When you’ve made that decision to work for yourself- first thing, congrats! It’s a brave decision and one that not many people are strong enough to make. Now let’s get down to the nitty gritties of this whole wonderful yet slightly daunting situation. What happens is- you may have a thought of what you’re going to do. You may not. A lot of people say you should never consider freelancing if you don’t have a proposed plan in mind. I agree and disagree. It’s great to have everything planned out- but what usually happens is- nothing usually goes according to plan. And why should it? You’re moving off the track, you’re creating your own road to walk on.
When I started, I just knew one thing- I wanted to use my art and writing skills to forge a career for myself. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do- at all. I’m not kidding, I had no idea about me even writing a blog, I didn’t really read any blogs at all. I liked social media like Instagram and Pinterest, but I never really considered the power of it. I basically did not know anything that I do now about freelancing and website design- things I’ve learnt through trial and error, confusion and lots of research.
But that’s all the technical part. That part is the easy bit. You want to present yourself and your work- and yeah, okay, you’ll get there with endless Google searches and seeing what’s happening around- on the world, on the internet. But. The main thing is- what do you want to do?
I liked art and photography and writing. I knew that. I wanted to go in that line of work and enjoy the process. The only problem was- there was no process. I had to create one for myself- and that’s the struggle everyone who starts on their own has to go through. Making their own opportunities.
Nowadays, a lot of people decide: They want to sell their products. They want to start and maintain a blog about beauty / lifestyle / cooking / diy etc. I write this blog and another blog called Surely Simple, where I basically post art, diy, food, travel and basically anything and everything that falls in the broad category of a lifestyle blog. Mine is way more art oriented though, because that’s what I do best. However, I didn’t come to this decision instantly. It happened along the rocky path of uncertainty, lol. At first, when I got the website, I didn’t even touch it for months. I was too pressurized to actually create something, and I spent wayy too long just doubting myself and my skills. Then in March, somehow I made the decision to just start. I learnt more about photography, the technical details of post planning, html and creating a website. I did it all by myself, and still do everything on my own, because frankly that’s just how I roll. And then when I got a bit more confident, I started talking to other creatives and appreciating their skills.
It’s easy to feel isolated as a creative person- but never fall into that trap. We are social beings, and even though the internet feels like open, solo terrain, don’t ever become narrow minded and think that you’re the only one who creates work. There are millions of people out there, working on their creative pursuits, and I really admire them and feel motivated by the way they work. That’s actually one of the reasons why I started the Opinion9 Inspiration series, because people make some beautiful work out there and I appreciate how everyone has their own distinctive style and process. It makes me want to improve, makes me want to learn more.
Looking beyond is so important because when you’re starting out- you probably do not have an exact predefined plan. And you shouldn’t either. Having a rigid plan before actually getting some work experience limits you.
What you should know before planning a freelance career:
– your strengths in your work ( evaluate what you’re currently good at)
– your likes and dislikes (do you like something so much that you can work on it without getting bored? ..)
– be prepared for learning and re learning ( there are skills you need to acquire for your work- what might they be? For me, my skills to acquire list include: more advanced photoshop, technical practice and know-how of photography, learning code for website design, sharpening skills when it comes to scanning and processing my artwork, practicing writing skills frequently so they don’t get rusty etc)
What’s the most important thing- be prepared for uncertainty. Be prepared for days when you don’t have any idea of what you’re doing and why you started. Be ready to try new things if things you planned aren’t going as well as expected. And the most crucial thing- believe in yourself and keep your eyes and mind open for possibilities, ideas, thoughts and learning.