The story of the time I saw a stupid inspirational quote and it pushed me to start my freelance career.
The quote was “A year from now you’ll wish you started today.” And today is a year from when I started.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not a “social media inspirational quote” kind of person. Usually they are about fitness, dumping your man, or other things I’m generally not interested in. Once and a while I see one that resonates with me and am like “oh, that’s neat,” screen cap it and forget it. You know, so I can find it next time my iPhone runs out of space and I start purging dog photos. But those quote finds are pretty rare. Let’s be real. My dog photo to all-other-things ratio is about 100:1.
Anyway, back to epic life changes.
Lets back it up to 2014 for a moment.
I had been working as a designer at a branding studio for 3 years in Detroit. What was my dream job, started deteriorating into a space where I realized I couldn’t live up to my full potential. They were wishing I was less assertive and I, well friends, that’s why I say we need feminism.
2014 was full of a lot of dreams. I wanted more control, more freedom and more say in my work, how I worked, and why I worked. I started running the show on some of my projects, and really started feeling comfortable leading conversations with clients and selling my work to them. Making the plunge into freelance had been in the back of my mind, and that little voice was getting louder and louder as the year went on. But things that are unknown are scary. We all know that.
Come January 2015, after about the 10th time my husband asked me “Why don’t you just quit your job?” I decided to start updating my portfolio site. Even if I decided against going freelance… at least I had it.
As time went on, I found myself waking up in the morning hating that I was forcing myself to work somewhere when my head had already moved on.
With my portfolio updated, I had the tool that I needed to start freelancing, but I was just afraid. Afraid of all of the obvious things that might make someone nervous when starting their own small business. What if I don’t get any clients? What if I hate it? What if I seriously suck at all things and won’t know until after I quit my job and decide that I really need it back?! Oh, silly worries.
Then one day I was scrolling through Instagram and saw this quote:
I was all like... Yeah. Cool. Type floating over a blurry photo of a beach. Fuck off.
If only it was that easy to “start today”. Stupid inspirational quotes don’t know me. I’m not ready to start today. I have all of these things that I need to do first. I need to figure out my business name, I need to figure out what new equipment I need. And I need money to pay for it. And taxes? I don’t even know where to start. “I can’t just pick up and start today.” Also known as: moments in life when you’re the only person holding you back.
Weeks went by. Everyday I woke up, annoyed at my situation and myself, and one day I started thinking “What if it was a year from now… how far along could I be? What would I be doing today? What would it look like? Would I love it? Would I regret it? Or, in a year, would I still be working at this job?” I got to the point where I started thinking about it constantly. After months of finding myself thinking about it everyday and waking up wanting the same exact thing… I decided that March 11, 2015 was my day to start.
That evening, I started sending cold emails to potential clients. People always ask me how I got started freelancing. Literally, this is how.
I sent 5 identical emails (*insert agency name*) to places I found online that I thought looked cool and might align with what I love to do. I honestly thought that people would be like “Seriously… why would we want to work with a part-time freelancer that isn’t even available during business hours? Psh, please.”
I was very wrong. I started working on freelance work part-time in April, worked double-duty for three months and left my job on July 2nd to become a full-time freelancer (just in time for Independence Day weekend — yes I did that on purpose).
Today, one year later, I am still freelancing. I am insanely busy and have more work than I know what to do with sometimes. I make more money than they told me I would ever make at my last job, have worked on large brands and am well respected by my clients. Plus, restriction-free attire (yoga pants, no bra) and life (naps as needed) approach to work really couldn’t be better.
I am so thankful I decided to start a year ago today.