The Most Important Lessons I’ve Learned in My First Year Freelancing

My dad always told me that the older you got, the faster time went by. Maybe that’s true, because I realized the other day that it’s been almost a year since I started freelancing. The journey has been up and down and all around, but I can’t deny how much I’ve grown in the past year.

I started freelancing as soon as I graduated from college, and the 11-ish months since then have somehow felt more filled and meaningful than many previous years of school combined. Of course I was learning in school, but freelancing and being my own boss has it’s own unique way of teaching you lessons every single day.

Each night I reflect in a journal, and lessons from the day are always included. Some lessons I’m taught over and over (and over), while some are more fleeting. An overarching theme I’ve discovered in my year as a post-grad is that you are not alone. Any thoughts, feelings, fears, and dreams you have — I guarantee there are others with the same. I always find comfort in seeing that, so I hope any of these lessons and reflections can act as a reminder that you’re growing everyday and that you’re not the only one. If you’re looking for a how-to guide for freelancing, this ain’t it.

Welcome to my diary.

  1. Always personalize your messages
  2. Everything is always in balance
  3. Tasks will take as long as you give them
  4. Create more than you consume
  5. Trust the process
  6. Find a morning and evening routine that you love, and stick to it
  7. Seek clarity before action, but also…
  8. “Ready, Fire, Aim”. You’re never going to be fully ready. So just start.
  9. Being uncomfortable or nervous sucks, but I promise that’s where the growth happens
  10. Take the afternoon walk outside, you’ll be better for it
  11. Sometimes you really beat yourself up, check yourself.
  12. When you feel focused and motivated, work it. When you don’t, leave it.
  13. Be nice, but stand your ground
  14. Trust the process, everything is falling into place behind the scenes
  15. Pay yourself first (well, after you set aside your tax money)
  16. What got you here, won’t get you there
  17. Don’t try to chase too many thoughts, ideas, plans, or emotions at once
  18. Set goals and intentions across all areas of your life, you can get so wrapped up in business all the time
  19. The only time you should “worry” about something, is at the exact moment you have to face it and resolve it. Try not to poison yourself with premature anxiety.
  20. Keep a journal

Are there any lessons you’ve learned recently that aren’t on the list? If so, please share!

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