Why I Love Being a Freelancer
The snatch feeling for a millennial like me reminds to Guy Ritchies’ British comedy with Brad Pitt talking in a very special Irish accent. This homonym movie, “Snatch”, refers to a particular technique of weightlifting that probably all the cross-fit lovers know and practice.
A snatch is something that happen suddenly, it has a lot of different meanings. To me it’s like the way you feel when you move from an employee lifestyle to an entrepreneur, from selling someone else’s products and brands to the very unique merchandise of your own knowledge.
When your are the kind of millennial that constantly works on the web, like I do, the snatch is a sort of power relation between the hands and keyboard, which is almost an extension of the body. This relationship acquires greater power when the keyboard belongs to a computer that you own, that you carry wherever you go, that you’ve bought with your savings.
When you are always hunting for your temporary office with a decent WiFi is really different than going every day, at the same time to your corporate office. Tastes. When your office is everyday a different bar and every night the same legs on the same bed, you might have a dirty keyboard because of the simultaneous act of typing and eating, but as the word freelance states, you are free. Free of choosing when to work, how and especially where. The result is the crucial point, you can get there hitting different roads, and it doesn’t care, only the result matters.
After the snatch comes the research of the optimum, the perfect balance for your work life and your life.It will be always harder to set this invisible fence between those two sides of your daily routine.
You can write for a living, design for a living or be doing whatever else you like, but when you feel the snatch for the first time, the question is always the same.
Are you ready to be your own boss 24/7?
The way you prefer to work and the way you organize your work life tells a lot about your willingness to feel the snatch. Your life is not about what you studied, where you are working, what your family business is, or the city in which you live; it is a mindset affected by everything you have done and all the people you have met. However, what really stands out are your feelings and personality. If for example you suffer from anxiety, it is likely that anxiety will cover all this range of snatch feelings and it will be harder for you to deal with deadlines. You have to be free to catch the snatch.
I am probably an impulsive person, but would not advise anyone to move from a regular job to something in the entrepreneurial world, at least without testing it first.
When you feel the snatch, and start thinking the typical “what if,” you can try working in the evenings or weekends. A trial is essential for two reasons: first, you will see if you like the job, and second, you will see if potential clients like you and your job as well. You need to practice.
Entrepreneurs are able to see clients and possible connections everywhere, not just while working for friends (or friends of friends). If you work in the social media like me, you can sit almost anywhere and start thinking about what you would do as a social media manager to increase the number of clients, imagining all the full tables, like an interior designer moving all of the furniture into imaginary new position, but thinking of posts instead of seats.
It is all about trust and learning. Trust between you and your clients, and learning to be the best at what you do. Communication is important too. Personal branding is everything.
Many people wonder about a more nomadic lifestyle, maybe doing it one day when they feel it. Not now. This approach tends to set up for regrets, such as “I wish I did,” or “why am I working for someone else for this long?” When you hear the call, when you feel the snatch, it isn’t the best option, it’s the riskiest option, but my advise is “do not procrastinate or you will never be ready”. The worst situation is when you unable to move forward, especially when someone offers you a great start, the first client. Entrepreneurs hunt for new opportunities, they do not wait to receive an iCal with the first client.
However, trouble and big decisions are lurking around. If you have felt the snatch, the ‘je ne sais quoi,’ which brought you to a place where you have met a more motivated and conscious you, you have already crossed the line. Do not panic. For most people, this is a very difficult time, as it seems like deleting something when is just changing. Moving to a freelance career does not mean there is no way to go back to your office job.
It is a long way to the top if you want to live as your own boss.
When you take the decision to move forward and you have to deal with your boss, expressing him what you are going to do next and why you are leaving him, you probably won’t sleep that much in the previous days. The problem is not the talk it self, it’s more how you’ll tell him “I need to talk to you”. You can’t write it down in an email, and you can’t as well shout it during a team meeting, even if you’ll wonder about this option.
That limbo phase, this sort of trial period, to me, does not really exist. It is extremely difficult to see someone working for a startup in his free time, and suddenly transformed into Forbes’ 30 under 30. I believe it is hard to see someone with an employee attitude shifting into a more formal business executive. It rarely happens. The only living person who can deal with two different chief executive jobs is Jack Dorsey.
What essentially happens is that before the snatch, you are already doing things to get you closer to it, simple things: for example, dating people who can relate to your future job or who can connect to a potential partner. Inevitably, you will discover a strong link to your existing contacts, or to many people in the same job or complementary jobs, like a copywriter for a graphic designer, or vice versa. If you are doing these things I might have already decided.
When you make decisions about your career, it is critical to be 100% passionate about it, you should like to hang out with professionals like you, and you have to start doing all works needed. You will be the creative, the account and sales man. You’ll have to fight for you freelancer rights. You don’t need to convince everyone that you made the right choice, it’s not a matter of having others approval, it’s a matter of living with your own rules.