That's right, it's been a year (well a little over a year now) since I quit my miserable yet steady office job for the chaos and unpredictability of self-employment.
I left my job, which was your basic customer service administrative type of gig, to pursue a career as a freelance writer. There have been a lot of ups and downs but mostly it's been a transformative experience that has helped me learn a lot about myself.
Keep reading to find out what I've discovered in the last 12 months, and how things have changed.
Self-employment is the shit
This one might seem obvious, but self-employment doesn't work for everyone. Luckily for me, though, it's working out swimmingly.
First of all, I like doing things on my own, and I always have even at past jobs where I had to work on a team. My brain just functions better when I don't have a have to keep up with the demands of office culture.
I've never been a fan of the forced togetherness teamwork crap that comes with working at offices. The potlucks, pressure to attend happy hours, and team building activities are all things I can gladly live without. Not to mention the unnecessary meetings, town halls, and formal office bullshit that comes with Corporate America.
I'm much happier being responsible for me, myself, and I without any distractions. There's something much more rewarding about a job well done when it's a personal client as opposed to someone else's.
To put it simply, self-employment has turned out to be the first time I legitimately care about a job.
There's no going back
Well, technically there is, but I sure as hell don't want to go back to the normal 9 to 5 office life! This has been my most successful run at being a self-employed, something that I tried a couple times before to no avail, and I intend to keep it that way.
So even though there is a possibility of having to go back, I know that it's up to me to avoid that fate.
I may have failed in the past, but my failures helped me see what I was doing wrong so I could tweak do things right, and so far it's working. This time around, I've been more focused on dedicating time to the right things and managing my time more responsibly.
I regularly watch tutorials, read articles, blogs, and take e-courses to help me stand out and manage my business better because now I know how important these things are. I've also put a lot more into networking and marketing myself.
Whether it's learning a new skill, building my personal portfolio or trying to find the right people to connect with, I'm willing to put in the effort just so I can avoid ever having to go back to working for someone else.
I'm tougher than I thought
I'm not talking about physical toughness (although I'd like to think I could hold my own 😆), I'm talking about mental toughness because having a self-sustaining career requires more than technical skills and connections. It also requires resilience.
As much as I love freelancing, not every moment of every day has been filled with writing, photography, and financial success. There have been plenty of times when I had to pick up odd jobs here and there just to make ends meet.
From helping operate a photo booth at an elementary school to cleaning AirBnBs to and selling things on eBay, I've done what I can to make sure I don't have to start submitting applications.
When I look back on previous attempts at freelancing, I think this was a huge contributor to my lack of success. I gave up too easily. I didn't think of things like that, and if I did, I wasn't willing to put in the effort it took to generate extra income.
Now, I understand that an entrepreneur has to be willing to do whatever it takes in order to stay on track.
No more writing for other people
Maybe the most frustrating realization I've had is that I am now aware that I don't like writing for other people.
That isn't to say that I don't like writing, but writing for other people and their brands created a big, unexpected hole in my heart.
I was doing something I love, but as the last year progressed, I kept feeling more and more dissatisfied. Recently, I gave these newfound emotions some thought, and I realized that I'm just not into writing for other people. But I have to say, I'm not really surprised about this since I got out of graphic design for similar reasons.
It might seem strange to others, but I know myself and I like to create purely for my own enjoyment and artistic expression
My creativity, whether it's writing, photography, or even how I dress, is purely for myself, which means that it doesn't flow as freely if I'm doing it according to someone else's requirements.
More defined goals
Coming to the conclusion that freelance writing isn't really my thing might have been disappointing, but it has made a few things clearer.
I've realized that instead of spending the bulk of my time creating for other people, I'd rather focus on building my own brand of content and dedicating more time and energy to my photography business.
Deep down, I've known this for a while, but I think a lack of confidence in myself and my work made me question if I could really make it my full-time career. But since working for myself as a writer, I've come to believe that anything is possible if I put in the energy to make it happen.
There are so many creative peeps out there with YouTube Channels, running successful blogs, and getting photography clients. Thinking about all this made me think, "If all these people can do it, why can't I?"
And with that, I decided to focus full-time on gaining more traction in my photography career as well as amping up the content I produce for my blog. I've also decided to start a YouTube channel dedicated to photography too!
I'm proud of myself
Working for myself, I no longer have the luxury of just showing up, clocking in, and getting paid regardless of my effort. Instead, it's up to me to make sure my bills are covered every month.
Every day isn't packed with work, and there have been plenty of days when I don't earn anything at all. There have even been some days when I just wanted to give up altogether, but I get through it and I keep on truckin'.
I feel proud that I've gotten to this point, even as I change my direction because I know it took a lot of hard work to get to where I am, and the only person responsible for my progress is myself.
Having support means a lot
Yes, getting clients, getting work, and managing myself have all been solo tasks, but I probably wouldn't have gotten started if it wasn't for the support of my family and friends.
My husband has especially helped me out. He has always believed in my ambitions, even as they've changed, and he encouraged me to quit my job when I broached the subject. He's been there to listen as I vent about my frustrations (since I lack coworkers) and he's been patient when I'm waiting on a late payment from a client.
Having this kind of support from him, my friends, and other members of my family helps motivate me when I get discouraged. I'm not sure if I would have I'm lasted as long without all the good vibes!
It's time to see what the future holds
Alright, that's 1 entrepreneurial year down and now it's time to see how many more I can mark off the calendar. It's been a wild ride so far, and I'm looking forward to another year of the self-employment life! 😁
Subscribe to keep up with all my happenings, and don't forget to follow my blog on Bloglovin!