If I had told my younger self that I would be where I’m at today, I would have laughed. I never thought I could make money off of writing. Or photography. Or marketing. I have zero professional education in these fields. When I first started out, there weren’t a lot of people doing what I’m doing in coffee. It was difficult to find people to look up to, career-wise. Now, there are loads of people in these areas who specialize in coffee.
Of course, none of this happened overnight. I had originally set a life goal to eat, drink, travel, and write for a living – and COVID aside – I have hit that goal for several years. It’s been a wild ride so far and despite all the planning I do, no year has turned out the way I plan it.
You know how I love my bullet points, so here’s what I’ve learned so far:
- Don’t sacrifice your values
- Saying no is empowering and say it often
- Say yes to the exciting and scary
- Say no to projects that don’t excite you
- Boundaries are so important. You do not have to have email notifications on if you do not work in emergency situations.
- It’s ok to not be a generalist. I want to stay working in coffee so I say no to any consulting work outside of this industry.
- Celebrate all of the wins, no matter how small
- Mental health is not as scary a topic to discuss with clients
- Never stop learning. I hate the term “expert.” Maybe I’ll expand on this in a different post but in general, expert implies you know basically everything about that topic! Which, I got into these fields because I want to keep learning.
- If you charge too low, you get taken advantage of. Not just with a difficult client but the perceived work value is low. Set a base rate that you will not go below.
- When you can, outsource what you don’t want to do so you can free up more time to do what you enjoy.
- Creativity is hard to come by and sometimes the creative process just means that you push through for the deadline. You can’t always wait around for it to hit.
- Your process is yours. No one can dictate it. You may not write quickly and that’s ok.
- You are still valid even if you haven’t done that thing in a while. You are still a writer even if you haven’t written or published anything lately.
This isn’t an exhaustive list and you might note that they aren’t specifically about the business part of freelancing. I’m a freelancer by choice not by circumstance. I’m very humbled to be traveling through this winding path that is freelancing. Thanks for being part of my journey.