I Became a Freelancer, Here’s How I’m Trying to Survive

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Making the decision to become more independent in my career path has opened up so many new doors. I have taken on various creative roles that I only believed I could hold if I had the proper degree or training. I am witnessing myself grow in the discipline it takes to be in these roles (still working on improving my procrastination, can’t change overnight 🙂 I am even beginning to cultivate my own creative projects driven by what I envision. This is what I have wanted for myself for so long but I’ve held myself back by believing that I’m actually the type of person that would much rather work for someone else. You know, choosing a secure and safe path. That’s not always the case but for me it is. However, internally I know the conflict that I have faced because deep down I would much rather be in the space of manifesting my own dreams. I know by making this choice, I am destined for more gratification and happiness knowing that I am putting together the life that I want, but I’m not going to lie, it’s very difficult. In this space and time of what seems so abstract and foreign to me, I’ve felt new feelings of nerves, excitement, and doubt. So, I decided to write this post to take a more honest look at the path that I am cultivating and at the same time share my experience with others who are going through the same thing. (I also hope others who read this can share their experiences as well).

To start on a positive note, I am absolutely happy and blessed to be getting the various jobs that I’ve had. The range of my projects span from writing/editing jobs to product and make up photography and even graphic design. While I am ecstatic to be approached with these opportunities, I can’t help but acknowledge that a part of me feels undeserving of them because I haven’t been pushing down doors to get them. Instead, people have responded to what I have declared and in turn are sharing their creative aspirations with me. I credit this to the power of declaring what you want to the universe and witnessing your desires come to fruition. For that I’m truly grateful. However, in this time of working from project to project you sometimes have lulls. I’ve opened up a lot of room for amplifying self-doubt. When decisions are solely left for you to make, it can be daunting. I think I’m too comfortable getting direction and approval from others, that it feels scary to now only look to myself for that direction and approval. I don’t always feel the confidence in the decisions I make. And while I still don’t feel that I have reached the level of confidence that I need, I continue to push myself believing that I will get there. There is so much discomfort that I feel on a daily basis, but I am trying to lean into it and grow, rather than get rid of it.

The other challenge that I face in this time is defining the work that I do. Now that I have taken on photography jobs, I think, “does that mean I’m a photographer? But I haven’t branded myself as such, how will people on social media think of me”, and so on and so forth. It’s frustrating how much I think about this. I understand the importance of branding and shaping your craft, but it’s far too early for me to really say that I am anything other than a freelancer. And me worrying about the title of my work at this stage takes away the focus and growth that I am gaining on these jobs. I take on projects that fit my interests and passions and I don’t need to always define it. As time passes, I have to believe that things will fall into place and trust that I have the skills and knowledge to rise to the challenge.

The upside to all of these projects is the experience that I am gaining. I love the challenges that I am being faced with and learning about different industries. I also love being in charge of my time and creating a flexible schedule. I plan to continue this path for the time being and see what greatness can come from it.

I want to end my thoughts with a couple of tips that I have gained when it comes to freelancing and how I manage my life:

  • Create a realistic working schedule: Make sure to assess your time accurately and create a convenient yet flexible working situation for yourself. Create your own working hours and communicate that with your clients.
  • Don’t over commit: With freelance projects, it can be easy to take on several at a time without fully understanding the demand for each one. Limit the projects you take at once and first get a feel of the workload.
  • Keep a status report for all your projects: I learned this from my previous job and kept the same status report template that lists out all the projects, their deadlines, and status. This is just for me but I try to update it every week.
  • Cushion extra time on deadlines: I had to learn this the hard way but make sure to always include an extra amount of time when creating project timelines.
  • Be proactive in communication: I always believe that it is much better to be proactive in communicating delays or any unforeseen problems to clients than to wait or stay silent. You’re showing your transparency which people respect.



5 comments on “I Became a Freelancer, Here’s How I’m Trying to Survive

  1. Loved it. Very helpful tips as well Aida!
    Keep kicking ass!!!

  2. “I think I’m too comfortable getting direction and approval from others, that it feels scary to now only look to myself for that direction and approval.” Beautifully said.

    I follow you on social media and just generally enjoy your energy! It’s wonderful to see that you also blog. This post is very helpful for me because I am also considering returning to the freelance world, and some of the uncertainties you discuss in your post are distant but vivid memories for me. But it was also encouraging because now I know it’s not just me who sometimes feels unsure at the wheels of the freelance world I’m steering. Starting to freelance (or any drastic career change) is a leap of faith, and I have learned/found that it’s more rewarding than not (you also confirm that!). Thanks again!

  3. Zelalem

    Very true….in the same state here as well.

  4. I loved it. Being your own boss, working on your own schedule and the freedom to decide which project/s to take on sounds a dream come true. What I want to know if you would like to share is, how do you measure your success? Beyond fulfilling your passion, such as financial freedom, balancing life ……..

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