In December 2017, I started working for myself. I went "freelance" and at the time I had no idea what that really meant for me. Within the first week of quitting my very stable & well paying job, I was contracted to work as a producer & athlete for a CLIF Bar photoshoot. I felt very lucky & supported by my industry. Soon after, I took 4 months to travel the globe & work on my most favorite craft & passion, writing.
A year and a half later, I can contest to the fact that you can make a living as a writer. In fact, you can make a living as a painter, photographer, magician, and all the other things they tell you are not necessarily "practical" from the doctor, lawyer, accountant trap the world tries to get you to fall into (no offense). BUT, it takes some serious dedication, perseverance, and discipline.
1. What is your craft & what is your passion? What problems do you want to solve? What makes you feel complete?
Those are big questions, but if you aren't finding answers for yourself, it'll be hard to convince anyone else that you're the answer to theirs. ;) Even more so, if you want to wake up every day with a purpose and be excited about putting your feet on the ground, you have to be excited about what you're doing & contributing to. For me, writing was a no-brainer, I knew that I could do it every day for the rest of my life. There's not much else I feel that amount of commitment to.
Note, realize you don't have to be the best. There's a hell of a lot of people out there that aren't the greatest at what they do but with hard work & perseverance... it will get you somewhere. Also the "thing" you feel passionate about right now, may not be as concrete as you think it is. It might just be an idea, a way of life, a small inspiration that's trying to speak to you. So realize, you don't have to know the whole big plan or what that looks like. It's small confident steps & about gravitating with conviction towards what excites you.
We live an era more "connected" than ever. If you don't let the world know that you're open for business, how is anyone going to know to hire you? Definitely do not expect all the work, clients, and projects to come flooding to you once you've gone solo... You have to put yourself out there in almost every way possible. It can be exhausting, but you will get something out of it.
3. Define your boundaries & skillsets.
Have previous projects you've worked on in your arsenal and ready for presentation. Clearly spell out your role in them. You can replicate those projects over and over for other clients, people, or companies. You have to know what a company/client needs, where you can insert yourself, and know your limitations. I highly recommend not overpromising anything. Stay within your limits & do what you're good at to start. As you get into your groove, you can start expanding. Don't be afraid to say no or ask for more time up front. Over-communicate what you plan to do and what you're going to deliver, it's never a good situation when expectations are confused.
4. Set up your portfolio for presentation.
Whether that's your own website, Instagram account, LinkedIn profile... Lay out your work somewhere. It's a visual era and seeing is believing. If you can show what it is you do or have done, do it.
5. Put a price tag on your work.
For God sakes, don't work for free. Until you start working with the big dogs, no one is going to voluntarily throw money at you. Your TIME is valuable... in fact, it's all you have & it cannot be free. E-mailing, phone calls, meetings... these are all billable hours. If something is sucking up your time and you are feeling it's not "worth" it, you may be undervaluing yourself and your time.
6. Ask for help.
If you've just started working for yourself or at the brink of it, you're not alone. You may need to start reaching out to people who are doing the same & surrounding yourself with some entrepreneurial cats... ask them questions & for advice. It's not worth making the mistake, which could cost you your business if you could've just asked someone whose more skilled at this than you are.
7. Failure is a part of the process.
Wipe your tears and try again, try not to make the same mistake twice & learn from every single experience.
Best of luck. Questions? Comments? Feel free to reach out.