I posted this in a Facebook freelancing group the week I started this blog, and I’ve decided to share it here as well because I think it’s a really great message.
(Note: I wrote this specifically about freelancing, but you can just as easily apply it to any pursuit, career, hobby, etc.)
On January 2nd of this year I set a New Year’s Resolution (because nobody ever keeps the resolutions they make on the 1st.)
My resolution was that I would commit to pursuing a career in freelancing.
Because I was entirely dissatisfied with the life I had created…
And I was ready for something…
I was ready to change the trajectory of my life… and to claim my victory… and to write my successes indelibly in stone… to be remembered, and respected, and revered… until the end of time.
(I really thought it would happen, too… well it is happening but not nearly as quickly as I’d expected but that’s okay… writing in stone is EXPENSIVE though! Lol…)
On January 2nd I fully expected to be making significant money and have my whole life in order by about… January 31st. (FWIW, as of today I have yet to make a dime.)
I thought I knew exactly what I was getting into… I thought I knew just what it would take… I thought I would jump right in and solve all my financial problems lickety-split…
Well, it turns out some problems take a bit more time to resolve hahaha…
I used to get down right mad when I thought I should be getting results – and didn’t.
(Sometimes I got mad enough that I had to walk away from freelancing entirely for a few days or even weeks at a time – but I ALWAYS CAME BACK.)
I started my freelancing journey from about a hundred steps behind ground zero.
I was sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo far behind the “entry point” to freelancing…
That I think I must have looked like a real tool for the first six or nine MONTHS of my journey… (Of course now I’m only in my tenth month so I may be speaking too soon but hey, so far, so good…)
Anyway… I started (and persisted)… with NO IDEA what I was doing, where I was going, or how I would get there.
Some people come into this business (so I hear) with “some” sense of what they want to do, of what they have to offer, of who they can serve, of where to begin, and of where they ultimately want to go in their business.
I didn’t even know where I wanted to go after breakfast. And I don’t even eat breakfast some times until like 2 o’clock in the afternoon, so… yeah.
You guys, I had ZERO.
Zero confidence in my ability to do ANYTHING…
…other than to complain about how many zeroes I had.
Pro Tip: Complaining for the sake of complaining does not a good freelancer make… Trust me I have it from a reliable source.
I don’t know if the people who saw me in January thought I had it in me, or not… (and it doesn’t really matter anyway),
But I know that I, in January, was definitely sure. I. Did. Not.
(Good News: I was wrong!)
Tomorrow, on October 2nd, nine months to the day from when I made my resolution – I’m publishing my first blog post.
It’s already written and ready to go. (In fact the first week’s worth of posts are ready to go, and I’ve got enough topics planned to carry me through the first two months, at least.)
Took me long enough… Right?
It’s all good though…
Tomorrow I’m taking what some people will consider to be my first “legit step” into the world of freelancing. (Because I’m actually doing something that people can point to and say, “See? He’s doing it! He really is serious.”)
But… here’s my big secret discovery:
Starting my own blog…
Taking matters into my own hands…
Plotting a course that will allow me to learn:
- how to write blog posts
- how to manage a blog
- how to build an audience
- how to find my message
- how to refine my message
IS AWESOME! And exciting. (And a teensy bit scary, but really, so what?)
But it is awesome. And it does have real potential! I mean, from here, all sorts of things could happen:
- I could make $ someday off of my own blog.
- I could gather enough real feedback from other people, that I could create one or more online courses targeted to a real, live audience, who I already know (and who already know me).
- I could learn to write well enough that I could make $ writing for other blogs.
- I could learn enough about various aspects of blogging and audience building that I could get paid to teach other people to do it for $.
- The fabulously wealthy and super amaze-balls in every other regard girl of my dreams could fall out of the sky and land on my blog and be so amazed at my ability to communicate such deep and personal and difficult subjects in a relatable and easily digestible manner that she’ll fall madly in love with me and I’ll never have to work a day in my life!
(Okay not the most likely scenario but hey if it can happen on the Hallmark Channel – why not dream big? Right? Right…)
Moving on then.
While launching my blog IS something concrete, that I can point to, and actually demonstrate my skill set, and my knowledge, and my ability to engage the reader and to move other people through the power of the written word…
It’s NOT my “legit first step.”
And whatever the corollary may be, in your own business (or your life), THAT is not your “first step” either…
The first legit step into pursuing freelancing…
Is allowing yourself to want it…
And convincing yourself that you can have it…
And committing to sticking with it… no matter how long it takes.
THAT is what will make you or break you.
Nothing else is THAT important.
Not your writing.
Not your cold outreach emails.
Not your service packages.
Not your perfect portfolio.
Not your expertly crafted expert statement.
Not your super duper Guiness Book of World Records award-winning website!
(Not even your uncanny ability to see the good in everything, or to laugh at your own horrible misfortune, or to convince other people to laugh right along with you…)
Those are all secondary.
Your willingness to keep going… when you don’t even know WHERE you’re going yet!
Or how you will get there…
Or what it will look like…
Or which course to sign up for…
Or what skills to develop…
Or HOW IN THE WORLD YOU’RE EVER EVEN GOING TO GET OUT OF BED TOMORROW, WHEN TODAY IS SO DREADFULLY DREARY…
When all the signs seems to say,
“Get lost… you don’t belong here, kid…”
But YOU DON’T CARE because you know you want it and you know YOU’RE GOING TO GET IT NO MATTER HOW LONG IT TAKES YOU!
That is what will carry you through every step of your journey, and keep you pointed in the direction of your goals and your dreams, and make it impossible to ever again (EVER) say,
“I. Just. Can’t.”
That is YOUR first legit step. And most likely, the hardest one to take.
But, guess what? (If you say “chicken butt” right now I’m going to roll my eyes and LOL…)
Seriously, though, if you’ve read this far…
Then the chances are you’ve already taken that step.
So chillax, yo!
You’re already a freelancer!
You’ve made the toughest decision of your career…
The. Decision. To. Just. “Want It.”
Now, the only questions that really matter are not “what will I do? who will I serve? what it will it look like? how much will I make? where is my niche?”
Don’t get me wrong… those questions ARE important… and sooner or later you’ll have to answer each one of them.
They don’t really matter AS MUCH… as:
What do I want?
How badly do I want it?
How far am I willing to go?
How many times will I get back up and try, try again?
How many changes am I willing to go through to get to the other side of my goals and dreams?
How many mistakes am I willing to learn from before I allow one of them to deter me?
How many avenues will I go down before I find one that I feel like I can commit to… if not forever then at least for awhile?
How many distractions am I willing to LET GO so that I can learn to focus on what really matters to me?
How long am I willing to stick it all out, until it all starts to come together FOR ME?
Figure all that out, and you’re literally on Easy Street.
‘Cause from there on out all you gotta do…
Is just follow through. On. YOUR. Dreams.
(And who DOESN’T want to make their dreams come true?)
You can do it. The second you decide it’s worth doing.