I don’t know how to write this post, so I’m just going to write it.
What a great intro, eh? Have you ever read anything so boring? I can’t help it. There’s no time to be brilliant. I’m a total scatterbrain right now. Since sharing the news with you that I quit my job and will soon be entering the world of full-time freelance, my life has been go go go. I’ve been working 12-hour days, trying to finish some projects and hand over my work, as well as starting some of my new freelance projects and trying to get outside. It’s been a whirlwind – and a bit of an emotional roller coaster. I’m so excited to switch over to full-time freelance next week, but am also scared to say goodbye to my team and the comfort you feel when you know a job like the back of your hand.
On Monday morning, I’m going to wake up and work for myself… and that’s freaking terrifying.
I wish I could write one of those posts that says it’s going to be amazing and list all the reasons why. I wish I could be one of those “thought leaders” who can make themselves sound like a rockstar. You know the ones I’m talking about. Their “about” pages make them sound like the type of person you want to be, with the perfect life, perfect online career and perfect family to boot. They look great, eat healthy, have a simple schedule where they barely work yet still make lots of money, and overall just seem to be living the dream. I thought that when I quit my job and entered self-employment I was supposed to write a post that would emulate that life. But I can’t…
…because quitting your job and transitioning into working for yourself is hard.
My desk is covered in crumpled up sticky notes, pages ripped out of notebooks, four pens, two dead batteries, a butter knife, a glass of water and two books I keep reading the first 15 pages of before giving up. Most of those sticky notes have the same things written on them two or three times, because I’ve constantly been rewriting my to-do list and trying to pare it down. The desktop on my computer is covered in half-finished documents and spreadsheets. Oh, look… there’s also a hair elastic by my mouse. I haven’t put makeup on in well over a week, I forgot to shower for two days
once twice, and I keep getting headaches because I can’t seem to remember to put my glasses on.
The only things that seem to be going right are that I’ve been making a green smoothie every morning, drinking tons of water throughout the day and getting 6-7 hours of sleep each night.
(It’s the little things… right?)
While looking at the mess that’s been strewn across my desk all week, I’ve been asking myself one question: what the heck did I sign-up for? And from there, my thoughts spiral. Is it always going to be this hectic? Will things calm down on Monday, when I free up 40-45 hours/week? Or is it just going to get crazier? Sure, I have lots of work lined up for the next 4-6 months… but what’s going to happen after? Am I going to get any new clients? What if I don’t? Will I be able to continue investing? Will I have enough in savings to cover me if I don’t get paid for 1 month? 3 months? 6 months? Omg, why am I giving up a steady paycheque? Is this going to be a huge financial mistake!?
It’s taken a few days, but I’ve finally realized that all my fears stem from one thing: change, and the uncertainty that comes with it.
What I do on a daily basis is going to change. I won’t log into my old work email and tackle my usual projects. Instead, I’m going to have to prove to a few new companies that I’m a writer/editor worth working with. I won’t be able to write posts based on information that’s already stored in my brain, after having written about it so many times before. Instead, I’m going to have to do more research and think outside of the box, before I put pen to paper. And I won’t get steady paycheques semi-monthly anymore or know how to budget. Instead, I’m going to have to send out invoices and wait for the money to come in, before I figure out what to do with it.
Basically, I’ll be disrupting all of my habits – and that’s a good thing.
When you develop a habit, your mental activity actually decreases. You go on auto-pilot, because your brain doesn’t need to think about what it’s doing anymore – it just does it. I’ve felt as though I was running on auto-pilot for months, and it took some time and reflection for me to realize that is when I start to feel unhappy at work. It’s not any company’s fault. And really, it should feel great to be an “expert” at something. But as soon as I hit that sweet spot where I’ve learned all I can and just hit cruise control, I start to feel like I need a change. By making the decision to become a full-time freelancer, I’m essentially signing up for that change to be constant.
And you know what? For as stressed out as I’ve been this week, and as much work is on my plate (and mess is on my desk), I am fired up!
Half of those sticky notes on my desk? They are filled with blog post topics for new clients, and ideas for Blonde on a Budget and Rockstar Finance. The incomplete text documents and spreadsheets? Worksheet templates, content strategy proposals, income projections and budgets. In The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg says that when you enter a new environment where your habits are disrupted, it’s possible your brain actually works harder. I always find that I’m more inspired when I’m travelling, and now I can see how this same truth will apply to my new career as a freelancer. Without the “habit” of having a steady paycheque come in, I now need to hustle – and I can’t wait to start.
Of course, all my fears are still there. I’m still scared clients will fire me or won’t be able to pay me. I’m scared I’ll work too many hours and won’t have a life, at least while getting started. I hate not being able to see into the future to know if I’ll have any worked lined up in 6 months. I’m terrified I’ll fail and wind up working at Starbucks. And I’m seriously worried about how my budgeting techniques will have to change (which I’m going to write about next week). But at the end of the day, all those fears are outweighed by my excitement, because I am so ready for this challenge and can’t wait to see how I grow as a person/freelancer, as a result.
- Digging myself out of debt showed me how much determination I have.
- Living on a tight budget forced me to become more resourceful.
- Moving so many times has helped me become more flexible/adaptable to new environments.
- Losing weight taught me that I’m in control of my body and my health.
- Not drinking alcohol continues to teach me that I don’t need to be under any influence to have/be fun.
- Giving up shopping for a year proved I have more willpower than I thought I did, and I’m happier when my mind isn’t focused on “stuff”.
All of those situations forced me to change my bad habits, change my life and push myself outside of my comfort zone, as a result. I had different concerns and fears throughout each challenge, but many of those stemmed from the same thing: change, and the uncertainty that comes with it. Quitting my job and switching over to full-time freelance is no different. I don’t know what I’ll learn about myself over the next 6 months, or where I’ll be in terms of work, but I’ll hustle until then and get back to you.
I didn’t know what the point of this post was, when I first started writing it… I guess I just wanted you to know that I’m human and not a budgeting/minimalist robot. I also thought that maybe, somewhere out there, one of you might be thinking about making the career jump over to full-time freelance, and need to hear that it’s ok to have concerns. You don’t have to have all the answers, and I am certain we will make mistakes; that’s just part of the privilege that comes with being human. So be it. :)
What area(s) of your life have you changed recently, and how has it changed you, as a result?