5 things I’ve learnt in my first month as a freelancer

Photo by Emma Matthews on Unsplash

It’s been just over a month since I left my full time job and career of 10 years in academia. As well as that monthly salary… more on money next time.

It’s been a week since I launched my website, podcast and email newsletter. I’ve also written over 14,000 words of my novel.

A lot. And with a chronic illness and 2 young children.

How have I done it. Well, a lot has been the change in mindset from becoming my own boss. There are other things I’ve learnt. This is my first list. More are coming as I am learning as I go…

My 5 learning curves for this month:

  1. If you think you are burnt out because of your job, you probably are. I don’t wish I’d made the leap before, because I was only ready now. However, I’m no longer afraid to pivot again if I need to. This has been the most valuable transformation in my mindset. If you are not ready to pivot – see number 5.
  2. You can learn how to build and launch a website in a month. I went from zero skill, to, well competent. All self-taught. But, with a lot of support online. The website will still be a work in progress, but there are so many fantastic resources and sources of support out there. I’m writing a short e-book on this – for those of us afraid to do it because we lack the technical expertise and time – will be launching soon. Which leads me to my number three…
  3. Get yourself on to Instagram. If you are already there, start engaging. Watch a Youtube video about how to use the functions. Why? Because I have met the most amazing, generous, insightful, bright women who are freelancing on there. They are sharing – for free, and in paid courses – how they built their own business, their brand. Why they want more women to do this. How they are building a community. If you do one thing from reading this, check out Vix Meldrew’s webpage and listen to the Exciting Emails podcast. A must for anyone thinking of starting to seriously blog.
  4. It is ok to learn as you go. And make some mistakes. A podcast on Imposter Syndrome is coming on Monday because it seems this is a major factor for women – holding themselves back from change. Only, I’m not sure I buy that. I want to explore the fuller picture. Join in the discussion on Twitter or Instagram. Tell me your experiences of imposter syndrome – does it hold you back? Or, is it more complex than that?
  5. Being your own boss is the best. It is tough, it is stressful (especially the earning part – next week’s discussion). It is tiring (especially with any chronic condition – more on that coming soon). BUT, the work feels that it is for something. The work is tangible. The goals are clear. You are not being set up to ‘fail’. There are no snarky emails or remarks. It is freeing. It is liberating. Yes, there is privilege in being able to pivot; so, how do we make it both easier to pivot, and also less necessary. How do we fix workplaces so that they stop driving us to burnout or boredom? Check out the lovely Jo Hooper over on Mad and Sad Club – her work on stress in the workplace is great. Tackling the structures.

And here’s a bonus one – You are never ‘too old/uncool/boring – you are you. We all have amazing experience and expertise to share. I feel like I am finally able to bring the best of both of mine together. The feedback I have received so far has been amazing – it seems there is both necessity and desire. I’ll take that and keep going.

If you like this – please join us in The Learning Curve Collective. Sign up to the newsletter (see the welcome page), subscribe to the podcast. Join in over on Twitter or Instagram.

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Oh, and I’ve not worked once in my pyjamas! Yet. x

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