December 3, 2019
I haven’t written a Freelance Life post in a while – a series I started a while back to explore what it’s like being freelance and the ups and downs along the way – to create a community of sorts and hopefully a helpful guide to those who are thinking of making the jump into Freelance Life. You can see my previous posts here where I discuss how I ended up running my own business, networking, creativity and allowing yourself down time.
So I wanted to kick off a new era of them asking: what is success to you?
I think it’s so easy to think that financial gain = success. And while this of course plays a part in feeling successful, I don’t think it’s the end game. To me, success is having freedom. Freedom and time to create and inspire myself. Being in a position to choose is success, being able to choose what projects you’re really excited about, and turning down the ones that aren’t the right fit for you. Being able to prioritise travel – something that excites me and always inspires me – is success to me also. (I’m not saying I necessarily have all of these, these are just what represent the idea best to me.)
I’m sure all of us who work for ourselves can also relate to the feeling of uncertainty which so often arises when being your own boss. And I think perhaps one of the hardest things to learn is feeling okay with uncertainty. It will always be there, so it seems futile to keep fighting it. Yet it is the hardest thing to do.
Since I went freelance about 4 years ago (I mean, technically I have always been as I’ve never done a longer than 4 month stint in an office… which was always a sign to me I wasn’t made for 9-5 life!) I had so many goals I wanted to achieve and pressured myself into reaching these. I did reach many of them, which is a wonderful feeling, but also when you do you realise you’re never going to get that feeling of ‘ahhh I did it I can relax a little now’ or certainly not in the way you thought. What has made me ‘relax’ is by relaxing into the idea that nothing is certain and things will always adapt and change when you run your own business.
To someone like me who isn’t the biggest fan of change out of my control, this seemed – and sometimes still does – like the biggest block I had. How could I accept not knowing my future? But then I try to remind myself that it is when I have gone with the flow that things have fallen into place. It is relinquishing a control of sorts that actually makes you the most in control: because you have accepted you can’t control it. By it I mean: your clients, how much you earn, what jobs you get… etc. You can work your hardest to go in the direction you like, of course, but in the end it isn’t all up to you. That is the hardest and is still something I am learning to do each day.
But again, it goes back to success and what that is to me. Success is acceptance of things you can’t control, even if you really really wish you could. Success is knowing the things meant for you will always work out, and the things that don’t weren’t meant for you.
Also I recently discovered this amazing instagram account for Freelancing Females, and it’s as useful as it is funny. I highly recommend.
You can find all my previous Freelance Life posts here.