Sunday, May 8, 2011

Milestones: Liberation Day

Yesterday, May 7th, marked 18 months since I left my full-time job to start OTV!

Many of those months were perilous... namely, the recession hit full-force only a month or two into my 'new life' as a freelancer. I crashed + burned right along with it. Thus, yesterday was also the 6 month mark since I left my the full-time 'in-between job' that I had taken to weather the recession last year.

Liberation is Sweet
In spite of all the times I fell flat on my face over the last 18 months (there were many of them + there will surely be many, many more), I wouldn't change a thing about my decision. I love setting my own schedule, pace + rules, such as:

  • naturally waking at an ungodly hour (4 or 5am) to utilize my most creative energy until the late morning
  • going for a walk or going to yoga in the mid-morning while everyone else is sitting in traffic
  • being out of the 'office' meeting like-minded small business types to discuss ways we can collaborate over tea
  • being a jack-of-all-trades, which utilizes my busy-bee nature, to piece-meal a salary together
  • taking a nap in the mid-afternoon or scheduling in a full couch day of rest, if I am wiped out by too much activity
  • having the freedom to take a trial + error approach to any part of the business without having to gain approval first or worry about losing my job if something doesn't go according to plan
  • dreaming + planning short-, mid- + long-term where I want to go + what I want OTV to be
  • traveling to regional, national + (soon) international clients, conferences + meetings
  • building partnerships with other freelancers I enjoy working with to complete a huge project
  • enjoying the growing process + continually investing in myself for professional development
  • forging new directions + realms for OTV to continue to evolve

The Trade-Offs
To paint a realistic picture: cash-flow -- or lack thereof -- does suck, surviving day-to-day becomes tiresome + potential clients consistently have no idea what I do AND vehemently believe I should work for free does get old real quick. However, all those experiences make great stories... perhaps I will write a[nother] book:)

Even still, I prefer all of those headaches any day over hypothetically having to work for someone I don't respect, doing something I completely hate, working with colleagues I can't stand or sitting in traffic or an uninspiring office everyday -- in short, being miserable just for the false security of a consistent paycheck.

The Positives of Negatives
The freelance life is certainly not for everyone. I had to get accustomed to uncertainty + overcome the fear of risk.

The big lie that was shattered very early into my freelance journey: even though you feel like you're going to die, it rarely happens, ever, + when it does, it only happens once. The more times you face it, the less intimidating it becomes -- mistakes are not permanent, plans always have backup options, you have friends/family who will support you for a season, if you absolutely need it + pauses are healthy to regroup + usually precede an exciting new period of growth.

I have no idea what tomorrow holds or where I will be, but the truth is, no one else does either. I choose to view the future with excitement, rather than a sense of impending doom. I do the most with the day I have right now with the expectation that I shall live to fight another day.

Such is the freelance life. Here's to dreaming big + many more months of good fights:)

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