One of the best things that’s happened since I decided to leave the corporate world and strike out on my own has been experiencing the uncanny interconnectedness of the networks I’ve grown over the years. I’ve met so many incredible people in this weird, wild space of entrepreneurship in the past year or so, and my world has both expanded and shrunk at the same time.
Just as finding a new job is all about who you know, such is finding work as a freelancer. My Austin network has been incredibly supportive and encouraging as I made the transition into self-employment: friends and colleagues have become clients, and connections from my years in corporate have since joined the ranks as freelancers and small-business owners as well. As the gig economy continues to grow, I’m buoyed by the fact that I’m doing what I love, and, evidently, part of a trend as work shifts from full-time to free-agent employment.
As the years have passed since transitioning from college to full-time work, I frequently reminisce about how much I miss being a student. My undergraduate years were some of my favorites in my personal history (see my last post for more on that). Grad school was more of a grind as I was working full-time simultaneously, but I loved being a student nonetheless. Continual learning is a personal value of mine, and, fortunately, I have learning moments all the time now that I work for myself.
Employing an entrepreneurial mindset is one of the biggest adjustments I’ve made to my thinking since setting out as a freelancer. I am continually iterating and making micro-changes to this website, adding to my portfolio, adjusting my approach and service offerings… as any small business owner will tell you, the work is never really done as much as you just have to put it down for the time being. As a freelancer, I am my own marketer, hype woman, and project manager, so it’s on me to do the work and rep my work, because this is how I get more work down the road.
So, where does freelance work happen? Well, everywhere: as I type this, my husband and I are in a hotel in Amsterdam enjoying our honeymoon a mere 14 months after getting married (follow along on Instagram if you’re so inclined!) While he is a full-time corporate employee and is more or less disconnected from work during this trip, I am periodically checking e-mails and writing in the mornings just as I would at home. Honestly, I kind of love it: I can take my work on the road and accompany him on business trips, and when I’m home in Austin, I get to structure my days however I like. But with the freedom that freelancing brings of course comes another set of issues: no benefits package, unsteady paychecks, and the uncertainty of what tomorrow will bring.
If life is all about opportunity cost, the tradeoff has been well worth it. As always, thank you all for being a part of this entrepreneurial journey and helping make freelance work happen.
(The image for this post is from a workshop I co-hosted with my dear friend Talan Tyminski of PitchATX and was taken by the estimable Jessica Santiesteban of Ideology Photography. Check her out for Austin-area portraiture and event photography needs: she’s an amazing person and such a talented artist!)