creative copy with heart and soul

How I survived my first five years of freelancing.

Almost exactly five years ago I sat down at my desk for my first day as a full time freelancer.

I had nothing. No work. Not a drop.

I’d left my PAYE job before Christmas, my part-time lecturing gig had just finished til the next academic year and the freelance writing work I’d been doing on the side to give me a run-in had unexpectedly dried up.

Looking back I don’t know how I wasn’t absolutely shitting myself. I had money saved, but it wasn’t going to last long.

In fact I felt a weird sense of calm. I sat at the kitchen table and made a plan.

I would get out of the house with my laptop as much as I could. I would let as many people as I could think of know I was available for work. And I would write about it all, relentlessly.

Somehow, it worked.

I look back now and think how lucky I was, really, that I managed to get off the ground at all.

I didn’t expect to make it through my first six months – I just wanted to be out of my old job SO BADLY that I ran as hard as I could in the other direction. And when I looked up after a few months and realised I was *doing it* (look, no hands!), actually making enough money and doing something I loved, it was a total surprise to me.

Five years on, somehow, I’m still here.

I’m not an evangelist for freelancing. It’s the wiggliest, wobbliest path you could walk on and I don’t think that instability works for everyone. And I’ll never say I’m freelance for life because life changes and people change. And economic times most definitely change.

But I am immensely grateful for making it through the last five years of running a writing business. I’ve worked with some genuinely amazing people, learned a LOT of shit about myself I didn’t know. I’ve got better at what I do and better at owning it.

And I’ve really, really enjoyed it.

Now I get to do content and comms for a small, lovely roster of regular nice folks, write for Freelancer Magazine, and generally have enough space for new projects and clients to keep things “interesting” 😉

Funnily enough – the first lead that came in on that very first day as I sat down at my kitchen table (reader, I CHEERED) is a client I’m still working with five years on.

I don’t think there’s a course I can sell you on how to do it.

And to be honest it might all end tomorrow.

But “so far so good” is absolutely fine by me.

What do you think?