Freelance Heroes: Soundtrack to Year 1

Time flies when you’re freelancing. This past weekend marked one year since I completed my last fixed term contract and set up as a freelance communications consultant and copywriter.

But while time may fly, I don’t, so it’s a train journey for me today as I travel down south for the first ever in-person Freelance Heroes Day event. To celebrate my first year in business, here’s a playlist I’ll be listening to on the journey, charting the highs and lows of my first year as a freelancer.

Reliving those first giddy steps

Everybody loves a bit of Dolly, and we all know it’s physically impossible not to sing along earnestly when ‘9 to 5’ is cranked up at the office Christmas party. But it was when I started seriously over identifying with James Bay’s ‘Best Fake Smile’ that I started to wonder whether or not there might be another way for me to work. Lots of Business Gateway workshops, furious middle of the night note scribbling and marathon Creative Live sessions on entrepreneurship later, LK Communications & Copywriting Ltd was born. And it felt exhilarating. Dizzying. Worthy of a Florence and the Machine style giddy crescendo. The ‘Dog Days Are Over’ indeed!

Reality bites

Freelancing is not without a few bumps in the road. Between redesigning my entire life around my newly unpredictable ‘Money, Money, Money’ situation and trying to convince those first few clients to ‘Take a Chance on Me’ as a newbie, Abba were surprisingly on the nose. Not that all clients, as it turns out, are actually worth winning. To that early client of mine who constantly stressed the urgency of their project while providing conflicting and incomplete briefs and then, when I reworked other priorities to deliver ahead of deadline, tried to pay me less than the agreed (project, not hourly) price because it hadn’t taken as long as they had expected… ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’.

Like, ever.

Working for me works for me

Ultimately though, freelancing works for me and all the effort, uncertainty and occasionally dashed hopes are worth it. I recently met up with an old colleague who I hadn’t seen in almost a year and found myself talking about one of my favourite aspects of freelancing: Sunday nights. That old familiar sense of rising tension and overwhelming tiredness that used to mark the end of the weekend is just gone. Now I feel so much more in control and positive about how I spend my days. I feel ‘Easy Like Sunday Morning’ all week long.

Considering taking the plunge?

So if you’re thinking about following George Michael’s lead and signing up for some freelancing ‘Freedom’, my best advice is to think deeply about your own ‘Dreams’. Do they feel “impossible to ignore”? “Impossible not to do”? If they do, and if freelancing can get you there, I think you owe it to yourself to try. If it feels like a struggle at first, keep your head up and stay focused on the ‘Little Victories’ you win on your incremental goals while you’re waiting for the world to catch up with you.

And, finally, don’t keep putting it off for some undefined point in the future. Challenge yourself to take specific, concrete steps before next year’s Freelance Heroes Day. After all, ‘It’s Later Than You Think’.

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