December 20th, 2008
My pals Lauren Bacon and Emira Mears, authors of The Boss of You book and blog, ran a Q&A with me this week. I loved that they asked me this question so much that I’m reposting it here. Before you read it, I’d like to point out that Amazon is currently running a deal where you can pick up both my books + Lauren and Emira’s book for just over $30 — in other words, you get all three books for the price of two. To snatch these up and start your year off right, see the Amazon page for My So-Called Freelance Life or The Anti 9-to-5 Guide.
Okay, enough with the Billy Mays impersonation. Here’s the post…
Lauren and Emira ask: We hear from a fair number of freelancers who got into their careers unconsciously — it’s like they woke up one morning and realized they’d become a freelancer, without necessarily planning it that way. What advice would you give someone in that situation?
I answer: I agree. So many people find themselves freelancing in the wake of a layoff and before they know it, they’re running a full-fledged business. If you too are an accidental freelancer, take stock of the work you do and the clients you do it for. Are these the types of projects you want to be working on and the types of people and organizations you want to be working with? If not, list the kind of freelance projects that interest you most and the names of at least ten organizations you’d love to work for. Then tap your professional and personal networks to see if you can find a way in. If you need to acquire any additional skills or portfolio samples to make yourself attractive to these organizations, get cracking.
Even if you are happy with your clients and workload, it’s important to revisit your freelancing goals – income, creative milestones, client wish list, and so on — at least once a year. (January is a great time for this.) Get too comfortable and you’ll quickly get bored, burn out, or start to feel like an employee all over again.