Now that you are set up with bank and brokerage accounts, a portfolio, and the right computer software for managing and keeping an eye on them all, it’s time to think about boosting your career.
If you are a freelancer, career building is even more important than it is if you are working at a company or agency – whether govt or non-profit.
Let’s tackle freelancing first, since many people only dream about working for themselves. Their fears are based on real questions they may have: Do I have enough discipline to work at this every day? Can/should I do it from a home office? Can I start part-time at home, then quit my day job when my freelance career takes off?
Let’s take these one at a time. The discipline part only you can answer. But don’t sell yourself short. Have you ever done something you enjoyed and found out, to your surprise, how much time had elapsed? Maybe it’s not discipline you need, but interest, satisfaction, enjoyment, intellectual stimulation… you know – all the stuff that makes life fun. Read Marsha Sinetar’s “Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow” and other similar books.
What about a home office? IFO highly recommends it. Just make sure you treat the space seriously. This is where you WORK. Make a routine. Get dressed every morning. Make some coffee. Have some breakfast. Get to work. Don’t worry about “looking professional.” There are ways to get around that, if you need it. Your local Chamber of Commerce is likely to have meeting spaces available for use by its members.
You ARE a member of the Chamber, aren’t you? Even if the Chamber doesn’t have members of your client pool – say, publishers of national and international magazines – being a member of the Chamber keeps you from feeling isolated and you can always learn something at the monthly meetings.
A related question concerns starting part-time at home, then quitting your day job when your career takes off. We don’t recommend this. The problem is that life is so damn daily. Also, it’s full of interruptions and distractions. You can put off your FL career indefinitely, permanently waiting until you “have enough time.”
Of course, if you are like Jean Auel, who got up every morning at 3 or 4 am and wrote for three or four hours EVERY DAY, you, too, can have a major best seller like “Clan of the Cave Bear.” So, go ahead, try it. If part-time is working for you, do it.
How to find/keep clients? Ah, that’s a big question. We’ll answer it on our next post in this series.