Like most people that have taken a risk, for the sake of something they truly care about, I've had to jump through hoops and hurdles for good things to happen, which has taught me some really, really valuable life lessons, that I'm not exactly ashamed of. The day I learned to treat rejection as something that has some intrinsic value,that broadens my perspective, the metaphorical sting, that's inevitable every time I face some sort of rejection/let down weakened, like one of those herbal remedies for bee stings, that anyone with internet access and Google savvy can easily read about. On an unrelated note I can use that metaphorical comparison with authority because I'm a magnet for bee and wasp stings at least once per summer (for some reason) so I've tried multiple remedies.
I feel like I've spent too much time highlighting the positive on this blog, and in honour of the impending one year anniversary of my freelance journey it's time I reflected on what the not so great moments have taught me.
Never compare yourself to others who have done similar things:
This one is the most important, and I think it was my greatest flaw during my first two months of freelancing. People start things at different times, people finish things at different things, and people reach milestones at diverse times too. It's never to early or too late to start something unless an unavoidable barrier of sorts is standing in your way. Never be envious or intimidated by someone else's success or achievements, in fact it's a lot less self destructive to treat them as a peer/equal that you can learn something from. It's easy to overlook the fact that no matter what people manage to achieve they probably have at least one struggle that they don't discuss openly unless they're in trusted company; if they've been working in your field longer than you there's most likely something they can learn from you too. For me this revelation occurred while tapping into a niche that seems to be generational. I'm a millennial, and found plenty of demand for writers, while reaching out to editors, start ups, and businesses dominated by baby boomers, and Gen Xers with either limited tech savvy or limited time to write.
The People Who Said Networking Is Important Weren't Kidding And Are On To Something:
I can't help but bring this revelation back to the whole millennial thing. The advice that I heard in school over and over again is networking is really, really important. It was drilled in my head endlessly but I think the time I realized its true value was when I started freelancing. I've always been social media savvy but something I've slowly had to learn on my feet is in person, non-virtual networking.
How I got one of my first freelance gigs is a perfect example of why networking goes a long way. A former boss/ family friend I worked with, the summer before my final year of undergrad heard I was branching out into freelance writing and offered me money to transcribe video content. A couple months after I finished my first, major freelance project she became the executive director of the company I worked for short term. True story...
Staying Active In The Blogosphere, And On Social Media Really Pays Off:
It's amazing how many people thus far, that have expressed genuine interest in publishing my work, paying me for my expertise, and/ or express genuine interest in my ideas have taken a moment to tell me that they loved a specific tweet, or have an opinion on something I wrote on my blog, or show signs of carefully examining my about page. Often what they comment on is stuff that's ancient history, and remind me of stuff I wrote, blogged, or tweeted about months ago.
When I signed up for my first social media accounts, and wrote my first blog post, I never thought that adding the words "I'm a freelance writer for hire." would make people actually pay attention but I truly believe that this is a profession that attracts attention, once you add the label to your name, every time you talk or network with someone.
These are the top three lessons, the not so great moments, that occurred this past year taught me, but there are hundreds, and hundreds more that sometimes sometimes come out my mouth when I'm feeling particularly thoughtful. I think the moral of this blog post can be perfectly summarized via a viral video that my boyfriend and I can't stop imitating, and making jokes about. It's super funny, but Shia also has a valid point about dreams and ideas: