So you’re interested in becoming a freelancer...
That’s fantastic news...for you and for the freelance community!
But I’m not here to tell you how to be a freelance writer, though by finding your way to GigLoft you’ve come to the right place.
No, I’m here to talk about how we know when we’re ready to become freelancers. Let’s face it, most of us aren’t sure.
Deciding to venture down this path can be a huge leap of faith. We crave the freedom and lifestyle and sense of service that comes with a career in freelance, but perhaps we aren’t quite sure we have the right skills, enough determination, even the guts to do it. At least that’s exactly how I felt.
Here’s my story.
It begins with yoga...
That’s right, yoga.
It was a Tuesday and I was completing the very last class in my 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training Certificate Program. That day we were performing the Five Tibetan Rites. Before and after each of the five poses, our teacher instructed us to sit with our eyes closed and repeat an intention that started with, “Today I will...”
That day I silently repeated to the Universe within and without, “Today I will accept whatever gifts the Universe brings me...without question.”
That’s the kicker, right? “Without question.” How often do we regard good fortune and serendipitous gifts with suspicion? Me?...all the time! Hence the reason for my intention that last day of class.
Fast forward a few hours and I’m working away at my desk, the rites and my intention far from my thoughts.
An email dings on my phone and I recognize the name of a freelance company I had applied to many months before. The email reads (and I paraphrase):
Thanks for applying! Sorry it’s taken so long to get back to you but we’ve been working on some new, cool things. We checked out your website and writing and are super impressed! In fact, we think you’d be a great candidate for our new, online university for freelancers—GigLoft—where we’ll teach you everything you need to know to break into the freelance world. Can we set up an interview?
A total gift, right? Someone read my writing and thinks I’ve got potential. More than that, they want to teach me how to do something I’ve always wanted to do!
Cue the skepticism. Questions and suspicion rise to the surface, and most days I would just hit Delete. Except for that last yoga class and intention. It came back to me, and instead of hitting Delete, I took a deep breath, hit Reply instead, and set up an interview.
What happened next...?
The interview went well.
Everyone was enthusiastic, legit, and took the time to answer all the hard questions...because even though I said yes, I wasn’t holding any punches.
Still, I told them I was going to take the weekend to think about it. After all, even if GigLoft could deliver on everything it promised, I still had to commit time, money, energy, and a belief that I could do it.
That weekend I discussed it with a friend quitting her own 9-5 job to start a coffee kiosk in her hometown. She reflected back to me all the things that seemed magical and serendipitous about this opportunity. And yet, when I went to bed Sunday night knowing that I had to give my answer the following morning, I decided to turn it down.
It wasn’t because GigLoft was new. It wasn’t because I had to pay tuition. The truth was, I was scared and I wasn’t sure I could do it—be a freelancer.
Then something strange happened.
I woke up the next morning and decided to go for it!
So, what happened between the moment I put my head on the pillow and the moment I woke up? First, when I got out of bed that morning I was overpowered by three instinctive feelings:
Compassion, for myself!
Courage, to take a chance.
Surrender, to whatever might come from it.
Why these three feelings?
In the 8-Limb Path of Yoga we learn about Yamas & Niyamas—suggestions or guidelines on how to relate to yourself and the world around you in a way that leads to peace and calm and, ultimately, bliss. Guidelines like nonviolence, nonpossesiveness, contentment, self-study, and so on.
The Yama of Asteya guides us towards “non-stealing.” Yes, it means not stealing material objects that don’t belong to you, but it means SO much more than that—not stealing the resources of the planet, not stealing from our children’s future, and not stealing happiness from ourselves. When an opportunity comes along and we run from it, we’re stealing from our full potential. To live a fulfilled, expanded life, we need to venture outside the fences we and others put up around us.
I believe it takes the presence of those three feelings—compassion, confidence, and surrender—bursting out of us to help us burst through those fences. And how do we find those feelings? Sometimes by walking through the fear and uncertainty that often keep us in those fences.
In the Applying Awareness podcast episode 28, “Using fear as a compass towards your fullest potential,” Adam French suggests that rather than thinking of all the reasons we’re scared to do something, we should think instead:
Why might I be scared to NOT do this? And over time, as you raise the standard for yourself, you’ll start to get a lot more scared of missing opportunities than failing while going for those opportunities. So instead of not trying and being scared to try, you’ll be scared to not try.
And that’s the second thing that happened that morning. Suddenly, the fear of NOT doing it, of missing that opportunity of becoming a freelancer, far outweighed the fear of trying to do it
Now it’s time for your story
So you’re interested in becoming a freelancer. Maybe you even have an opportunity on your doorstep. But you’re uncertain, and let’s be honest, a bit scared too. That’s okay. We all are.
And you’re not sure how to tackle it? That’s okay too! There are great people and places like GigLoft ready to support you on this journey.
If my story has relayed anything, it’s that everything you need to be ready to freelance is within you—a bit of compassion for yourself and your dreams; an ounce or two of courage to give yourself and that dream a try, and an agreement with yourself to surrender to whatever comes from it, knowing that it will be way more scary to NOT have tried than to have done so, come what may!
Finally, the last step:
“Leap and the net will appear”
Coined by John Burroughs, the 19th century American naturalist and essayist, though best remembered, for me, from a scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
That’s the last step because, even when you feel all those things—compassion, courage, and a surrender—and even when you’re ready to face your fear, you still have to do something about it! You have to say yes to that opportunity on your doorstep, or make a call to an interested client, or send an email to potential contact, or apply to GigLoft!
And when you take that action...make that leap...a net will appear. It may not be a $6,000/month income or dozen clients...yet...but it will be exactly what is needed next in your story.
So what do you think? Can you do it? Good!