The Freelance Writer’s Journey, Chapter 13
Someone told me that it takes three months to get used to a new way of living.
If you move, it takes three months to get used to the new place. When you change jobs, it takes three months until it feels familiar. And so on, and so forth.
I write this almost exactly four months after starting my freelance writing business, and I think there’s some truth to that three month rule. Even though, back in September, becoming a freelancer felt foreign to me, it feels normal now.
I was not sure whether I would make it this far, but now things that felt impossible last year are a part of everyday life. I can wake up, fire up the laptop, and earn a living wage writing and editing content for people online! It really is possible.
Since I haven’t posted in a few weeks due to the holidays, I’ll take some time to recap the biggest wins and challenges in December and the first part of January.
Wins Since December
I finished my first semester of school, meaning I am about 10% done with my degree if you look at it chronologically. The moment I turned in my final assignment for the term, I knew that I could make it through the rest of the program. It started to feel real to me.
It’s strange to think that I will be working on the same thing for five years straight. So far as an adult, I have only had the same job or school for two years, maximum. Once the fall semester ended, I got this feeling of, “This is my life now.”
Business-wise, December went swimmingly. It was my best month in terms of financial outcome and general job satisfaction. Certain things that used to intimidate me don’t anymore. And by January, I hit a sweet spot of having enough leads where I can be selective about what I say “yes” to.
My official state and city business licenses have come in, too. I am a business owner in the eyes of the law… not something I would have anticipated in January of 2020.
Finally, I got the badge called “Top Rated” on Upwork. This means that for the entire time I’ve been on the platform, I have consistently succeeded at the tasks given to me. 100% of the people I have worked with would recommend me to new clients, and my profile has a special icon to reflect that.
Almost immediately, the kinds of jobs I get invited to changed. Someone even handed me a gig with no application, and no interview! So, the Top Rated thing is definitely something I don’t want to screw up.
Challenges Since December
For the first time since I started, I encountered the issue of having too many projects to complete. Obviously that’s a great problem to have, but it still required me to be extremely strategic about how I spend my time and energy. It hurts to pass certain invitations by because I know I am too occupied with other things that I already said “yes” to, and I hope the people who invited me understand.
Also, it has been increasingly difficult to focus on things that do not directly generate revenue. Because I only have a certain amount of hours in the week after my schoolwork is done, I need to spend my work hours wisely. In late November I basically dropped everything that does not directly lead to income. However, there are still some things I need to take care of that don’t make money, like the business administration side, and this blog. So there have been some moments that required me to dig deep and get something done, despite a lack of time and energy for it.
I can now say “I’m a doctoral student and I own a freelance writing business” without feeling like I’m lying, or like I am an imposter. And man, that feels good.