year 1 of full-time freelance

Today marks one year of full-time self-employment! This year has been a fun, crazy, and wild ride filled with a lot of mixed emotions, highs and lows, and all the in betweens. All in all, it was one of the better decisions I’ve made leaving my 9-5, but that doesn’t mean that there weren’t low points either. Let me also say this isn’t meant to serve as a congratulatory post about myself, but more of me just keeping it real and sharing the lessons I learned this past year, so that you too can learn from what I went through. Here it goes!

 
 
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  1. Entrepreneurship can be lonely - seek community.

    Going into this year, one of the biggest things I was afraid of was loneliness. I didn’t realize I was an extrovert until I quit my job. Don’t get me wrong, I like my alone time too, but my cup is filled when I’m surrounded by people. To combat this, I made friends in the industry (even if they were virtual!) and joined networking groups, like FemCity, for example. Meeting up with other freelancers and people who work from home has made me feel like I’m not alone.

  2. Time is valuable - spend it wisely.

    It didn’t occur to me that saying “yes” to literally every project would actually cause me more harm than good. I went into the year with the idea that I’d work my booty off and say yes to every opportunity that came my way. What I didn’t realize was that when I said “yes” to a project that overloaded my schedule, it actually meant I was saying “no” to my husband, family, friends, and rest. While this mindset provided me with a lot of work, it also left my exhausted, which leads me to my next point.

  3. Burnout is real. And it sucks.

    I experienced a bit of burnout earlier in the year and felt entirely unmotivated. I left my day job to spend each day loving what I do, not hating it. Take care of yourself and allow time for rest - you’ll love what you do all the more.

  4. Get out of your house.

    So this took me awhile to get down, but I would start to get bad cabin fever because I would honestly never leave my house. It made the weekends rough because I wanted to spend every second on Saturday and Sunday out of my house, while my husband who had just worked a full week wanted to stay home. Coffee shops became my friend, and so did co-working with other like-minded creatives.

  5. Be yourself.

    This is a big one for me. I think one of the things that has contributed to my success this past year was really trying to stay true to myself. Often times I see other designers see someone’s success and they want to take their idea and slap their logo on top of it. Instagram can lead to a hard comparison game, trust me I fall into the trap too, but I’m happiest when I stay in my own lane and I don’t worry about what other people are doing.

  6. Money hungry.

    I went into this past year with the goal in mind of matching my corporate salary. I’ve been blessed with a lot of work and can confidently say that my business brought in more than double of my previous salary, however money isn’t everything. Making a few extra hundred dollars on a job that will actually cause me a giant headache is just never. worth. it. It took me a while to grasp this concept, but I have to remember to always take care of myself first. Charge what you’re worth and the rest will follow.

  7. Stay confident.

    There were times this past year where I felt like I was being walked all over. I was a young entrepreneur who didn’t know what the heck she was doing and just sort of agreed to a lot of things that I shouldn’t have. No one actually knows what they’re doing - we’re all just making it up as we go. Stay confident in yourself, your brand, and what you stand for and your clients will respect you. <3

Briana Wengert