After seven years of working in advertising, I needed a break. The majority of those years were spent working far too many 80 hour weeks. Often, I chose this because the work was worth it. Other times, I felt trapped and like I didn’t have a choice. Regardless, I knew it was time to try out something new and my freelance portfolio was starting to build.
I’m adaptable, yes. But I didn’t want to always be adapting. I wanted a chance to test out what work styles were truly best for me—mentally, physically, emotionally. I wanted the flexibility to give my brain a break at times when it just wasn’t cooperating and be extra productive through the times it was. I looked back on weekends or days off and realized that I did just this on those “free days.” And those were the days I felt smartest, freshest, and able to come up with new ideas. And the meetings I’d have at coffee shops those days? Those were deep, inspirational, and exciting. It was time to give it a go full-time. At least for awhile.
Like most creatives, I wanted the chance to work on a variety of projects. I wanted to be able to pick-and-choose what made sense not only for my skillset, but as a cultural fit. I wanted to make a difference for clients. I wanted to persuade them to take some risks and try something new.
Here’s the thing though—I was anxious. Hell, it’s only been a month and a half, so I still am. What about my rent? My student loan payments? Car? Internet, gas, electric, credit cards, food, beers, some fun things to clear my brain, experiences? INSURANCE? What about saving for retirement? Scary.
I haven’t figured all that out. I will, don’t worry. But for now, I’m taking the time to explore. Not only which work style is best for me, but also my skills. Am I actually great at networking? How are my business development chops? Will I have enough work to sustain me and not make me feel unstable each month? Can I deliver all my work on time? How do I write this contract so I don’t get screwed? WHAT IS LIFE?
The biggest exploration? Do I want to stay freelance full-time or do I want to go back to a steady, in-office, full-time job? I’ve decided that my new mission is to not run from something, but to run to something. If this “gig” lifestyle works, I’d be a happy camper. But if a great full-time opportunity comes along, I’m open to it too.
Make sure you come back for updates on this journey. Oh, and if you want to get in touch for some work: http://samsiman.com