I kind of feel like I am going through freelance bootcamp. There is a lot to learn:
- say no: i took on way to many projects to start with, and I am still paying the consequences. I don’t feel like i have served my first set of clients well, and a lot of that is a direct result of taking on projects I should not have.
- get your own stuff in order first: I dont have business cards, much less an way to keep track of invoices and money, I should have gotten that stuff in place first.
- take deposits: For some reason I did not ask my clients to pay deposits of any sort on jobs. I should have. Partly as a matter of buy in in their part, but also cash flow. I have about $30 in my account and real expenses and bills to pay.
There is more of course. And those are not complicated things to learn. I knew they were true, but its always different when you have to learn something yourself.
I think the biggest thing I am having to learn is is how to work for clients instead of an employer. I have to learn how to be able to challenge people to think about new things and ideas, to really evaluate problems and come up with solutions. This was a lot simpler at NLR…I guess because i had a long history of establishing trust. With clients now they only sort of know me. I don’t have any history. Part of this is just a matter of confidence and practice. But I also have to learn a new way to approach this. I have to educate my clients about process (at NLR i had already done that…or i just did the process), and help them see the value.
There are going to be lots of challenges as I try to build a base of clients who i am working with. Here are a few:
- finding clients
- personal networking
- disciplin/time management
- managing finances/record keeping
- being willing to challenge people perceptions and assumptions
- asking people to pay me what the work is worth, and being confident that it is worth it
- finding teammates
- follow up
Right now my big challenge is work load. I have a lot of projects going (GOOD!) but I am over committed, so i don’t feel like I am serving my first clients well (BAD!). So, i have to get better at knowing what work load i can handle. Im getting old and cant handle to many late nights in a row…and truth be told I am not self caring right now (last time i went for a bike ride…..who knows). So…this has lot to do with experience, rhythm, balance…time to get back to work!
- bike ride
- blog post
- 2 client proposals
- CCCA sectional workshop proposal
- client meeting
- video shoot
Its not all going to get done, but it feels good to be doing stuff that is steps toward actually getting this freelance thing off the ground.
I think the big struggle right now is priorities. I don’t have my web site up, a business card, nothing, but im dong stuff for clients (which is good!) A lot of it is a matter of time management. Between working at church and the canopy tour there are not a lot of hours left.
Recently I have started doing more freelance work for people. I hope that someday this will evolve into a little company that helps people solve problems, does some design work, equips people to impact more people and make the world a better place. I think it would be good for me to blog about how its going. Perhaps somebody can learn from my experiences, but mostly i process things well by writing. So, here we go…
I think the place to start is with what I want to do. It would be simple enough to put out a shingle and tell people i will make there brochures, but that is not exactly the direction i want to go. I started brainstorming some things that I value that i would want to be part of a company i start. Here are a few in no order:
- problem solving
- high service
- good design
- big picture
- best solutions
Each of those values have challenges of course. Networking is a good example, I really lilke connecting people. If somebody I know has a broblem they need to solve one of the first things that comes to my mind is to try and think of somebody i know who can help them. I hope that that a big part of what i do in the future is connecting people who might be able to work together. The problem is that I don’t have a big network. I dont know lots of people. So that challenge that i have is to step out and start building my own network of people I know and trust who i can connect to other people.
I think these values are a good place for me to start thinking through what i really want to do with this venture. Next up, some big picture ideas of what i want to do.