On Sunday I got a haircut. Even though this style is my favorite ever — it looks nice air-dried wavy or blow-dried smooth — I had put it off for seven months because, well honestly? I dread making small talk.
But during the 45 minutes in the chair, I had a really fascinating conversation with my hairdresser. She and her new husband are working toward self employment because they want the freedom to set their own schedules, live wherever they like, and build a flexible lifestyle before having kids. I told her about my recent thoughts on the same kind of thing. We talked about how it’s so easy to get complacent in jobs like ours — decent jobs that pay well enough, but don’t allow the lifestyle we truly want. We agreed on what it means to live a good, self-directed life. I left with bouncy hair and bouncy ideas, too.
Then today I read a beautiful post about the art of being a goal-getter. The author, who’s only a few years older than me, talks about how she’s managed to build a rewarding career that led to freelancing and self-employment. And there are illustrations, too! So go take a look if you need some uplifting stories.
This inspired me to share what I’ve been working on since I wrote about my career goals. I plan to start by freelancing a few hours a week, on top of my day job, until I get a good sense of whether full-time self employment is truly right for me. So here’s what I’ve done the past two weeks:
- Updated my professional website. I’ve had it for years, but really only used it while hunting for full-time jobs. Now I’ve added different pages and rewritten the text to make it clear I’m a freelancer (with a day job). I’m slowly adding more portfolio samples. And I want to blog there with a content marketing focus.
- Created a new resume. The last revision was a year ago, when I was gearing up for my job hunt. This new version presents me as a freelancer and includes details about my current full-time job.
- Filled out an Elance profile. Elance is an online staffing marketplace that matches freelancers with clients around the world. Unfortunately, it’s filled with a lot of low-quality, low-pay assignments like “write thirty 500-word articles per month for $1 each.” But there are also some high-quality jobs mixed in.
- Applied to three Elance jobs. For instance, there’s a wedding photographer who wants to rewrite his website, and a small business owner who needs product descriptions. Each job has a few dozen bidders, so my chances are slim. But I’ve got to start somewhere! My main client from the past has switched jobs, and doesn’t need writing services right now.
Now that it’s all written down, I’ve done more than I thought. Maybe if I document my progress regularly, no matter how small, I’ll be able to look back someday and see how it all added up to something big.