January 21, 2016

A Thought or Two: Fear and Freelancing

Surely it is not surprising to hear that freelancing can be scary.
It's kind of the opposite of what a lot of us are taught growing up: find a job, find somewhere you fit into, find an occupation you can apply your skills to, find something stable and steady to ensure your success in life. None of these are bad pieces of advice. They apply to a lot of us, myself included.
I feel a lot of "pride" associated with freelancing. I CAN DO THIS. WATCH ME. And it's not the easiest thing to admit that it's freakin' scary, and that it might not actually be the best thing for me. But I'm gonna get nice and real here.

I have now been essentially freelancing for 8 months since graduating school. A lot of my work has been varied - I'm the only creative person someone knows so they come to me for sewing a birth banner, or for a portrait of their wife, or for some paintings for their home. Some of my jobs have come to me by sending a resume for an art instructor position and getting a response that says they don't need any more instructors, but they do need tshirt designs! Other have been by putting myself out there, or hassling my friends in bands long enough that they finally decide to take me up on my offers. It's a total thrill to land a new contract and it is hilarious how this happens sometimes.

My "jobs" are technically also freelance. I work for a wedding photographer once a week to edit photos, perform administrative tasks, create graphics for cards or promotions, update social media, and more. I also help on shoots occasionally. My other job is a freelance contract at a day program for persons with Alzheimers and Dementia. I do art sessions once a week. I love love love these jobs. I love going into work and being a part of a team. I love creating alongside others, I love helping people create. I love working with people! I have come to learn that my social nature is just as important a factor in my career as my creative nature is.

Which is a realization that makes the idea of perpetually freelancing quite scary. I want a workplace. I want a workplace culture. I want workplace friends. I want to be a part of something bigger than just my own work. I am not satisfied with staying at home and working from home, alone, 7 days a week. I am not quite at a place in my freelance work where I can afford my own place, either, and that's a big "want" for me. It's something I've wanted since I left home the first time and so thoroughly enjoyed having an apartment to myself.

Freelance is a fantastic way to work, and it is really fulfilling on many levels. Freelance works for many people and I am a total believer in it. I'm just afraid of it, despite doing it right now. But I guess fear comes along for the ride for a lot of good things in life.

Are you a freelancer? Do you get scared of it all sometimes?

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