June 2018 | Being On The Ball
Before you think I have suddenly become a football fanatic with the start of the World Cup this month (although exciting for many), I mean a different type of “being on the ball”. I’m talking attentiveness, honesty and organisation in the face of potential panic and the unpredictable nature of life as a freelancer. I’ve got to remain “on the ball” if I’m to make a success of this career choice.
So, despite the success and extremely positive outlook I ended May with (blog post here), I was soon struck with the alarming sight of my baron bank balance at the beginning of June (let’s be honest if we’re sharing this career journey). A sorry sight to say the least and one that ensued a feeling of dread, incompetence and worry in me. As the initial panic set in I was thinking to myself: ‘being constantly busy doesn’t necessarily mean I’m doing enough to sustain myself. I need to be more “on the ball”’.
The weird thing is that my diary was still looking full for June and there was certainly not much rest surrounding delivery of upcoming projects, energy or time spent planning and preparing for them simultaneously. I seem to be bouncing from one job to another, with a packed to do list daily (I live by to do lists as an organisation fiend) and still a worrying outlook for the ability to support myself as a professional freelancer.
I’ve certainly learnt a big lesson, very quickly in this career venture; keeping on top of things requires an eye on every element of business, at all times – invoicing and payment timings being one of these. This develops the role of a freelancer from some people’s impression that we float through life picking and choosing work which could be conceived as reckless; but from entering in to the world of freelance – not naively, with understanding that there would be a lot of work to do – with the view to use my skills and thoroughly enjoy the work I do, I have far more respect for freelancers now. To those who have established themselves successfully (or are doing a good job at looking like they are – we all have scary moments like the one above I believe), I applaud you and I hope to follow in your footsteps.
We are not only arty folk with a flare for the creative, hoping for the best; we are continuously learning and practising skills in business: finance, marketing, planning, creative delivery, engagement, networking etc, and bracing ourselves, or ideally planning for the next challenge that threatens the sustainability of our work, but being driven by the passion for it anyway.
What I’m realising more and more is that you never know exactly what is involved in someone’s work until you take notice of the details or experience it for yourself. Therefore it’s important to remind myself that things aren’t always going to go swimmingly, but I have to be attentive to where I am and where I want to be, honest about the work I can and can’t do dependent on interest and availability, and organised to stay “on the ball”. And with that, I’ll be over here continuing to learn, working through the difficult situations and also appreciating the very rewarding aspects of my work.