It may seem life turns a new page once you have quit your corporate and pursue your dream career. However success is closer only when you give your honest dedicated self to it.
Only you can save yourself and not a superman. So you need to work hard. Write till your hands bleed. Walk till you find the sun that set at your land. There is truly no alternative to hard work. Every little accomplishment each day will motivate you, make you stronger and make you ready to face what is coming next.
You shall miss human connect
Working for oneself is a different ball game compared to teamwork.
Since I have had the privilege of working in both the set ups for a substantial amount of time, I can vouch for the fact that teamwork and team meetings and team outing and any kind of team activity has a different kind of appeal. They fulfil your life’s needs at different strata.
Albeit I work for myself and I am my own boss and I decide on my work hours and where I put in effort and how and where I wanna employ my skills these days. I absolutely love the independence but I also endear my workload, sometimes I miss the celebrations. Once you have delivered a project, completed an event, made a final sales pitch and the hoy and mirth that comes to you henceforth is unforeseen and only enjoyed when others share some parts of it!
Since travel blogging is my primary job and I had been a part of many FAM or press trips thanks to my travel blog, I had a chance to regularly meet people. New people, new faces and a lot of learning. That compensated for my freelancing lone career. Come lockdown and new normal of 2020, travels met with a sudden halt and I agree my social interactions have become limited. This does take a toll on one’s mental health.
You need to have a plan B and find a strong support system back home. If there is one cheerer for you in the friend’s circle, value her, support her and share your small wins and everyday struggles in a healthy interval. Venting out is a survival mechanism that actually makes life easier and paves way for increased creativity!
9 to 5 will become 24/7
The 9/5 of previous life that seemed tiresome and mundane will pave way for a more robust 24/7 work hour when you will live, dream, sleep and eat your work! This will happen before you know it! For me it was a huge adrenaline rush but did not sustain for more than a couple of years. I soon learnt the importance of discipline, deving work and implementing new strategies, segregating the time that suited my creative energy flow, dividing time between creative work and mechanic work, understanding the importance of learning and updating myself with new skills and practicing and performing what I already know.
This is your baby
When you start a blog or a small business or a new venture, you’re everything in it. This is your baby in the literal sense. The more you take care of this, you will see it crawling, standing, walking and running faster and before you know this will grow into a fully automated business of your own, making space for breather in which you can start a new venture or pursue a hobby of your own or travel the world. The sense of accomplishment is profound and you will love every bit of it!
Reach out, ask
None of us know it all. We learn on a daily basis. It could be a new recipe or a new code. It is okay to reach out to people and ask. Until you make the first move you do not know what awaits you in the form of a reward.
For the longest time I waited for hotels to reach out to me for press trips. One fine day I pinged an institution on instagram and they asked for my media kit. I didn’t even know what a media kit was. I googled and asked in a few forums and learnt what it is and created and approached the hotel again. Needless to say, I was accepted. Many of my print publications were born out of similar asking for it.
Ask for help. In the freelancing industry, I have seen that the successful ilk will be more than happy to help you, especially when you are a newbie.
Do remember to help a new entrant as well. It works in a cyclic order. the more you give the greater is your return!
Failure is the pillar of success
You can fail. Not once and twice. You may fail multiple times. It is okay to accept the failure, learn from it and move on to try something new. Be creative and open to experiments and you will be surprised at the magnitude of opportunities knocking at your door! If a few failed attempts scares you from persisting, you need to rethink your strategy.
For the first few months, I had no idea how some of my webpages made it to the front page of Google and many did not. Unaware I kept at it. It took me awhile to learn SEO and implement the same on the blog. Nowadays, I can almost write anything and successfully implement SEO so that it appears on the front page of google. From the did not know phase to I can do it phase, I took around six months to swim in. I almost drowned a few times initially but I sprang all the limbs and you can see the result today!
Financial back up
I worked for a couple of years before I quit my job. I also made mindful investments to ensure none of my money is getting into debris and they can help me sustain in future.
Apart from that, I understood the importance of diversifying hence along with the blog, I also grew Instagram and started a regional channel in YouTube. Now, with the second phase of lockdown in India, I am working hard to establish this new blog niched on lifestyle. All of these are work that i enjoy, as well work that are diversified and helps solve various problems faced by people!
Acquire new skills/ Upgrade yourself
One of the major learnings in my entrepreneurial journey is to learn or at least being open to learn new stuff. Every freelancer goes through the do it myself phase and that makes them immensely confident. I suggest choosing one particular stream and learn all of it and get a certificate stating you are a pro. This will serve as a testimony to your newly acquired skillset.
Be active on socials: Networking is Key
Choose one of the social media channels and make it your home to grow your tribe. Instagram, linkedin, tiktok… whatever works for you is fine! Provide value, try to solve a problem, master the art of creating infotainment. Understand what is your forte, static posts or videos. Understand trends and try to integrate your product in the ongoing trends. You will scale newer heights and reach a greater number of audience sooner than you can imagine!
For example, I found a dentist who partnered with an Instagrammer named Jissa Paul, an influencer in the gen Z age group. His product line is invisible dental braces and that reached the right audience thanks to Instagram!
Indulge in a hobby
All work and no play, makes Jack an antisocial element… well of course close enough if not totally morbid.
Take some time out each day to avoid burnout. The curse of burn out can last for longer than you imagine. For example, I often get into writer’s block, a pressure to be perfect… Being perfect is an imaginary world standard. You do not need to attend that to satisfy your audience, please remember.
Take a couple of hours each day and indulge in a hobby. This could be watching a movie, reading a book, swimming or any kind of physical activity. This helps immensely and helps you start a conversation once in a bluemoon when you meet new people!
Take care of your mental health
It is possible for your mind to fall in the trap of stress and anxiety , not just when you are freelancing but also when you are in a full time job. But the steady flow of money and the security of a job triumphs many benefits of an entrepreneur’s journey. The slimiest of the tracks are when you fall prey to turbulent days such as never ending lock down when travels have stopped!
It is highly encouraged to talk to a therapist. They are trained professionals who will guide you to better state of mental health, to fight your inner demons which obviously varies from a person to another one.
To keep a track of your anxiety, it is important to know a few simple tricks. Live a disciplined life. Wake up at a time. Go to bed at a time. Sleep and repeat. Get your work done in between. For a surge in dopamine, walk 10,000 steps a day and practice freehand yoga. Running can help you feel better. Indulge in creative hobbies, like painting. Create a boundary wall from the toxic elements of your life. If it is a family member who is rubbing your trigger, stay away.
Practice a gratitude diary
it is easy to become overwhelmed and forget why you started in the freelancing journey. There will be rainy days, there will be days full of magic. You need to find a fine balance between the two extremes and procure a safe distance between the two ends. You need to settle yourself somewhere comfortable further away from the emotional turmoil to ensure safe mental health.
Practice a diary where you note down 5 things you are grateful about on a daily basis. 5 tiny small things as trivial as a new blossom on your table plant. But it should be something you are truly grateful for to the universe. Practicing gratitude journal helps you fall asleep faster as well, research says. In a few months, when you turn the pages you will be pleasantly surprised how far you have come!