Friends in Portland and other areas have recently asked how I get work as a freelance writer. It’s kind of funny, because just over a year ago, I asked freelance writers the same type of question! I am flattered, but I can only talk about what has worked for me, and why I prefer freelancing to working for someone else.
1. I like organizing things, and I like to solve problems. In the past, this made my employers and managers very happy because they got hours of free labor from me. Now, it fuels me to keep clients and editors happy, find new avenues of work, and to go prospecting.
2. I define my own motivation. Having a boss “ride herd” on you can be helpful if you’ve never done a particular task before. But after you have acquired a skill, then you either need to be left to do it, or do it on your own. When it became clear that I would never have the kind of autonomy I wanted at my former job, I chose the latter path.
3. Humans are social animals and we start defining others as soon as we can talk. But this can grow harmful as we get older. If you accept others’ definition of who you are, you begin to limit yourself and what you can do. In an office environment, this can be particularly detrimental. For example, if you self-identify as someone who works behind the scenes, it doesn’t mean that you can’t speak in public, lead a project, or run a business. You just need to find your comfortable spot in an uncomfortable situation.
You can succeed at anything you want. It takes diligence, of course, some serendipity, and occasional boosts from friends and family, but if you know what you want, don’t let anyone else define your capabilities.
How do you define yourself?