how I started freelancing, part two (#31days)

31 days buttom

Like I said . . . we got married in January 2011. Mr. S. was a gem and little else was. It was early 2011 and I found myself twiddling my thumbs. Struggling with anxiety and depression wasn’t exactly the post-wedding plan.

I left a fantastic job, fantastic church, fantastic community and fantastic city . . . and make no mistake, Mr. S. was worth it. He was studying for his master’s degree at a university in Indiana that rhymes with word-you. Rent was due and I’m not the type to sit on my caboose. Inactivity is the first ingredient in a disaster recipe for me. (Tell me I’m not alone?)

I applied for any remotely relevant position in the area and, since I had little immediate success, thought I’d volunteer in the meantime.

One trick of the trade: volunteer as a writer to build your portfolio and resume. Nonprofits need good communications just as much as any organization, but they might not have the fund base. Chances are, they’ll be grateful for your help.

A is for American Red Cross, and that was the first group I contacted in my alphabetical who-can-I-help list. Coincidentally or providentially, take your pick: the Red Cross was seeking a contract Development consultant. After a 15-minute meeting, I was in it to win it.

And that’s how I swung my first freelance gig.

But the twist? Like I said, this was a contract consultant role. I did a lot of writing and a lot of fundraising, but I knew it wouldn’t last forever. So I started networking whenever and wherever I could. Chamber of Commerce? I was there. Speed networking? Count me in. I did everything I could to insert myself in the business community.

No one I met had full-time opportunities available. But most people needed some help on the communications front. Can’t hire you full-time, but my website needs edits, one person said. No full-time opportunities, but help me with a brochure? another asked.

From there, I tried to fly. Like a bird with one iffy wing, I moved forward and backwards. What matters, though, is the faith business owners put in me. I seized a part-time role with the art museum in our community, managing membership, development, communications and more. This augmented and anchored my freelance work — and I grew in experience and expertise.

Nearly two years in that community and it felt like home. I even won a Top 10 Under 40 award for young professionals. I was working crazy hard and almost fitting in.

Upon his graduation, Mr. S. grabbed a job in, place of all places, Kansas City. With a little bit of deja vu, we returned.

That moment when a piece of music hits its finest point is called a crescendo. It’s the no-going-back moment, the moment of high activity and high potential. My crescendo as a freelance writer took place about a year ago. When we moved, the choice was obvious. I could seize a full-time role, or I could take my business full-time.

I chose the latter and haven’t looked back. 

It’s birthday season for Inspiration-Driven Communication. Celebrate with me?

Tomorrow, we start with baby steps. How do you take an idea and build it into a business? Spoiler alert: a little confidence goes a long, long way,

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4 thoughts on “how I started freelancing, part two (#31days)

  1. Wow, you were very brave about taking exactly what steps you needed to take! Networking is probably my weakest point.

    • Rachel, we will talk about networking soon too! I’ll share this in a later post, but at the first networking event I ever attending, I called myself a copywriter. But what people heard was copyRIGHTer . . . and the next day, I had a few email inquiries about how I could help with trademarks and registrations! It’s funny today, but I felt so frustrated then! 😉

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