It’s that time of year again, the time during which I roll out all the reasons and excuses for not blogging regularly. I was making these excuses to the inimitable Dan Slee last week so he set me a six week blogging challenge to help me get over myself and I’m grabbing it. I’ve fallen into the crazy situation a lot of other freelancers fall into: you’re so busy advising other people to do a thing that you don’t do the thing yourself. For me that’s blogging and generally regularly creating and circulating great digital content for myself so let’s see if this gets me jump started. I’ve got a stack of disparate things to share and think out loud about. I’ll kick off with a personal update.
In the year and a bit since my last update, things have been great. My time as Digital Engagement Manager with the Scottish Government ended in the winter- I had to leave because I had hit the 23 month threshold for contracting in the Scottish Government. I had mixed feelings about having to leave; I *loved* the work I was doing but I could feel the organisation was not entirely ready for my mojo. So with a few quiet drinks with government colleagues, I was headed toward the world of financial insecurity in exchange for taking control over my working life.
I had to set up a limited company in order to contract with the Scottish Government. I decided I would not look for a job after leaving the place and that I would give freelancing a proper go because I had the company all set up. This gave me The Fear which in turn motivated me to go out and try to smash it. But I didn’t know I might go about the smashing. I think I have a good reputation and I do have a strong professional network but the idea of articulating my offer, marketing my ‘brand’ and learning how to completely manage all my time and work was paralyzing (to this day I don’t have it all cracked.) Everything seemed urgent, too risky and every decision felt like it was probably wrong. The realisation about how much I had been rewarded for dependence as an employee hit me pretty hard too so all in all I was on a few steep learning curves.
Hesitating about an important life decision is annoying. My gut feeling was if I didn’t at least try to strike out on my own I would kick myself. I got to a point where I had to stop procrastinating because it was counterproductive, threatening my ability to pay rent and keeping me from being creative. Here I am nine months later working for myself out of the amazing Creative Floor at Codebase in Edinburgh. I’ve managed to land a few really fantastic projects and the confidence I need to pursue collaborations and business ideas is growing with experience. I still have an identity crisis (Do I promote me as me or am I my business?), I still struggle with quoting, business accountancy still scares the shit out of me and I still worry that next month I will be destitute. I have Imposter Syndrome. But I’m doing it and I have a some things in the works that I’m pretty sure you’ll be interested in. Watch this space…