THAT fear you feel when you have no work coming in?
I know it well. Very well.
I’ve been freelancing for six years now, making money from my blog for the last 18 months or so and still, I fear THAT fear.
When work is quiet. When my inbox is manageable. When my bank balance looks piteously low or I’m in the red.
I’ve been there more times than I count on all my fingers and toes. And yep, I’m totally with you, it sucks.
It’s a horrible feeling, especially when you’re first starting out. You think you’re doing something wrong. You think you’re going to be skint forever. You will probably – more than likely even – decide you’re going to give up, ditch your dreams and go and get a ‘proper job’.
But don’t! Please don’t.
Because trust me, this working for yourself game? It’s all about the highs and lows. The peaks and troughs. Some days you’re flying high, punching the air with joy, feeling that you’ve got this s**t down.
Other times? You will feel so dreadful, so despondent, so worried, so anxious, so unhappy, that you will question everything and wonder why the hell you ever chose to take a big ol’ leap of faith and go and make a living on your own terms.
This is when things get tough. And this is EXACTLY the time when you must ‘keep the faith’. To help you do just that, here are some things to think about when your work (and money) situation looks bleak.
This is how I have learned to ‘keep the faith’ when every bone in my body is screaming “God damn you Kate, why couldn’t you just stick with a normal bloody job?!” ;-)
I LOOK AT THE BIGGER PICTURE
When I have a bad hour or a bad day, I force myself to think rationally and to see the bigger picture.
What I’ve achieved so far, what I’m working towards, what I’ve overcome. I remind myself that this working for yourself malarky is not a race, it’s just life! There is no finishing line, no sprint to win, as working for myself is something I intend on doing forever.
And if I’m really struggling? I make myself read my testimonials page, have a gander at past praise from clients or I revisit the lovely emails I’ve received from readers. This always reminds me to be proud of what I’ve achieved so far and helps me feel a whole lot chirpier.
I MAKE MY OWN GOOD FORTUNE
I’ve stopped saying, “I’m so lucky” when something good happens in my work life, because it’s not luck at all! It’s fortune. And the thing with fortune is, unlike luck, you create much of it yourself. When you work for it, that is.
Because fortune doesn’t come to you. No, no, no. You have to create it, look for it and hunt the b****r down!
I’m a firm believer that opportunities are always out there, you just have to keep looking for them. So I do this all the time, but particularly when things are quiet.
I approach people. I work on my PR. I come up with new ideas. I search and I dig and I knock on doors and I carve out my own path.
When you work for yourself, you have to keep trying and persisting. Even when you don’t feel like it. And especially when nothing is coming from it. Because it always pays off in the end.
I (TRY) TO USE MY TIME WISELY
When work is quiet and I have time on my hands, I use those extra few hours to get stuff done. You know, those little jobs that always need doing but you never seem to get around to?
As I’ve said before, I’m not a lover of lists (bar this one!) but I do, when things are quiet, make myself knuckle down and get those pesky jobs finished. And I also make a short list of do-able objectives and try and crack on with them, as best I can.
Not only is this brilliant at keeping me out of mischief, it also helps me get s**t done!
So to give you an example, January was very quiet for me work wise (as I expected) so I got down to business and created my first newsletter, which I am loving writing! I’ve been meaning to create one for the past 12 months so you can imagine how chuffed I am.
Having quieter work times is NOT a bad thing, if you use your time wisely and creatively.
I ENJOY SOME TIME OFF
Us self employed folk don’t have the luxury of having our holidays paid for, so when work comes in, we take it! Even if we feel like having a day off.
So when it’s quiet, instead of stressing, I use the opportunity to take time off, to enjoy my life! Sure, I still feel guilty (as fellow bloggers will know, there’s always so much to do!) but I do it anyway.
I’m my own boss. I make my own rules. I work my own hours. I do what the hell I want within reason. But sometimes, when it comes to being self employed, you have to – where possible – go with the flow a bit.
So if things are quiet, take time off. If things are busy, work around the clock (if you wish).
I don’t know why but I always find that if I work with the quiet times, rather than against them, the universe (or whatever) has a funny way of returning my positivity with more work than I can handle, not long after.
So keep the faith my friends. Good prosperous times are on their way. (I can feel it.)