Finding your Footing as a Freelancer
Tanashya is a Junior Account Manager at Aam and is based in Boston, MA.
The word freelancer is often thrown around as this very cool thing that a lot of people aspire to. In reality, being a freelancer entails being your own accountant, marketer, finance manager on top of actually doing what you do. I started out freelancing right after I graduated from college last year. It leads to a bit of a jolt when you leave the protected walls of your college campus for the real world and you suddenly have to juggle multiple roles.
So how did I find my footing and get comfortable with my role as a freelancer?
First, get comfortable with the uncertainty of your income. Being a freelancer means you don’t know how much your income will vary every month. Start by making a rough budget of how much money you need to make in order to break even and in the months that you make more than that, invest in an emergency fund for those months when you don’t.
Find your community. Starting to work with Aam was one of the best decisions I could make as a freelancer. I found a community of freelancers to collaborate with, ideate with and it makes the process of finding a client much easier. It gave me stability and community, something the freelance world is often missing. If you can find other freelancers to work closely with, it makes a big difference and makes this job a little less lonely!
Embrace the flexibility. My parents live in India and I live in Boston and traveling there itself takes 24 hours. I love that as a freelancer, I can set my own schedule which means that I can plan to visit them anytime I want. Having that freedom is unexplainable to me. It gives me so much comfort that I don’t need to apply for PTO and I’m not restricted by some corporate structure. When I’m in India, I can also set my hours and work when my family is busy so I get quality time with my parents and sister!
Lastly, don’t let the hard days get to you. There will be days or weeks when you don’t have a lot of work and might feel demoralized by the state of your clients. It’s hard not to take those days personally but it’s important to keep pushing. Take a course, learn something new and keep putting yourself out there in front of clients. Things will look up soon!