Today marks four years since I left the corporate jungle, so I’ve been reflecting on what I’ve learnt from my soloist adventure so far. Here are a few of my highlights.
The possibilities are endless
Even though I’d been freelance writing on the side for six years when I took redundancy, I left my previous employer seriously believing that I needed to go and get another job because, “No one makes a living as a writer”.
That was a real mental block for me. Despite having long recognised that I could manifest most anything I turned my mind to, it took me a good six months to get past that bit of brainwashing and realise that I could create whatever life I wanted.
Relationships are worth their weight in gold
Before I realised I was going to be a soloist (or even that the word existed), two women I’d worked with many years earlier contacted me out of the blue. Independently, they said that they’d heard on the grapevine that I was leaving my job and that they’d be keen to send me freelance writing work.
I was stunned. I hadn’t spoken with them in years, and I certainly hadn’t hung out my shingle. This was my first awareness of how powerful word-of-mouth and long-term relationships can be in small business.
It’s a lesson I’ve thanked them for every day since – along with the fact that their enthusiasm and support led me to realise I actually didn’t want or need to polish up my CV after all. (Bless your hearts, Ann and Amanda).
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Follow your instincts
The only client I’ve had that made me think, “This project seems too good to be true” was also the one who never had any intention of paying my invoice.
The aforementioned shyster left a vile taste in my mouth, but he also pushed me to tighten up my terms and conditions, and to religiously do my due diligence before taking on new clients. In the long run, he’s probably saved me more money than he cost.
It’s all about me
I’ve picked up plenty of new skills running my business: I’m a better writer, more confident navigating a profit-and-loss statement, and have even misguidedly turned my hand to building my own website.
But writing this list has made me realise all of those learnings pale in comparison to what soloism has taught me about myself and what I’m capable of.
What has soloism taught you?