Before going solo, I imagined freelancing was similar to flying like a bird. That sense of being uninhibited, boundless and the sky being the limit. No more instant coffee or people stealing your food out of the fridge were additional perks.
Now I’ve taken the plunge, I have discovered this image of freelancing to be true, but not in the way I first imagined. So to gain a different perspective on the journey of a soloist, I thought it may be interesting to compare it with that of a bird.
The early days
Every person has a season in their life to draw from others and be, in a way, spoon fed. I have always thought baby birds look so odd. Bald and squawking, all they seem to do is eat and grow. The significance of learning from those who have gone before us is invaluable to our own career. If we think we know everything at the age of 21, we will never learn to fly.
As birds move closer to leaving the nest, they often practice flapping their wings as they cling on to a branch. This strengthens their muscles and prepares them for take off. If you are looking to step out in business and work for yourself, you must plan and prepare. Research the market, do some test runs and ask advice. Also, be sure to put together a business plan or a vision for your business that you can constantly refer to. This will help to keep you on the right track.
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Leaving the nest
No-one should ever stop learning, but there reaches a point where it’s time for us to do it on our own. The thought of stepping out into the business world and freelancing is always a scary one. There are no safety nets or assurances but if it were easy, everyone would do it. No one is immune to mistakes. Have you ever seen a bird first to fly? It’s awkward to watch. The wings are shaky and the bird often takes a few tumbles before it soars into the sky.
Birds give the impression that they are always having fun. They have the privilege of flying. They get to go where they want and do what they want. It’s the image of freedom. I used to think about freelancing in this way until I began to ponder about the purpose. Why do birds fly?
I realised they actually have a huge weight of responsibility on their wings. They fly to hunt food and gather materials to support themselves and their families. Yes, there are enjoyable moments of play then there is the time spent working hard.
Ultimately, the freelancing lifestyle is unique and not meant for everyone. However, as one of the many that have stepped out on the journey, I can say that it is definitely worthwhile.