#FreelanceLife: Week 1


A New Series About Building Your Business

First I want to say thank you to everyone who has been so encouraging this week when I announced that I was now officially and finally a full-time personal stylist and freelance writer. I had been gearing up for a big quit and the timing was not perfect (when is timing ever perfect?) but it felt right. 

I thought it might be fun (weigh in and tell me if my hunch is right) to do a series on entrepreneurship, freelance ins and outs, and starting your own business, kicking off with what my stylist and freelance life on week one actually looked like. 


Monday, April 4, Day 1 - I'm a BIG routine person, so I started this day (my first day of non-salaried work in over 6 years) like I do most days: waking up at 5 AM, working out between 5:30-6:30 AM, shower + makeup + getting dressed, then breakfast by 8 AM. I'm doing the Fired Up and Focused Challenge (I started April 1), and am finding it's a great way to start the day, so I loaded up the video for Day 4. Next up was shopping! Not for me, but for a client. I shared this day over on SnapChat (I'm Chic Stripes) and it was a whirlwind. After shopping, I had lunch and then jumped into my freelance writing projects (I do grant writing as well as general writing) for a few hours. I then spent another 1.5 hours working on my Beauty in Bloom post (seriously) and then half an hour cataloging the pieces I purchased for my client with my assistant. 7 PM came around and I was BEAT. I missed a friend's event that night because I was on a work roll and wanted to keep going. Oh, I also got an email that a job I applied for and made it to the first round of interviews with wasn't moving forward with me. Those emails are always slightly depressing even though I knew I wasn't super excited about the job, But when you are freelance, sometimes any job prospect sounds good... 

Tuesday, April 5, Day 2 - This day was meeting after meeting after meeting. I realized I did nothing to actually make money this day (which come to find out, is easy when you are on salary, but not so much in freelance). On the flip side, I did my financial modeling, had lunch with a friend, made some new connections and then read my book. My Fired Up and Focused Challenges were reminding me to live and work mindfully which included making a calendar where you first block off personal time (self care, family time, etc.) then add office hours, then add specific blocks of times for projects. Since I have so many different projects, making this calendar was SO helpful as I am able to give myself two days for Chic Stripes and two days for writing projects and one day to unplug from the biz along with the weekends. We will see if this works out like this, but I'm gonna try! I also got a random text from an old friend (who is freelance now as well!) sending me her congrats and wanting to know my writing rates as she might have a few projects for me. Big smiles at the prospect of paid work.

Wednesday, April 6, Day 3 - Slept in two hours, got up at 7 AM. I think the first two days of freelance life wore me out. But I had a productive morning - I did work on my freelance writing using the Pomodoro technique, seriously the best way to work. I was using this so much and then stopped, but started again thanks to Fired Up as they reminded me of it. The afternoon was somewhat of a work wash, I just couldn't concentrate. I was able to take a walk to the library to pick up some books, walk to the park and spend some time working on and meeting with the planning crew for a side project (if you live in Richmond, sign up for our newsletter!). I also got a RANDOM person who booked a closet cleanse. So technically, they were a word of mouth referral from another client I worked with - but it seriously went, here's the email connecting ya'll and her next email was - I booked it! I hadn't even had a chance to respond. So, good ego booster for first week of freelance life! Got an email my hot yoga passes are expiring April 20 - I guess I'll be doing two-a-days to use them up, but hey, I'm freelance - I've got a clear schedule! 

Thursday, April 7, Day 4 - Another really productive day! It's my writing day - so I worked on two projects for existing clients, had a Skype call with one of my amazing bosses, fielded a call from a potential new client (probably won't pan out), wrote this blog post, had a meeting for another potential project, and theeeeen had one of the last few VCU Pre-Accelerator student mentorship sessions. I have been so honored to be a mentor for this group since January. The students have made so much tangible progress not only in the ways they represent their businesses but in their actual business models. I will be completely honest and tell you that more often than not, I've felt completely out of place there (I mean, my own business was just a side business until Monday!). But it's been such a fun way to connect with creatives and strong business professionals in Richmond and I'm learning as much as the students I think. FYI - no writing projects yet from old friend. I know she's busy but doesn't she know I could run out of money and have to live on bread and peanut butter??

Friday, April 8, Day 5 - So this is the day I'm taking for myself. I'm attending TEDxRVA today and couldn't be more excited. I love TED Talks and while these have been in Richmond for the past few years, I have never been able to go to one - 1. I was always working and 2. I just didn't want to pay the $50 per ticket price. This year, I figured it was a worthwhile business expense (yay for business write offs) and that I could use this to get inspired, network, meet new people, connect with those I already know. Insider tip - ever want to go to a TED event in your own city but maybe not pay the price? Be a volunteer! Free ticket + lunch is what I hear!

So there you have it. Freelance Life Week One is in the books. It definitetly had its ups and downs and I faced some worrisome thoughts of "what if projects don't come through", "what if I run out of money" (this is a feasible thing here), "do I take a job at a coffee shop?" (which would be kinda fun). But I'm one of those people who believe in the whole PUT IT OUT THERE and it will happen philosophy, so universe, if you are listening - I could use some projects. But in the mean time, I'll read my books, I'll meet some people, and I'll drink lots of coffee.