I left the corporate world 18 months ago to be a full-time freelancer and consultant. Here’s 16 things I’m learning:
- Being a 1099 is no less scary than being a W-2 in today’s climate.
- Benefits are replaceable.
- I enjoy working on different projects with different people.
- This mode of operations allows me to be a specialist which means I can add a lot more value to my clients than if I was an employee.
- I have the power to create the life that I want.
- I can say no. (I have to admit I’m still learning to do this.)
- If the client and I don’t “gel,” we don’t have to work with each other.
- I’m proactively contributing to the economy by contributing to the personal income of others. Right now, I pay five other freelancers on a regular basis to help me execute client projects.
- I’m not bogged down by process, protocol, or precedent.
- Everything I do is measured by results, not just completing a task. This keeps me sharp, always learning, and seeking out others to learn from.
- I’m expected to bring new ideas, energy, and perspective to the table. That means I need to take care of my body, mind, and soul.
- I must define the life that I want and the work that I want to do. Other people will always have different ideas about what my work and life should be about.
- Relationships are the fuel of any sustained business effort.
- I get to try new things, do things differently, and break ranks with boring, mundane, and predictable projects often engineered to eliminate or minimize risk.
- Nothing can be taken for granted. Every project, every client, every business partner is a gift. I treat them as such, even when I don’t have to.
- My family must never be neglected. If it all crumbles, they will be there to help me pick of the pieces. I shouldn’t wait until that happens, though. Their strength, encouragement, and belief in me helps me get through those days when it just seems impossible.
I may not be a freelancer and consultant for the rest of my working life, but I suspect the lessons I’m learning now will shape my thinking, believing, and doing forever.
Are you a freelancer or consultant? What have you learned along the way?
Ben Stroup is a content activist in a post-paragraph world. He is chief broker of opportunity at Ben Stroup Enterprises. Connect with Ben via email, Twitter, and Google+. Subscribe via email to learn how to use content to move people to action.