February Ramblings – Cautionary Insights on the Road to Freelance

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I’m swamped. That’s how it feels at least.

Trying to do a quick little blog check in here about some of the things I am thinking and feeling as I progress on the road to freelance income.

I can’t decide if I have taken on too many things or if this is just a season of having a lot going on. I am also beginning to wonder if I am becoming an example of someone who does a lot of things, and none of them very well.

No More Unpaid Projects…Maybe

Here’s the thing… when you’re trying to figure things out and you keep throwing balls of mud around hoping that something will stick, you end up taking on a lot of projects.

AND, when some of those projects maybe kinda sorta seem to be getting to a point where they might actually go somewhere (somewhere being a very loose term), it is really hard to stop looking for ideas that might stick.

It doesn’t seem to matter what capacity I’m interacting in, but I can’t seem to get myself out of the role of looking for potential work. Inevitably that seems to rope me into projects that might “build my brand” (whatever that is, because I’m still not entirely sure… I think I have 2 -4 depending on where on the internet you find me).

Building a Brand

As mentioned above, I’m not really sure that I have a brand. I’ve got blogger me, professional me, artist me… and then a few versions of me that overlap these bits. I’ve been trying to figure out a more global strategy for presenting my awesome self to the universe, but it’s really hard.

In theory, I should be able to spin that, because I know it’s part of what makes me special. I just need a good manager. Someone to pick me up and shine me up like a diamond in the rough.

Anyway, in the ongoing quest to find my (paid) niche(s) on the internet, I’m always networking. And this always seems to be roping me into ever more unpaid activities which take up plenty of my mental space.

Up in the Clubhouse

Lately, I, like so many others have been sucked into the voice chat app Clubhouse. I’ve got a few invites… maybe I should raffle them off to encourage people to join my (currently nonexistent) email list.

There’s a lot of cool conversations but I am concerned it’s also going to be an additional giant time suck.

Because, for whatever reason, I can’t just allow myself to go on and enjoy the time. Thanks to wanting to branch out into freelancing and making money for myself, there are so many activities that are never quite just recreational anymore.

With limited time to spend online, this is perhaps a cautionary tale for the aspiring freelancer.

Anytime I do one thing that means I am sacrificing time I could be spending on another. That means both paid or unpaid projects, as well as my own leisure time and time with my family.

Clubhouse, being new and novel, and requiring a low barrier to entry than say, TikTok, (you literally just talk or listen) means it could be a great tool for networking growth and personal exposure. But also quite addicting.

Seasons … to Life and Work

I understand that I’ve taken quite a bit of time off over the last few years. I didn’t really have a choice. Once the free time presented itself again, plus the head space, it is possible I bit off a bit more than I could chew. I’ve been off work for 9 months now, half of which has been winter. Once I go back to work I’ve already lost 2-3 days a week that I used to be able to do whatever I wanted.

Right now in winter, it’s mostly ok. But I am somewhat concerned that I will not have time for the various obligations I have taken on, plus what my property demands in the summer. PLUS, a little bit of time to just enjoy the summer myself.

Maybe I Don’t Want to Freelance?

I’m not really sure where I’m going with all this. Just trying to channel some of my thoughts and stress into a blog post and perhaps maybe work out a scheme of action for myself in the process.

I am only a budding freelancer, really, yet. But I want to make sure to present some of the thoughts and struggles in potentially working towards that pivot.

In the early retirement community, day jobs can often be looked down on. Fair, they often suck. My whole blog started with me trying to find some passion outside work and having a place to vent. Just scroll back to the start (please don’t cringe at the writing too much) and see where I was mentally when I got started.

My Honest Perspectives

I’ve always really prided myself on providing my honest perspective and thoughts as I go. So, me struggling with what more freelance and entrepreneurial work looks like and means for me is part of that journey.

What I’m trying to get at here is that there is really a lot that you potentially give up on the road to bringing in your own cash outside of a W2 job. Between getting started and finding real success (which may never happen) things are really hard. And, I’m recognizing that you may lose even more of the work-life balance that caused you to pursue self employment (as that is kind of the goal to where I’m getting… not NEEDING a job while I’m still on the path the FIRE).

My Next Steps

For me, one thing I need to be mindful of is really trying not to take on any more unpaid work. I also need to be careful about where I choose to devote my time, attention, and efforts when it comes to building a brand.

I’m going to be back at work in about a month. When that time comes, I’m probably going to need to pull back on my solo efforts quite a bit. That will mean I need to put some major thought into where I focus and get better about my organization and efficiency (daunting task as a parent to a preschooler). First, because I just won’t have the time. Second, because I think I am going to want to be able to compare and contrast my inadvertent experiment with a mini-retirement devoted to developing my own income streams.

Now that I will have both to compare, I might find if I can pay my bills on 2-3 days a week of work, I want to make sure that I am only spending my free time on those money-making projects that bring me joy. And stop putting attention into building the brand.

My bottom line is I’m already at “coast-FI” I just need to pay our bills. And to be totally honest, though I love making some money, I’m still so unsure of where my heart is at. I suppose it will be a lifelong process of figuring out what I want, and adapting as it changes along the way.

Regina is That Frugal Pharmacist. She’s a PharmD, mother to a son with cancer, breadwinning wife, personal finance enthusiast, artist, writer, and entrepreneur. Regina’s single-income household has been debt-free, including her home, since she was 28 years old.
Her money approach is “holistic financial health.” She encourages mindful spending, awareness of the non-monetary costs of choices, and aligning personal values with money habits. Regina sees a frugal lifestyle and mindset as an important part of environmental stewardship. As such she’s interested in ongoing efforts towards self-sufficiency and sustainability.

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