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Working in Narnia
The Freelancer’s Guide to Living an Enchanted Life
One of my all-time favorite authors is C.S. Lewis. Lewis was an English professor at Oxford and Cambridge in the early 20th century and his series, The Chronicles of Narnia, is my favorite literary work.
“being a freelancer is full of challenges and obstacles, but it is also thrilling, exciting and life-changing–and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
In the third book of the series, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, four children: Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie, who have been evacuated to the English countryside from London in 1940 following the outbreak of World War II discover a wardrobe in the home of a Professor where they are staying. The children enter the wardrobe–and come out–in Narnia. Narnia is a fictional, fantasy world of magic, mythical beasts, and talking animals.
Narnia is wildly enchanting–but sometimes it’s also scary.
Narnia reminds me of the life of a freelancer. It’s a beautiful and totally awesome, but it can also be frightening–at least at first.
Going through the wardrobe
Before I became a freelancer, I had a job I enjoyed and earned a good salary. I liked my supervisors and co-workers. Sure, I had the the occasional frustrations that are a part of any job, but for the most part everything was fine. Fine, until one day, I started to wonder if I was living up to my potential. Deep down I knew I wanted to my career to align more closely with my values, personality, and passions. Then, on an ordinary day my “wardrobe” appeared when I heard about freelancing when a friend, whom I used to work with, told me he had recently started working on his own, doing what he loved, and succeeding at it.
As I watched him, I was mesmerized. Freelancing sounded amazing, and I started to picture myself freelancing too.
I was excited. What if I really could work on my own? What if I really did have the discipline to be my own boss? What if I could get enough clients? What if people would want my services? What if I could find enough clients to support my family? Could freelancing be my new reality? I wasn’t sure, but I wanted to find out.
→ Related Article: Are You Ready to Start Freelancing? (In this article I share more of my personal journey as a freelancer)
After several months, I got the guts to ask my employer about working from home a few days a week. He agreed to let me try it out. After about 3 months, I learned I could work remotely from my home, and I was more productive than before.
I was about to enter the awesome land of Narnia (freelancing)
Slowly, I started adding freelance clients. But, within two years, I was signing my first design retainer contract.
→ Related Article: Finding Your First Freelance Client (I share some of the lessons I learned to find clients)
This contract became the cornerstone for my new business that allowed me to take the last full step into my Narnia. A full-time freelancer.
It was exciting. But as the euphoria faded, I became utterly aware that I didn’t recognize the new world I was in.
It was no longer in my comfortable job.
My mind suddenly went in a million different directions. One moment, I was confident and excited. The next, I definitely felt anxiety about my new normal. In weaker moments, I had doubts. Could I sustain this? Did I know enough to make it?
That was over a decade ago…and, yes, I did make it. But, I’m still living in Narnia, and loving it.
But, living in Narnia has taught me many things. Things about myself that I didn’t know. Things about business, clients, billing, insurance, taxes, retirement, marketing… I didn’t know how much I didn’t know.
And, I had a ton to learn. But for me, the risk was worth it.
And, looking back, I see how it could have been a lot less scary.
Living in Narnia
I want to be honest. Becoming a freelancer will test you. It’s a new world, with a different set of rules. Leaving the safety and comfort of a 9-to-5 job can be unsettling. Just like Narnia, there are obstacles, challenges, and threats.
And, there are tons of questions to answer. For example, I wanted to know: How do I market myself? How do I set up my finances (insurance, retirement, benefits)? How do know how much to charge for my work? Will they like my work? Will they want to work with me again? Deep down I knew I had to rise up and overcome. But it would have been awesome if I had a mentor, a solid source who knew about the challenges of freelancing. I needed an expert guide.
I just didn’t know where to find one.
After I had been a freelancer for a while, I felt more comfortable. I adapted to the demands of working independently, and I liked the challenges of finding new clients. Sure, being a freelancer is full of challenges and obstacles, but it is also thrilling, exciting and life-changing–and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Let Me Be Your Guide to Narnia
Is freelancing calling you? If so, an awesome life beyond your “wardrobe” awaits. If you’re willing to walk through to the other side, I want to make sure that you don’t have to brave the unknown alone.
I left the predictable world of a 9-5 job over a decade ago. And, during those years, I learned how to be a successful freelancer, many times the hard way. You can take advantage of my struggles and let me show you what you don’t know about being a successful freelancer.
Not only can I help you survive and thrive as a freelancer, but I can even show you where to find the most beautiful, hidden freelance treasures are hidden.
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