It was the third day of my life as a freelance writer. My friend and I had just sat down to dinner at one of our favorite Tex-Mex restaurants. He picked up a menu; I reached up my shirt and made a a weird, sweeping motion. He paused, staring.
“I have bread crumbs stuck in my bra,” I explained, like it’s just a thing that happens.
He laughed. “You’re turning into a real Liz Lemon,” he said, referencing one of our favorite TV show characters, a hapless female writer portrayed by comedian Tina Fey.
The reference seemed fitting. I’d forgotten to put makeup on before we left the house, and I had pulled a pair of jeans out of one of two massive dirty laundry piles so I didn’t go to dinner in sweat pants. The other day, I’d accidentally slept in my contact lenses because I’d forgotten to take them out.
“Hey, at least I did my hair!”
He looked at the mop of curls sitting on top of my head and paused again.
“It looks cute!” I touched my strands defensively. He just pursed his lips.
I knew I was a mess, but I wasn’t going down without a fight. “I was going for an artsy look,” I asserted. I sat back and took a swig of my beer. A little swagger never hurts, right?
“Yeeaah, yeah, I can see that,” he nodded, but it was one of those sideways, head-tilt, we-both-know-better kind of nods.
It’d been a long week. OK, a long three days. I’d finally made the gut-wrenching decision to leave my (financially) safe corporate job to launch my own freelancing business, and I hadn’t time to spare on things like laundry or dishes or makeup. I had a website to build, a business plan to create, clients to establish, rate cards to calculate, pitches to send, articles to write … the list just went on.
Living the Dream … with bread crumbs in my bra
Embarking on the freelance life has truly brought me the peace and meaning I’ve been searching for — even if that means there are going to be times I’m a bit of a mess and have bread crumbs all up in my business from that afternoon’s lunch.
In just one week, I’ve completely revamped my website to include a portfolio of my work, a list of the services I plan to offer (rate card coming soon), and a new contact page where clients can get in touch with me to discuss their projects. After pushing the site out on social media, I already have three prospective clients in the pipeline, which is really exciting!
The best part of this whole process is that I had an incredible support system behind me the whole way. Not only is my family more optimistic about me going into business for myself than I am, but I have a group of writer friends and colleagues who have been there for me every step of the way. I wouldn’t be sitting here with three potential clients without the help of Paula Hendrickson, Lori Widmer, Lorna Collier and Jes Richards. They have been encouraging me, answering my questions, reviewing my business materials, and sending me all kinds of helpful information to make sure I succeed. It just amazes me how open-hearted these folks are!
It’s only week one, which means the road ahead of me is long and, realistically, rocky. But I’m far less afraid than I was five days ago. Bring on the bread crumbs. I’m ready to get messy.