What they don't tell you about freelancing

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Isolation.

The taboo topic no one wants to talk about.

But it’s a fundamental part of the journey for freelancers and entrepreneurs.

So if you’re in the thick of that journey, or you’re thinking about making the jump, read on. There are a few things you have to keep in mind to keep your determination (and your sanity) on your way to success.

The shift to ‘being your own boss’

Let’s start with the obvious. There’s a huge difference between being an employee and running your own business.

What might have started off as a great idea soon becomes quite challenging when the realities and monotony of running your own operation start to catch up to you. This happens in a few ways:

  • You become very aware of cash – how much you have and how much you need;

  • You can go from daily human contact to spending whole days alone;

  • As a result you’re ‘in your own head’ most of the time.

At some point you’ll come to a realisation that there are parts of this freelancer business that just aren’t fun. You’re your own boss, and you feel external pressure to be happy about that—but that romantic notion soon turns to prolonged periods of isolation and loneliness.

You end up yearning for someone to talk to or bounce ideas off. It all starts to feel too hard to do on your own.

How to help yourself

If you’re in this for the long haul (and you should be), you need to learn to deal with these feelings in a sustainable way. But you can’t just ‘deal with it’ by yourself. You need to talk to others to find ways forward.

The most important thing is to be honest with where you’re at. Don’t play pretend and tell your friends you’ve never been happier if you aren’t. We’re human after all—it’s unnatural to be disconnected over a long period, and it’s ok to be suffering a little as you go through that.

Tough as it may sound, the key is to create a community for yourself. Go first. Make a list and reach out to others in the same boat. Maybe you have friends in different industries that also freelance or work remotely, and you can sit together once a week. Most industries have meetup groups where you can make friends or network. And co-working spaces are a great place to go to feel connected.

Create an opportunity every single day where you get to connect with someone – either inside your network or, even more importantly, someone you don’t know. You’ll be energised and more creative for being engaged in a community.

Remember, it’s not just you

People are people, and for the most part, our experiences are shared. If you’re feeling a little disconnected, you’re not the only one. But you ARE the only one who can help you take your life back. So if you’re feeling isolated, reconnect with your purpose.

Get clear on what you really want. Why did you decide to do this in the first place? What are you giving the world? And how can you position yourself so you’re best-placed to do it?

If you want to talk further on this, drop me an email at Damian@mentorhub.com.au

Damian Karaula