Being an entrepreneur is not easy. In the time that I’ve been a full-time freelancer, I’ve learned just how difficult it can be. And yet, for countless reasons, I still have no desire to return to a standard 9-5 job.
That doesn’t mean that I don’t stress about the “what ifs” and “will it happens.” When every decision about my business (and every client and paying gig) depends on me and me alone, I sometimes wonder if I’m not cut out for the entrepreneurial life.
Thankfully, these worries are not something to be ashamed of, nor are they something that can’t be resolved. As Scott Morris explains in a recent post, the doubts we entrepreneurs have about our career path do not necessarily mean that we should hurry back to the corporate grind. Rather, we can make adjustments to our workflows, workspaces, and tactics to mirror some of the “conveniences” that a steady 9-5 job might have.
When I left my last 9-5 job, I understood that I was saying goodbye to any amount of perceived security. Gone were the days when I would wake up and go to work and know that I would get a paycheck at the end of the month. I also knew, though, that I would gain so much more by losing that security.
Granted, I still have my moments when the ebb and flow of freelance work drives me insane (or to tears), but I’m discovering ways to bring an element of “security” into my work.
Morris explains that we entrepreneurs who long for a consistent revenue flow can find it. We simply need to seek out anchor clients. “Anchor clients are individuals or businesses you develop an ongoing relationship with and do a steady amount of work for every month,” Morris states.
Without a doubt, I’m grateful for the few anchor clients I have. But I’m also considering other modes of revenue that will allow me to maintain a freelance lifestyle. Namely, I want to continue doing work I feel invested in, from home and with a flexible schedule. If that means that the future projects and jobs I secure look different than what I had originally intended, that’s fine by me. I’m still making my career and my life my own.
As I’ve mentioned before, the hardest part of being a small business owner is continually having to put myself out there to find more clients and more work. I’m not alone. The issue for myself and many others like me revolves around the fact that selling one’s self repeatedly is exhausting. As Morris notes, “The good thing about regular employment is that interviews only come up when you’re looking for a new job, maybe once every few years or even less. For freelancers though, every new client is a new job, which means your work life is [sic] ongoing series of job interviews.”
To that, I say, “Nope.” All insecurities aside, though, I know that the work I do has value and that the clients who work with me see that value. And so I find the courage to put myself out there yet again. What I’m more selective about is how I expend my networking energies. The more anchor clients (or jobs) I can find, the better.
Living the entrepreneurial life is not for everyone, and I’m not certain what the future holds. But as I continue to find ways to add a bit more security to my career and life, I have faith that the fears and doubts I have will lessen. Who knows? They may actually disappear.