I have been fixated on the challenge of norms we have grown to hold as truths. The week is 7 days, 2 days make the weekend, the work day is 9am-5pm...etc. When I started my adult career as a teacher, I had no room/flexibility in how I structured my day. In fact, as a teacher, you schedule to the minute when you can even go to the bathroom. While it makes sense to have organized and structured school days, and I loved being a teacher, there was something about the structure that was killing me inside. After leaving the classroom, I worked at a couple of organizations, and the same feeling, the mundane day-to-day, chasing the weekend, long nights of too much work and not enough time to do it, trying to fit in grocery shopping outside of this ridged 9-5...it was uncomfortable and taxing.
While Maebell went from my side hustle to my full-time hustle, I discovered some things that I want to share with you along the way. If you are feeling the same way or seeking something new and not finding it. You can create anything you set your mind to. If you can't find a job, make one, and you don't have to start a small business to do it...welcome to the world of freelancing.
1. What are you really good at? That thing that you can do with your eyes closed? I am sure at whatever job you are at or have, you are doing several different tasks a day, and they are all vastly different...but...there is one that lights your fire, that all your colleagues go to you for. Working one job and one company, you can get tunnel vision and forget that the skills you have are valuable and can counterbalance so many other industries outside of the one you are in.
2. Once you narrow in on your thing, find an agency. This is a great way to get started. Once I narrowed in on events being my gift and most significant asset, I discovered Soundings Connect, "an event-based freelance/independent talent network that connects meeting and event professionals with companies seeking specialized skillsets." Finding Soundings and joining their network was a game changer for me. They send newsletters with updates on the event industry so I can stay on trend. They have open meetings for people in their network to connect. I have met so many WOMEN in the virtual event space and learned from through this one agency alone and plenty of others out there. You just have to look! Also, meeting like-minded people established in this event freelance world made me feel even more comfortable and less crazy to jump out of the 9 to 5. Thanks to Tracy, Heather, and the Soundings Team for genuinely being the catalyst that changed my life. Now, I get to live in curiosity; this is where I feel like my most authentic self. I am never doing the same thing every day; I am doing the one thing I am good at with many different companies and industries on a monthly even weekly basis.
3. Now a surefire way to know if freelancing is for you...If you just read bullet point number two, which gave you the heee-bee-gee-bees, it might not be for you. But if you are still curious about what this is like while researching agencies, look at your own network. Is there anyone you know or companies that would benefit from your top-notch skills? With the way hiring trends are after the "Great Resignation," I can confidently say there is not a single company that doesn't have a gap that a freelancer can fill. They may not know that is an option yet. Don't be afraid to ask; put it out there into the world how YOU and YOUR skill can be an asset to their work. Before I left my full-time job to pursue this out-of-the-box work life, I planted the seed at my company that they could hire me to complete one of the events they had come up with as an independent contractor, and guess what? THEY DID! This was the first big event that I did on my own as a freelancer. This also tossed me head first into figuring out...how to create a scope of work, how to figure out the cost, and how to create a contract/invoice/payment system. These are all things I will be writing about in this freelance series, so stay tuned.
4. Once you have done one, the world is your oyster! The rest will fall into place once you
have shown yourself that you can do this. In the last two years, I have taken on the widest variety of clients, and through that, I have learned that the world is so big and there is so much out there. I have met and grown relationships with people I would have never had the chance to meet if I didn't get uncomfortable finding the comfort in myself I was so longing for. I love the thrill of not knowing what is next and meeting new people I can collaborate with. I like being mobile and quick on my feet. These are all things this way of work allows me to be, and I get to go to the grocery store at noon on a Monday, and I just freaking love that.
Does this sound like you? Do you have more questions? Send me an email at Allyson@maebellevents.com! I want to shout this from the rooftops for people who wish to see the work world differently. Watch for our next post, "How to Write a Scope of Work."