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let me preface this piece by saying that advice has three categories; the good, the bad and the unwelcome but what i'm about to share is nothing but gems. okay, baby? joking. but in all seriousness, what i'm about to share may not work for you or it may even be out of context for the reality you currently live and that's okay but at least my ego can go to sleep knowing that it saved you from from making the mistakes i did.

when i started freelancing, i knew nothing except the fact that i wasn’t getting  what i needed professionally or personally through the conventional work structure. it’s mostly been a learn-as-you go experience with moments that remind me that sometimes, we need to simultaneously do while we learn otherwise we could find ourselves waiting for forever to live the life we day dream about.

it's hard to encapsulate four years worth of experience into a few paragraphs but in the best way i know how, here are a few gems i've picked up along the way.

fake it till you make it

this phrase has truly carried me, especially when i caught wind of the fact that almost everyone else is doing so. the thing about performing something is that if you practice it long enough, eventually you become it, which is a double edge sword but i digress. affirmations and mantras are some of the practices that have helped solidify the notion of mind over matter. chant them, write them down, pray or meditate about them, just get them out to the universe. there's a caveat though— it all means nothing if you don't believe what you're saying or doing on a visceral level. once your desires are charged with emotion, it's only a matter of time til they become reality. some will say it's all too woo-woo, but i have to keep reminding myself that this isn't for them.

learn your relationship with money

freelance work means that money comes in spurts but you know what stays steady? the bills. and if you have an anxious relationship with money like i do, you are prone to make decisions from a place of fear and doubt— don’t. my spiritual journey has taught me that money isn't just about checks and balances, being rich or broke. there's a foundational job that trumps all of that and that is doing the work of understanding the intricacies of our relationship with money and where our beliefs and framework around it come from. otherwise, what are we basing how much of it we need and what we’re willing to do to get it on? if everything is energy, then certainly the frequency we carry around money is worth spending time on.

value your work and time

as cliche as it may be, it is true that we set the bar for how people treat us and it's no different in the work space. setting prices for your services, especially with creative work, can feel like picking a needle from a haystack. there’s a lot of advice that suggests we should follow the market rate but how many people do you know that are transparent about how much is in the bag they're securing? it's really about what you think your work is worth and what you feel is fair compensation for it in context. in my case, i'll take a pay cut if the client's mission aligns with my values because someone creating something i want to see in the world carries more weight than money for me. give yourself the room to change your mind or switch things up when you feel called. yes, do your research, don't sell yourself short but be the judge of what makes most sense for the circumstance.

secure the bag

for some reason, paying an organization comes more natural to people than paying individuals. there seems to be a need to cultivate an art to getting paid as a freelancer and everyone finesses it differently. one thing i always do is ask for a down payment upfront. this accounts for the time i spend on the product before completion. it also helps reinforce the professionalism of the contractual relationship. people tend to put a little more back into things when their money is involved.

seek people who inspire you to dream out loud

building a solid professional circle doesn’t have to be confined to conferences and summits, although if that's your thing, by all means. i’ve met some of the most instrumental people in my life through channels that just required me to step out of the box. it is true that we get what we give. take an active role in intentionally connecting with people. social media has made it so much easier for us to not only stalk people but also to reach out to personal brands whose work or stories we admire. working remotely doesn't afford some of the automatic networking spaces that come with a conventional job so extra effort in connecting with other professionals is crucial. who knows? you might even make a new friend in the process. sorry aubrey, yes new friends.

think of this chapter as the big stage

this is the moment to put to use what those job titles and salaries with benefits taught you. your freelance resumé might look like a skeleton in the beginning but the experience that got you to this point will usher you into leveling up on your skills. use the teachings on what works and what doesn't from your former bosses as a foundation for the way you'll run your operation. time management, negotiating pay, working with challenging personalities, building relationships or managing a crisis— these are all things that fall solely on your plate now and ultimately, holding yourself accountable for the things you say you'll do is the glue that will keep your sh*t together. you're the boss now, fill those shoes. and if you find yourself struggling, be kind to yourself because even rome wasn't built in one day, am i riiiight?

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