Last month I left my full-time job and wrote about it here.
Now that it’s February I can say I’ve officially been solo for one whole month. I plan to write a lot about my experiences as I’ve had a few friends reach out hoping to do the same.
Throughout most of my career I found myself googling “how to quit my day job and start my own studio” monthly. Whenever I asked around to studio owners or solo freelancers, the feedback would typically be mixed.
“If I could do it again, I wouldn’t”
“Working for yourself means freedom”
“It was a lot of work and didn’t feel worth it”
“I can travel and work wherever!”
“I prefer a steady pay cheque”
The feedback would either fill me with discouragement or excitement leaving me completely neutral about the decision. It came like waves where one minute I was in it and ready to jump, the next I was running from the shore screaming I hate water.
Occasionally I would get a glimpse inside my entrepreneur friends lives through social media. Their journey didn’t always seem perfect, but they seemed proud of their self-built careers; they were authentic. I think if anything they made me realize it’s do-able (even with kids!) and it’s not that big of a deal if it doesn’t work out. It doesn’t have to be a lifetime decision and I can go back to a day job at any time. It’s win-win.
January came fast and I’m pretty sure I was still half asleep. I was coming down from work PTSD and seasonal blues so my day began something like this.
Yoga, shower, coffee, find work, stress clean, cry, drink wine.
My strategy was to post on Craigslist, Kijiji, email every company listed on TorontoDesignDirectory.com, reach out to friends I’ve worked with in the past, and cold-call both local business owners and Instagram users who were my dream clients. The way I choose clients is if I like what you’re doing, selling or making I want to work with you.
I did that for about two weeks before I started gaining any traction. Everyone kept telling me “be patient it will pick up” but as usual self-doubt took the front seat. Your first few weeks or even months are about building relationships and letting people know what you’re doing. From there things start to fall into place. It just takes time.
So far, so good.