The tech industry is full of companies and individuals who exaggerate their wins, inflate their numbers and skew their graphs only to illustrate a false success story.
I am convinced that any true success comes from thousands of failures, bruised elbows and burned bridges.
If you try telling me the opposite – that you skipped down a cobblestone path and met your dream life unscathed – I likely won’t believe you.
The failures, are the stories I wish people talked about more candidly. For one, it would likely make me feel a lot better about myself and two, the world needs a little more vulnerability. Less gloating, more honesty.
I don’t get it.
With freelancing, I feel like I’m failing all of the time. The last thing I want to do, is paint this facade about how perfect everything is. I want to know it’s normal for everything to be chaotic sometimes.
Although I have freelanced on the side throughout my entire career, working 100% solo full-time is entirely different.
I can admittedly say that there are both positives and negatives to working for someone and working for yourself. The latter is still something I will forever prefer in the back of my mind, but I haven’t sorted it all out yet, and I’m not entirely sure if I ever will.
For starters, depression and isolation with freelancing is legit. I’ve received feedback that has crippled me, spent weekends re-working concepts on tight deadlines, and have had mornings where seeing my email notifications blow up on my iPhone fill me with soul-wrenching anxiety.
Working alone means you don’t have that social circle anymore to boost you up, talk you down or help you find better solutions. You’re all on your own and it’s kinda terrifying when you no longer have that camaraderie.
Here’s some of what I have learned…
It is SO important to pair with the *right* client. I have ignored my gut too many times when it’s told me “don’t work for this guy he kinda sounds like a jerk” yet optimistic Tawsh shouts out ‘GIVE HIM A CHANCE” and 30 revisions later I want to cut my fingers off and toss my laptop out the window.
You also have to remind yourself daily, that providing constructive feedback is challenging for a lot of people. Feedback is crucial and an integral part of any project but the way in which you receive it can completely destroy the health of the working relationship. Both your client and yourself have to be open to hearing a better approach along with a certain level of trust or the project will suffer. My best projects in the past 4 months came from relationships where different opinions resulted in a fair and healthy compromise to reach the final product. Win, win!
Lastly, freelancing puts the focus entirely on you where in the past everything was a team failure. Rejection now feels a thousand times worse and the reality is that not everyone is going to like your work and that’s exactly how it should be! This isn’t a reflection of your talent and skill but simply a reality of life. We all have our own taste, preference, and style.
Don’t let it kill ya.