As a creative, I feel like the path chosen for me versus me choosing the path to pursue this dream to write and create. I always knew that I wanted to be extraordinary and work outside of the typical 9-to-5 lifestyle.

As I navigated college and went into the real world. I found very early on that my dreams may not necessarily equal a fair paycheck. I quickly saw that my goals versus my reality were completely different. It made me feel a bit insecure because I didn’t feel prepared for the real world. I felt like I was forced into a reality because of capitalism. Instead of feeding my creativity and finding myself.

Transitioning into corporate America was never for me. From the time I completed college, served in AmeriCorps, and into my late 20’s, it always felt uncomfortable. I always reminded myself of the “benefits” of a full-time role: PTO, 401K, health insurance, etc to keep me going. It was never enough. Between the microaggressions, lack of representation, support, and overall energy, I was over it. Corporate America felt like a death sentence for me as a black woman and my creativity. I can’t count how many corporate roles I’ve been through simply because I didn’t feel like I mattered. It felt like even when I talked, had ideas, and made suggestions that no one was hearing me. It hurt me deeply. It made me question my purpose. Somehow I made it through undergrad and graduate school. Yet, no one valued what I was bringing to the table.

I finally decided to take the leap of faith around the pandemic. At the time, I was working in healthcare and things got crazy overnight. I knew that this role was no longer a fit. All the rules were changing, people were getting sick left and right. I was feeling so stressed and filled with anxiety. The job wasn’t worth my mental health and honestly, I wasn’t getting paid my worth either. I decided to freelance full-time. I thought that freelancing was going to be a breeze in the park because I’d be working for myself. WRONG! I found out very quickly that it was even harder than working in corporate America. Why? Because suddenly all the responsibility for my success, gaining clients, managing my mental health, and making money landed on my shoulders. I had no one else to point fingers at, but myself.

Once again, I was feeling insecure and lost because I didn’t know how to get out of this rut. I reached out to a few people who I knew that were in the freelance game for a while to get the ropes. Let me tell you, one size does not fit all when it comes to freelancing. You have to find out what works for you. I had to figure out what services I wanted to provide, automation, my rates, marketing, and cold pitching, all of these things were new to me and I had to navigate them so I could keep food on the table. It was very rough at first, and sometimes it still is.

The beautiful thing about freelancing is that with time you will figure out your rhythm. I had to be honest with myself and what life I want as a freelancer. I niched down on the services I offer, the type of clients/projects I look for has changed, and my research process has changed. It’s a constant state of evolution in the freelance world, there are no guarantees. It’s a constant motion of advocating for yourself and being consistent in your industry. Twitter has been a blessing for me as a freelancer because It’s connected me to so many people and resources. There are still days that I’m like WTF, but I’m learning to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. It’s a part of the game. Some days I win, some days I lose, but on both days, I learned something.

Further Reading = Right Within: How to Heal from Racial Trauma in the Workplace by Minda Harts. Grab it here or click below.