A peek into the past: "Ready, Freelancer One"

I haven't updated my personal/professional blog in quite some time. Ruh roh. Life's been good and busy. And given a whole slew of cool new things that I've been learning and working on, there seems to be a need to write about them on a place that isn't Tumblr or a private Facebook account. 

While thinking about this, around midnight as is often the case, I came upon this draft—titled "Ready, Freelancer One"—that I never published about diving into the craft of freelancing for a living. This was late last year, after I had left my 3 year post at the best first full time job of my adulthood. I'm now employed as a designer at a tech company which is growing steadily in notoriety and life's been quite the whirlwind since this post. I found this a funny and interesting insight into my past frame of mind, given my new situation, which I'll hopefully actually write about in coming weeks. So I'll share it:

I love video games that mirror real life. RPGs are the usual choice, games like Fable, Civilization, the Elder Scrolls franchise of titles, Destiny, Elite Dangerous. I like games with complex and flexible narratives that allow you to choose your own adventure. It gives me more of a sense of accomplishment and reward than merely shooting things for points, or racing. I like options!

Cut to: actual real life. I left my 3 year appointment with a job I love because I began to feel my wheel grinding under me. I wasn't creatively fulfilled, and to some extent, I desired the recognition and sense of accomplishment that I saw around my fellow colleagues or other working compatriots in design. I'd love to travel for my job, I'd love to meet new people and help steer a wheel towards something beneficial not just for profit or a business, but for a community. Understanding that a certain part of my financial rug would be pulled out from under me, I decided to go full time with a seasonal gig at a lovely photography company, and spend the off-hours diving head-first into solidifying my personal brand, learning how to find clients, and learning how to run a small business.

As with my favorite types of video games, I wanted to see what I could do, striking out on my own. What options could crop up. What skills could I discover? What neat new people could I meet? Are there save points on this thing? ...uh oh.

No surprise: it's difficult. It's scary. But at the same time (with the slight financial padding of a regular job) it's rather fun. I cannot profess to knowing exactly what I'm doing, but I don't have any desire to be spoonfed instructions on How To Be A Successful Freelance Designer. It's a bit like reading the instructions for a video game. They're a nice roadmap for what buttons to push, but ultimately YOU must learn how to play the game in a way that suits your personal style. The best way to learn is nearly always to bump your head and figure out how not to make mistakes; how to do things better; what the terminologies mean, etc. Learning is life.

A month into it, it still feels like an adventure. I am learning that I need perseverance, patience, passion, and above all else, consistency—both production and practice—in what I do. My consistent worry is that it all might not work out. Maybe it'll turn out that I won't like this freelancing game very much after all. But I can't get to that understanding until I give the game my best shot.

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