When someone hires you as a consultant, whether it’s in marketing or something else, they expect you to provide them with answers. If you don’t know the answers, you need to be able to find them. If you can’t find the answers, you need to have a good reason why. Otherwise, there’s a chance you might not hang onto that client relationship for the long haul.
This can be scary, obviously. I’ve had so many moments since going it alone when I’ve needed a clear answer where there is none; there’s no one who can tell me exactly what I should do. It’s all up to me.
Sure, you can’t step onto Muni in San Francisco without awkwardly rubbing shoulders with another marketer, so I’m literally surrounded by potential resources. And of course, there are networking groups and tons of online resources as well, including my best friend, Google.
But no matter what advice I get from anybody else — at the end of the day, the responsibility to decide what to do with any project (or my business, for that matter) is mine, and mine alone.
Being in such a position of constant self-reliance has not only strengthened my confidence in my own skills, but it’s forced me to learn more on my own. And on that note…
“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” – Pablo Picasso
In order to stay competitive and keep up with the pace of Silicon Valley, I’m required to keep my skills sharp and learn more about my crafts whenever I have the opportunity. I’m always learning new things and trying to do so as quickly as possible, so I can continually become better at what I do.
It’s not uncommon for me to have to absorb a large amount of information in a painfully short period of time. Like, a ‘why-the-hell-do-I-put-myself-through-this’ period of time.
As a result, the trajectory of my skill development, which had crept along at a gradual incline during most of my career, hit a sudden spike once I went out on my own because of the rate at which I was suddenly learning a lot of new things.
The amount of information out there for me to take in has at times been overwhelming, but mostly it’s incredibly exhilarating. There’s always something more I can learn and new ways for me to grow. Obviously, this is true for anybody — but in my role as a freelancer, I feel the motivation and excitement to learn more is stronger than ever.
Being a freelancer isn’t for everyone, to be sure. It can be damn hard. I still have moments that creep up on me when I wonder whether I should opt for more stability and just get a steady job working for somebody else.
But through all the ups and downs of my freelance career so far, dare I say I’m becoming stronger at what I do at what seems to be an accelerated pace, and I’m also learning more about myself on a personal level. Even better, I’m continually excited and inspired to learn more. So, is it all worth it? I’m inclined to think yes, definitely.
So, what about you? Do you work for yourself? What’s been your experience?