This week I was presented with a very demanding project, something that I have never done before, and I have to admit that I was feeling really overwhelmed. So much so, that I got some sort of writer's block and couldn't even start writing the proposal. Thankfully my friend Ben, who's an amazing photographer and an even better person, gifted me with an hour (or two) of his time to answer all my questions and to remind me that freelancing doesn't mean 'isolation', it just means 'freedom'.
When you become a freelancer there is a big adaptation process because you go through a lot of changes in your life. Some of the changes are obvious, like gaining control over your life and the type of work that you do; or being your own boss, even though now every client is effectively like a boss; or not having a steady income and having to work hard for your money. But there are other changes that nobody warns you about: like the fact that you don't work until it's clocking-out time, you work until you accomplish; or that you are liable for more things and the feeling of not wanting to mess-up is bigger; or that you spend the majority of your time on your own. But to me, the most difficult change to adapt to has been not being able to turn and ask your co-worker a question when you don't have a clue of how to proceed in a certain situation.
That is why it is imperative that you build a support network to help you out in moments when your level of expertise is not enough to overcome an obstacle or even in times when you just need someone to talk to who can understand or celebrate what you are going through. Being part of a strong and embracing community is not only about having people to go out for drinks with, or networking with those who might be sending jobs your way. It is about surrounding yourself by people who will help you become a better professional and who know that by helping you grow the whole community grows as well.
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