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March 5, 2017

That Freelance Life: Money & Your Network

That freelance life... many of you have requested on snapchat and IG stories that I share some more about my career and tips + tricks for living that freelance life. Today I'm starting a twice monthly series that provides insight into freelancing, my experience thus far, and advice for those of you thinking about making the leap. My goal is that through these posts we can have an open dialogue about freelance life, the struggles, the wins, and everything in between. It's a roller coaster but a really rewarding one! 

I'll touch on my background throughout but to get the low-down I suggest taking a peek at two interviews I did with Career Contessa:


freelance tips tricks, social media marketing tips, digital marketing

Like most adult decisions there's pros and cons to going freelance. Before going out on your own, the two most important things to take into consideration are: money and your network.

{money}

It's not about having enough money saved in the bank for desperate times (although you should do that!), it's about setting yourself up so that you don't ever have to dip into savings to pay your regular monthly expenses.

- What's your business plan? Find tips on writing one here.

- Create an annual projection and work backwards to figure out how many clients/ gigs/ appointments you'll need to book to hit that yearly monetary goal.

- Is that do-able? Remember there are only 168 hours in a given week and you need to sleep at some point (and shower and eat)!

- When you don't work there is no money coming in (for most freelance gigs) so say goodbye to those paid two week vacations you're used to. More on that in the next few weeks!

At the end of the day, can you financially support yourself without the comfort of a corporate salary? If thinking through the above makes you want to pee your pants and run away then maybe it's not yet your time to go out on your own. (Yet!) If you go through the above and feel confident that you can make sh*t happen, then make sh*t happen BEFORE you quit your full time job.

What do I mean by that? I mean start securing clients/ booking gigs , etc. and get some contracts written so you know you're all set-up before you even give your 2 weeks notice. "But Ashley I'm so busy at work, I don't have time to do that!" Oh girl... then the freelance life is not for you. You need to HUSTLE! And hustle some more... and some more. Living the freelance life is a constant loop of hustling.

Before I left my full-time job two years ago, I had been side hustling with the blog for 5+ years and even then, I still secured one large client for Pursuit Digital before I gave my 2 weeks notice. There was never a gap in cash flow and it was the best thing I could've ever done for my bank account and my sanity.

Now you're probably thinking to yourself "Ashley, the Pursuit Digital website says "coming soon" but haven't you been on your own for 2+ years?" That brings me to my second important thing to consider before going on your own:

{your network}

Yes, funny enough I "created" the Pursuit Digital site two years ago with that landing page and haven't done anything with it because I've been WORKING! I have not had to prospect new clients in over two years (knock on wood) because every one of them have come to me via a referral. And that is why I believe your network is the second most important thing to take into consideration before taking the freelance leap. Does it mean you need to have a rolodex of people you can call upon at any given time? That would be nice but to me it's about tenure in the industry.

- Have you worked with enough people who can vouch for you?

- Do they know your expertise and would they be willing to recommend you to a friend?

- Do you have mentors or superiors you could call on for help or advice?

To be honest, I have young 20 somethings asking me for tips on freelancing all the time and I'm sorry to say this (not really), but I truly believe you don't have enough experience to be working on your own at that point. Keep in mind this is if your business is client service or gig based. If you're starting your own company selling a B2B or B2C product (ie: snapchat), then that's a whole different ball game.

Experience is necessary not only to build a network but also to understand business and business acumen which I'll talk about more in future posts. I have tons of ideas for future freelance posts but please comment below or message me on Instagram if you have specific questions or items you'd like me to touch on. Cheers to a new week of hustling!

6 comments:

  1. What exactly IS Pursuit Digital? Do you make your career from being an influencer, or are you like "the man behind the curtain" for brands; creating branded content, managing social media, etc? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi!

      Pursuit Digital works with brands to build their digital presence, everything from social media marketing and content creation to SEM and email strategy.

      You can read more about how Pursuit Digital came about and my prior experience in my interview with Career Contessa:

      http://www.careercontessa.com/interviews/ashley-torres-pursuit-digital-CCTurns2/

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  2. I enjoyed reading your advice. As a young 20 something year old, I agree with you that establishing ourselves with more experience is a big deal.

    Thanks! I look forward to your new series.

    Xx,

    Xiao

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  3. Love it! Great to see someone who has taken the scary leap to go freelance and done so well. I was recently laid off (last week) and now in the process of figuring out my next move. Not in a place to go freelance right now but hope to one day be my own boss!

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  4. If you don't manage your own blog, what are other methods you might suggest to begin networking and gaining experience? It seems like everyone wants a proven track record before they hire you, but how do you obtain that if no one is willing to give the "newbie" a shot?

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  5. Super excited for this series! Thank you! Maybe you're planning on it but given it's tax season, I'm learning about all things taxes for independent contractors. Would love to hear your tips!

    Making sh*t happen,
    Melons

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your lovely comments... Keep pursuing shoes!