4 Months of Freelance – Taking Time.

Toronto SEO Expert

I burnt out.

Earlier this year my brain hit a max that I should have identified earlier but thems the learnings. In February I had a lot going on in life that I was going at head down and with the attitude of "onward through the fog" - not great. My job at the time was really stressful (a lot of which I'd put on myself) and my Mother was in the process of moving, all of which I was doing for her. The day her condo sold, I was on the phone with her and the lawyer about 20 times. Meanwhile in between at work I messed up in a large way on the project I was working on, and decided something had to give. So I started talking to people internally at that company to see if I could move to a different department, and externally by reaching out to coaches. I started talking to people in my life and questions about what freelance was like and how I was *feeling* about work.

Then something amazing happened... I gained 3 clients even before I quit.

Now, this lead to me taking on *much* more than I was able to handle at the time and I had to actually step back and re-evaluate things, but I felt I was onto something  change was happening. This is the first time I've been freelance full time and I've learned more in the last 4 months than I have in the last 4 years. I wouldn't change it for the world. Knowing my income comes from me and what I do has held me accountable in ways I didn't expect and has lit a fire under me that I've never felt before (and I think frankly needed).

The beauty of freelance is YOU run your schedule, so these are the things I have taken the time to do.

Taken time to learn. I've completed an update to HTML/CSS/JS that I felt *I* needed for years and finally had the time to take, it was incredibly helpful in piecing pieces that had become really fuzzy to me and now I feel confident again. I've also loved to be able to sit in on online webinars during the day - DURING THE DAY. Listening/watching webinars while I can work is awesome and just taking the hour to listen to the webinar, it's great. Taken the time to help others. I've been amping up helping out around the city. I've been at TA at a good half a dozen workshops at Camp Tech now on various marketing disciplines from Adwords (Google Ads I know..), to Google Analytics and recently HTML/CSS. I also volunteer for Women and Color, just helping out at their events and pitching on whatever they need as they scale. Taken time to keep growing my network. At least once a week I have a meeting/coffee/drink with someone - friend or professionally, and if not I'll attend an event to chat with people more. Something I never realized is networking is *just* talking to people. I've been paralyzed by the idea of networking being your pitch, but I just talk to people! Ask about them, they ask about you - you make new friends and I love working with my friends. Taken time to take care of my Mom.  We've spent a lot of time organizing her life, like I should have been doing before. Between her finances, and her health now she's *almost* back on track and when I talk to her now I can hear her in a much better place than she was before too. Taken time for me. This summer was amazing. I was able to take a day and go to the beach, take a standup paddle boarding lesson at sunset, go to Palm Springs for a friends bachelorette, go to my first TedX event, work on my photography skills (like the wonderful sunset on this post, check out my Unsplash & Instagram for more), hang out with friends - I didn't want summer to come to and end. I also have taken time to get a physical and get my own health up to date, something I've been *really* worried about for years. I'm not 100% healthy yet, but I'm on a plan now and pointed in the right direction.

It hasn't been all lollypops and rainbows as when I quit I told myself I was going to...

  1. Yoga
  2. Make the same $$ as I was making full time
  3. Have breakfast every day and have more time to cook
  4. Building consistency for my own discipline/schedule
  5. Explore more of the city I live in, take pictures
  6. Visit my friends more often, especially those who live outside the city
  7. Attend events outside of the city/country
  8. Update my website(s) - I am the model of the cobblers kids that have no shoes right now
  9. Blogging more (here I am! Stay tuned for my next one on why Twitter is my favourite social platform, controversial I know)  and taking a writing course (that's next)
  10. And much more...
I'm working towards achieving a balance of all of those, but I haven't found good balance yet between taking care of myself and building this new business so I sprinkle in items from the list above as it evolves. I also ask my clients and everyone around me now how they balance their days too, it's fascinating to hear how many people are working non-traditional schedules or doing additional "hustles" beyond their 9-5.

How does your day look? Are there things you should be prioritizing more? Could you make a change to involve more of those?

These are the questions I asked myself while having anxiety attacks at work and after making this change, those questions are much easier to navigate.