Let’s get one thing out of the way: Starting up is really not that hard. It’s what comes afterwards that is a bit more of a challenge.
In my previous post, I told you about my first steps into this thing called running a business. It happened rather spontaneously and somehow much more easily than I had ever anticipated. It was a combination of scary and exciting. Kind of like an adrenaline rush.
I started with a single project. I was hired to create content for an upcoming print publication. Great stuff, right up my alley. That one project led to another, which led to another, led to… you get the point. Three months down the line, I already had four clients. Not bad, I thought, things are moving.
Now, if you had asked me what I would have liked to do right there and then, I would have given you an unequivocal WRITE.
Write content that is informative. Creative. Easy to digest. Entertaining. Fun. Content that brings you knowledge. Content that sticks with you.
Did I get to do that right off the bat? Well, yes and no. There was a client (the original one) that wanted me to do just that. But there were others that had different needs, so I ended up with a variety of work at my hands. I was doing academic research, writing report outlines, making presentations and creating social media strategies. Oh, there was also something about managing Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram accounts.
While most of the work I did at the beginning was quite diverse, it gave me a pretty good idea of what I wanted and didn’t want to do. What I was great, good and just okay at doing. Where I saw myself going in the future.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to try things out. Just because you have set your mind on one thing (e.g. professional writing) doesn’t mean that there isn’t something more to it. By trying things out and working with various clients, I learned that doing slightly more visual work (e.g. presentations) makes your brain see things in a new light. That, in turn, adds to the creativity you inject into your content.
Social media management, on the other hand, pushes you to get out there and communicate with readers. A couple of comments on their part and you realize how easy it is to get a new perspective on things.
And what is great content without new perspectives?
At the end, I learned that even though a lot of the work I was doing was not writing per se, it was indirectly making my writing better. Today, things look somewhat different. Today, most of the freelance work I do is writing and I have those early days to thank for it.