Starting your own business is not something you’d do on a whim. Or at least most people
For some time, I thought I’d spend my 20s working for someone else entirely. A steady job, a
monthly paycheck, a mid-sized team, ups, downs, the whole shabang. Then, when I’d gathered
enough experience and confidence, I’d (maybe, probably, why not) consider starting my own
thing. Well, turns out my own thing couldn’t wait.
If I were to put it in cliches: I didn’t choose freelancing, freelancing chose me.
Instead of starting with the basics - doing my market research, making a list of potential clients, assessing the viability of it all, I began my freelance journey with an actual client. A contact from my network had a writing project and was looking for someone to hire on a freelance basis. As, at the time, I was in the middle of a job search anyway, I jumped at the opportunity. A one-off project was better than no project, after all.
I registered a business with the local Chamber of Commerce (it does help that setting up a company in the Netherlands takes only 45 minutes) and the wheel started turning. This one project led to another, led to another, led to another - small ones at the beginning, but projects nonetheless.
Still, it took long days of reaching out to potential clients, discussing opportunities, rates, contracts. It took some no’s to figure out that companies willing to pay for quality content are hard to find. And let’s not forget the constant uncertainty of “having work today ≠ having work tomorrow” that you never really get used to.
And while having some projects was great, it didn’t necessarily make it all worthwhile. I knew I had to go back to the beginning; a beginning, which I essentially skipped.
Who did I want to write for? What value could I add? What did I have to do to prove to companies that I was the right addition to their team?