By Shannon McFarland
Sitting at my computer, my eyes scanning down the screen, I felt my stomach churning. Reading some of the job descriptions, I could tell that even among the jobs I was qualified for, I didn’t want these. My heart wasn’t in it. I could not, in good conscience, sit in an interview and tell someone I wanted these jobs. Not at this time.
But if my gut was rejecting this path, the jobs available right now, what else was there? I asked myself that eternal question, what did I really want to do next?
I wanted to try working for myself.
Why consulting and freelancing?
I wanted to work for myself for the personal growth, learning, autonomy, and flexibility. I wanted more freedom. Freedom to choose the next project and pick my own clients, based on my own goals and values. As a writer, having the freedom to follow my curiosity, take on the projects where my experience is valuable, and create the work environment where I am most productive sounded very enticing.
It was something I’d thought about for several years, which I’d considered and wanted. But I hadn’t felt ready. It wasn’t the right time before. Not that there’s ever really a right time. But there are certainly better and worse times.
At this moment in my life, this was a better time. October 2017 was pretty all right.
In fact, I discovered myself answering my question with another question: why not freelance?
I have the experience. I would have a learning curve and it would be difficult, especially at first. Financially and personally, this was the best moment of my life up until this point to try starting something of my own.
I felt the work I could do, the skills I develop more, the business knowledge that I would gather would be worth it to me. Like getting a practical, life experience MBA. Self-taught education or hands-on experience are two great ways to learn. It would be a hard path, but a possible one.
Why not consulting and freelancing?
I could think of plenty of reasons. What if I fail? What if I become destitute? What if I can’t find any clients? Or worse, what if I find terrible clients that stressed me out and didn’t pay well, or at all?
All the reasons that I came up with were based on fear and the unknown. None were reasons that were certain or guaranteed either.
But when you flip fear, it can also become thrilling. The unknown is full of possibilities, beyond what you imagine. What if I am good at this? What if this can tap into each of my skills? To blend my journalism, writing, customer service, and business experience into one cohesive bundle? What if this path offered the most options? What if I succeeded at it?
What if I chickened out and never tried forging my own career path? What if I miss this opportunity and regret it forever?
It’s high risk, but also high reward.
I know what I am capable of doing. This is a risk I’m willing to take.