My life as a Freelancer

Is it Monday already?

Well, it doesn’t really matter because I’m a Freelancer! But sometimes it does matter, because my clients aren’t! The point is that everyday for us is the same day! Should it be that way though?

When I started the freelancing life, I was so excited that I could work whenever I wanted, wherever I wanted, sleep as much as I wanted, experience this freedom of a timetable-free life! It took me only 2 weeks to realize that things are not so paradisiacal!

Have you ever considered the ammount of self-discipline that a freelancer needs in order to live a balanced life? How many soft skills should she/he develops to be productive? How much does human contact actually affect us?

But let’s take things from the beginning! 

On August 2019, I moved to Athens to start my freelancing adventure! As you probably know, I work as a Digital Marketer and Content Creator, so my initial thought was to work at the freelancing platforms, like freelancer, people per hour, and upwork. I created an account and here was my CHALLENGE NO.1: PORTFOLIO!

I always had an updated CV, but what about my Portfolio? What jobs should I put in? At that time I had worked as a freelancer to dedicated businesses only, so not much to show. I couldn’t show my experience from the agency I worked for almost 2 years, because of the contract we had signed, so what was I supposed to show that was going to make me competitive?

This question took me endless hours of work, so that I can design it, update it, and find a catchy way to promote it. Eventually, I put it out there and started pitching to every single project on my field!

CHALLENGE NO.2: INDIANS

Do you have any idea how skilled, fast, and cheap are Indians in this industry? Indians are everywhere in these platforms, and each pitching can take you up to 40 minutes to write, while Indians write just time and prize, and they get the job! The outcome was that I was spending so much time on these platforms, and without any real result (I ended up being effectively a secretary to somebody from Dubai). I believe if I continued pushing, I would eventually see some light, but I just didn’t have the patience and I was also running out of money!

CHALLENGE NO.3: HOW DO I FIND NEW CLIENTS?

First thing I did, after my dissapoitment with the freelancing platforms, was to search for a 9 to 5 job! AGAIN! Why? Unfortunately, lack of money can drive you crazy, so I told myself that I’m going to work for an agency and also build my freelancing career, while attending all kinds of digital marketing seminars. LIE! BIG LIE! And lying to yourself as a freelancer is PROBLEM NO.6345781393!

Soon enough, though, I realized that I was moving on the other direction of my goals, so I looked myself in the mirror, told me that money won’t rule my decisions, and moved on to find solutions!

CHALLENGE NO.4: I HAD TO BE MY CLIENT FIRST

When you work for others, you know what to do! How to make them look good, what social media channels should they use, what is going to be their USP and all these stuff! But when it comes to your own, personal branding, things are different. You start overthinking, overanalyzing, and overreacting! 

My social media looked really bad, I didn’t have a website, and I had no money to invest on a developer or a personal branding expert. So, there was only one thing left: I had to learn how to do it!

To be honest, this brand is far from perfect and far from ready, but in 6 months I managed to build a full-functional, multipage, Code-Free website with minimum resources, a LinkedIn profile which currently has more than 3k connections (this is where most of my clients live), an Instagram account with more tha 10k followers, a fast-growing facebook group, an online CV and Portfolio, Digital Marketing Courses, a blog (I couldn’t be more excited that it’s on!!), content plan for each platform, Teamaria which helps more businesses grow (I only have 24 hours), a Freelancers’ Association, and great collaborations within the startup communities! And this is only the beginning! 

The most important things, though, were the skills and confidence I have gained the past 6 months about my job and myself, that fuels me in the bad days and gives me quick reflexes when I face a new challenge!

CHALLENGE NO.5: SOCIAL LIFE VS TIME

As you can obviously understand, there was and there is no time for anything else. No parties, no hanging out, no netflix, no travelling. I am 100% dedicated to my job, but there was a point – recently – when my body told me to stop, my mind felt guilty about it, and my heart was already in Bali playing the Digital Nomads game!

I haven’t found a way to solve this yet, but I guess I have heard too much GaryVee to even consider it as a problem! The only thing I know is that I love what I do, I feel blessed everyday, I can understand that I sabotage my energy levels, but I’m here to learn from you (I would be delighted if you could give me any advice on how I can be more productive).

CHALLENGE NO.6: SELF-MOTIVATION

Have you heard that leaders motivate themselves? They are not waiting for anyone else to lift them up. They lift themselves. They are not waiting for something good to happen. They create it. They are not waiting for the right time. They act in any time.

Well said, but this not me! To be more accurate, this is who I want to be in all circumstances. It’s not easy, but it’s vital for freelancers. We choose our timetable, when and where to work, but you can’t imagine how easy it is to get distracted, say “it’s a bad day today. I’ll do it tomorrow”, stand in front of the computer not feeling inspired enough to write, and get caught up with hundreds of other stuff instead of doing the job!

The only tip I can give here is: Choose your peer group wisely! And peers are not only our friends and family. It’s our News Feed!! Watch videos, listen to audios, read books, search for success stories, and fill your mind with inspiration! Visualization also helps, but let’s not be overachievers from day one!

CHALLENGE NO.6: ADMIT THAT YOU ARE AN ENTREPRENEUR

How good are you with rejection? If you don’t know how to handle it, start freelancing! It is the easiest and fastest way to get over it. Having your own brand is like having your own business. Same anxiety, same heart-beat, same responsibilities, same joy, same struggles. 

I didn’t know I was so much affected by rejection, until I lost my first big job, from my mistake! I was so numb inside, that I barely worked that week! Sooner or later you learn how to get over it and you dive deep into the entrepreneurial mindset! Books help 😉

Shall we move to the fun part now?

Being a freelancer is not a challenge-based lifestyle! The very first statement I made in this blog was not an understatement! So, let’s see why I really love being a Freelancer!

1) There are no Mondays! This unheealthy mindset of Mondays flies away and you can live each day like Sunday!

2) I choose my timetable! Right now, I’m working pretty much all day! But this is because I have a dream I want to reach! If I was working only with clients, I would have a decent amount of time for myself!

3) I can travel anytime I want! A freelancer can work anywhere, remember?

4) I’m in control of my income! I don’t have a fixed salary, and the opportunities are unlimited!

5) I don’t have a boss! I’m the boss of myself, although sometimes I get a bit bossy 😀

6) Every corner of the city I live is a new office! Before covid, I used to go to Stavros Niarhos, Plaka, Kifisia, and The Cube (daaaa) to work there and change routine. New energy, new thoughts, new inspiration!

7) Potentials are the key! I am free to dream without limitations, draw my life the way I want to and know that it’s only up to my hands to make my dreams a reality! 

8) I learn myself in depth! Facing multiple challenges and still trying to grow is a situation where your personality grows and everyday leaves you with a lesson. 

9) I get to work and collaborate with so many different and amazing people.

10) I choose my day-off! I can just wake up, say I won’t work today and I don’t. Having the capability to do it is fun, but be careful with that!

11) I get to do what I love everyday <3 

If you have read until this point, thank you! Please share this content with the people you love using the share buttons below!
 
Till next time,
My best wishes! 
 

 

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Maria Fragkaki

Maria Fragkaki

Freelance Digital Marketer & Content Creator

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