Narrowing Freelancing Down

I only realised the irony this morning.

I’ve been blogging advice over on Paid to Play from various folks about doing one thing at a time. I’ve even blogged in text and video about stating small.

Yet I’ve not been following that advice.

I think it’s the pressure to be earning an extra income as quickly as possible. I ought to be doing more, exploring every avenue, levering every capability, every skill.

And like every “ought” and “should” ever, I’ve been breaking my back trying to impose an idea on a world that it doesn’t fit within.

Now it’s time to narrow my freelancing endeavours down.

What have I been trying to do?

For starters, there’s freelance writing:

  • I’ve been seeking out clients online and locally.
    • I’ve tried Fiverr.
    • I’ve engaged local businesses.
  • I’ve guest blogged on Career Attraction as a way of building my portfolio and garnering some attention.

I’ve tried monetising my blog:

I’ve dabbled a little in voice stuff:

One avenue that’s materialised recently is media production. A good friend is developing his own web-based business and wants some help with creating videos. It’s an area that I’m a relative novice in, but it’s intriguing.

What do I narrow it down to?

This morning, I realised that the best thing I can do is give myself a chunk of time and choose one of the above options to focus on.

Of all the above options, I want to focus on freelance writing. 

Why freelance writing?

Why not voice work? It’s paid the best so far, even with the one gig.

Note the two opportunities I mentioned above: I didn’t pursue them. I could beat myself up over that, or I could start asking myself whether there’s a reason for that.

And that reason is that, to me, voice work is part of the front.

I don’t want to sell a front. I want to sell me. And writing is me.

It’s the lovely, complex, fiddly thing that I really enjoy doing; it’s like a blog post is a hobby in and of itself. When I have an idea or something that’s bothering me, I don;t want to record a podcast or do a video, I want to write it out. Edit it, cut and cull it, feel my fingers dance across a keyboard and watch the words appear on the screen as if by magic. Shape the idea, carve it like a sculpture, things I can’t do with voice.

Even if I write  a script, I’m still performing that script and that performance is me trying to be something else.

Narrowing my time down

One reason I’ve always struggled with freelancing is that sensation that I’m Committing To Something Forever. If I start, I can’t see an end, which is scary if the thing I start doesn’t work out – I scare myself with the idea that I’m going to be stuck with it.

It also gives me two conflicting feelings: That I have both all the time in the world and no time at all. That I can take my time because there’s no particular rush, but that, because I’ve been doing bits and pieces for the last little while, I ought to have succeeded by now.

Setting a time frame gives me a start, a middle and an end. I can say, “Right now, I am at the beginning, so its okay that I don’t yet have anything to show,” with the trust that having a limit gives me the opportunity to plan.

So I’m giving myself six months to establish a stable income from freelance writing. In that time, I’ll set every other potential source of income aside (though I reserve the right to review that if a promising opportunity arises, and the media production opportunity with my friend seems promising enough to invest a little time on).

Narrowing focus and targets

One thing I’ve always struggled with is defining a product – saying clearly, “This is what I do well and this is what I want to earn by doing it.”

Part of that struggle has been analysis paralysis, especially as “freelance writing” is a broad field. I need to identify some sub-areas within the field and nail them down so that I can explore them and then outward from them.

In the name of starting both small and where I’m at, I’m going to focus on blogging. I have this blog and Paid to Play to demonstrate that I give a shit about the work (hell, I dragged myself out of bed at half past six on a Saturday morning when my brain kept developing this article instead of letting me sleep), and my samples on Career Attraction to demonstrate that I can write for others. I’m not sure who’s hiring, but I know now that I have a few weeks to figure it out.

I’m also going to cut Fiverr out. It was a nice confidence builder but there’s starting small and starting too small, especially with regard to income. I’m worth more than $4 for a chunk of work. If a client and I can’t come to an agreement on price, I don’t need to learn how to bend; I need to learn to say, “I don’t think we’re right for each other” and seek out other opportunities.

What’s next?

Well, the next thing to do, I think, is to start planning. Figure out things like:

  • What options exist in the field of freelance blogging.
  • Where to look for potential clients.
  • How best to present myself (including, if necessary, re-working my web site again).
  • Who I can ask for help.

More on that as it develops…

What are you doing?

When have you struggled with exploring more avenues than you can handle?

What did you focus on, and what did you set aside?