Recently, I made a mistake. A mistake that cost me £550, an entire day I could have been working on something else and delivered a serious hit to my self-esteem and confidence.  I felt deflated and a bit useless for three days after. I was a Debbie Downer to live with. This was something I was supposed to be good at (and have had plenty of very positive feedback on before).  It was a costly mistake indeed.

That mistake, was saying yes to a business opportunity that I should have said no to.

In truth, I’ve spent the last couple of months in a state of confusion with my freelancing career. I’ve been focused on turning a profit and growing my business, with little focus on why or how.  So I said yes to a work gig that didn’t go to plan, and left me feeling like a failure. A feeling that anyone who has ever felt imposter syndrome will fear the most – of not being enough and people knowing it. Of being completely mortified.

On reflection, I can now see some silver linings to that failure. And that’s thanks to Sile Walsh.

I’d pre-arranged a coaching session with Sile for this morning, and it really couldn’t have been better timed. Perhaps going in feeling low enabled me to be more honest and vulnerable about what I want,  but I’ve come away feeling like I’m ready to take a fresh, more focused approach to my work. The key thing I’ve learnt, along with lots of other things (which I’ll be sure to blog about soon), is that I didn’t know what my values were before. I didn’t really have a fixed idea of what made me tick and drove me as a freelancer. Or rather, I didn’t conciously know. Sile prompted me to talk about why I love freelancing, and three words kept popping up:

Freedom, Choice and Passion

Essentially, I love freelancing because it gives me the freedom to choose to do what I’m passionate about – and I work best when I’m working with those that share those values. I also work best when I work in a way that adopts those values. I’m working on a client checklist, which I’ll share on the blog soon, which I hope will help me with this, and I’m also working on a little Canva poster to pop on my wall and remind me of those three little words.

On a practical front, I now know what my weaknesses are and where I need to do a little more learning. I also know that I need to give myself a break. Everyone makes mistakes. EVERYONE. Yes, even Beyonce. I chatted to Sally Todd about it, and she told me this: “Every job or project you take on takes you one step closer to understanding what you want out of a career or job and ultimately it is an essential process in fine tuning your offering.” If going through that situation has led me to clarify what I’m doing now….maybe that’s ok.

Your challenge (if you choose to accept it etc, etc)

Here’s my challenge for you: Write down why you love freelancing. Write a blurb as if you were explaining it to someone else. Which words crop up the most? Those are your values.

When I talked to Sile, I didn’t mention money once in this task, despite it being the main purpose of me inititally booking the session. Instead, I talked about how passionate I was about helping people, educating people about freelancing, giving people the option of being self-employed (choice) and having the freedom to pursure a career I truly love. Those are the things that drive me. What drives you?

Oh, look….it’s me with no make up on camera

p.s Like the photo? I had a little taster of a headshot photoshoot recently and, for a photo phobic person, loved the results (ALL THE FLATTERING LIGHTING). It’s by Jon Bradley Photography.

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2 comments on “How three hours and a mistake helped me find my freelance focus”

  1. Such an interesting read, it’s great to hear that you can turn a slightly unfavourable experience into something better for yourself and your business.

    My three business values …
    Passion
    Creativity
    Sharing

    I think. Those were the first words that came to mind. I probably need to spend some more time on it. But I think that sums me up as a person. And as a freelancer it’s one of main aims isn’t it? To be yourself in business.

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