One of the capabilities I have unintentionally developed over the course of my life is the ability to start over with creativity, determination, and an eye on what will allow me to do work that is meaningful.
While I didn’t know it when I first began writing and coaching professionally, this ability to make things happen when I’m back at square one has proved invaluable to my work as a freelancer.
In many ways, I am always starting over. Whether it’s beginning a new project or switching the niche I’m focused on serving, these micro-beginnings are an essential part of my professional development.
All that being said, starting over can still be a very stressful process. Just because I’m good at eventually getting back on track and getting excited about what’s next, doesn’t mean I don’t go through a period of being convinced that I won’t make it out of the mess this time.
Since deciding to fire my main writing client earlier this week, I am effectively starting over. Despite the fact that I need to be making more money—especially with my taxes due soon—I am using this as an opportunity to get super clear about what’s going to be different this time around.
This is a luxury that I both can and can’t afford.
So, here’s what I’m focused on as I start from square one (again):
Finding clients who are aligned with my professional boundaries. This means working with individuals and organizations that think it’s important to communicate early and often, pay me according to agreed upon schedule, and provide the right support so that the projects we work on can be successful.
Exploring writing opportunities in industries outside of coaching. Right now, I’m applying for jobs and projects in the finance industry. My hope is that this will help me better support creatives in need of financial wellness.
Making time to keep doing my creative practice. This means moving forward with my podcast, attending writing workshops at Room Project, exploring Detroit’s art scene, and otherwise keeping my creative well full.
Sticking to a schedule. In the past I’ve panicked and worked at all hours so I could say yes to whatever work came my way. Now, I’m working during my allotted work hours and making that time count. (It is a privilege to be able to do this and I’m taking advantage of it.)
Carrying on with all forms of self-care. From my monthly visits to Meta Physica to going to my not-at-all-typical CrossFit box to spending time with friends. The good things are still happening—within my budget, of course—because I may as well feel good while looking for more work.
As I settle more into the place that I’m living, I have also started to think longer term about the work I want to be doing and how I can start to build towards that now. I’m moving slowly and allowing myself to enjoy this process of becoming.
So, what do you focus on when you’re starting over?