Matt Saunders
business freelancing

The One Critical Question to Ask Yourself BEFORE You Decide to Become a Freelancer

This is a story of what was missing from my business. It might be true for you too.

I left my full-time job in 2009 to be a freelancer but my reason for doing so was massively flawed. Basically, I didn't want to have a boss; I wanted to be my own boss.

But after several months of just managing to make ends meet I realised something: I had no direction, no purpose. I had jumped ship from my boss's vessel and now, in command of my own tiny little boat, I had nowhere to go.

You see, just wanting to "run your own business" isn't enough. You need to know what your business is all about and where it's going to take you.

Otherwise, you're lost at sea.

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Ask yourself, "what do I really want from this?"

If you've read anything else I've written, you might know that I am a very reflective person. I question and ponder on things deeply, but this wasn't always the case. In 2009 I was 25, not thinking about the future, and always acting on impulse. All I knew at the time was what I didn't want.

But running a successful business requires an overwhelming, almost other-worldly, sense of optimism that helps to define exactly what you want and gives you the energy to pursue it. Starting a business is not an antidote to fixing problems in your life; it should be seen as a positive step forward personally and professionally. And that starts by asking yourself what you want (rather than what you don't).

Running a successful business requires an overwhelming, almost other-worldly, sense of optimism that helps to define exactly what you want

Some good themes to explore

Simply asking yourself what you want can feel daunting. In fact it can be unhelpful. Who really knows what they want? A better way to approach the subject is to explore a few themes by delving into your own mind (wooooooo):

These can be powerful questions to ask because they're centred on your experiences, not your goals. Asking what you want is a self-centered question, and whilst we are each obviously trying to achieve something, it is our experiences and beliefs that shape who we are.

What we want simply materialises when everything else is in order.

If you're yet to start freelancing, you'll save yourself a lot of pain down the line by going through this reflective exercise. If you've already started, it's never too late.

I can help you to work out what you want through my 1-to-1 coaching sessions for freelancers and founders of creative businesses. Get in touch and let's figure it out together.