Why a freelancer needs a cheer squad
It’s been nearly five years since I quit the rat race to start freelance copywriting and, while I have no intention of going back to working for The Man, I gotta admit, the life of a freelancer can be lonely at times. Your clients are often interstate (or even overseas), your “team” of contractors is virtual, and sometimes you spend hours talking to no-one but the cats.
There’s no tea-room, no water-cooler, and no café downstairs. In fact, you can count yourself lucky if you have a café in walking distance.
At the office, it’s not unusual to have a team of supporters – hopefully your boss included – but when you work at home, it is common to feel as if you are your only fan.
As someone who thrives on encouragement and support from others (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?), it is vital that I surround myself with my personal cheer squad.
Finding my squad
My husband is no good. He has never understood what I do. As a scientist (winemaker, in fact) his life is fact and figures. There is always and right and wrong answer. So my world of words and sentences and paragraphs is foreign to him. I’m not sure what he thinks I do all day, but I suspect it’s something like knock a few words together for a client and spend the rest of the day on Facebook. Thankfully, he has many other endearing qualities.
My kids, well, as long as the food is on the table, they couldn’t care less how it got there.
My friends have been great, for sure, but most of them don’t really “get”what it is like running your own business from home. And let’s face it, they would support me even if I told them I was dropping out of society to join an ashram. That’s what friends are for (so they say).
So I set about establishing my cheer squad, through networking events and other places where like-minded business people hang out.
I was thrilled and somewhat bemused to find that there is a whole world full of freelancers – creative and otherwise – who had decided that nine-to-five was not for them and who were willing to share their knowledge.
It honestly surprised me to find that, unlike the dog-eat-dog corporate world, freelancers are a supportive bunch – even those that are natural competitors.
It turned out, my squad was already there, on Facebook, in other small business forums and part of my local business associations.
My squad includes members of The Clever Copywriting Directory, Facebook groups Freelance Creatives of Adelaide, Business Business Business and The Freelance Jungle. Closer to home there are a group of other freelancers and microbusinesses I have collaborated with – designers, social media and internet marketers, sign writers, business coaches, web gurus and more.
What my squad does
We share Facebook statuses, comment on each other’s blogs and lend a compassionate ear over the odd cup of coffee.
My cheer squad refers work to me (and vice versa) and we have established subcontracting arrangements. So not only do they form part of my support team, I am part of theirs.
Sure, it makes good business sense to surround yourself with potential customers and referral businesses, but that’s not the main reason that a freelancer needs a cheer squad. Who else will understand when a client wants the 50th revision to a “quick job”.
Do you have a cheer squad? Who is in your squad and what to the do for you?