I’m right at the wee-initial stages of setting up my practice and I’ve got to say it is proving to be an absolutely thrilling phase. I have always known I wanted to go freelance. Nothing wrong with being employed - I have done that too for years - but my ultimate dream has always been to have the freedom to do my thing and collaborate - collaborate - collaborate. I feel like successfully completing my training and obtaining my qualification was a real milestone - not only for obvious practical reasons, but more importantly to me, for what it meant on a deeper, emotional level. I feel a lot more secure in what I’m doing; of course, uncertainty is a constant in life (and as some say, no one really knows what they’re doing) but I now look at the future with more excitement than fear. Letting go of that little cloud that I felt hovering over my head, I have freed so much mental space to dedicate to developing ideas and actually, ya know, doing the stuff. I can concentrate on doing what I love, on doing it more and better everyday. Wow.
And then. Yes, bare with me, there is a then - the other side. Let’s just call it that because I don’t understand it just yet so “other” feels appropriate. As the idealist that I am, I love to brew ideas, to create, write, talk to others, read and be inspired, collaborate - which is all good and well as that’s the main part of my job and I feel lucky to have my days full of passion.
Diploma in hand, new found drive, and a big grin on my face, I set out to dive out in the world and ‘do it’: I want to be there! But of course new found wisdom means I also know that before I can be there, I need to get there. Actually the getting there is a ‘being there’ in itself. I digress. So it is then, as I set out to start out, being where I am to get where I want, that I come face to face with the alien “other”. I’ve been avoiding it; it feels unknown for sure; it looks a bit foggy, like a big, bundled foggy mass. If I begin to unpick its layers, I start to see it means marketing; it means selling; it means banging my head against the screen as I attempt to master Wix; it means tax assessments; it means business structures everyone seems to know about but me, and lalalala - you get the drift. My name is Sulu, I am 33, and I know nothing about all things such.
Let’s look at this right. I know I can read. I know I can think. I know I can call on lovely peeps who know the stuff. And I love to learn, admittedly about subjects that excite me, and these barely qualify. But that I can work around. Contextualize, re-frame, re-purpose. If not absolutely inspiring, it can surely be functional learning.
Right, so let’s get on to this whole freelance admin affair.
What I have so far: a quiet accountant; a lawyer husband who’s also my personal photographer; an explosion of Post it notes on my desk; a wonderfully supportive network. And a whole bunch of ideas, passion and excitement.
What I need to buy: a printer, a paper diary and a whole lot of stationery.
What I need to get: a clue, and a move on. To be fair the move is already on. So let’s start on the clue bit.
Invoices for example. I was making a list of necessary buys and remembered invoices. I called my sister who’s been doing the self employed thing most of her life and asked her what to call one of those little paper booklets that you scribble on and tear out, because I needed to go get one. I think she hesitated for a moment to check what I was on about; then reminded me it’s 2017 and everything can be done electronically. Ha!
An image jolts to my mind. A seven year old girl sitting at a desk in her room, in front of piles of papers. She has all possible supplies; as gifts, she rarely asks for toys: stamps, filing cabinets, receipts, calculators, a till - for crying out loud, how happy they make her! “The Office” is her favorite game.
Yes, that girl was me. Bless my family who patiently put up with a crossed armed kid who wouldn’t let anyone open the fridge lest they had a duly issued proof of pre-payment. Micro-level bureaucratic red tape. Good times.
I was tiny but I had a will of steel and a known talent for arguing my case. And these things I guess I still have. (I’m also still tiny, in case you wondered)
So you know what? I’ll reach out to the seven year old me.
She’ll help me out with this one.