Waiting on Office Space

When I meet people I often wonder what their back story is because I like to learn from others as much as possible. I try to never compare myself to anyone but I’ll admit it’s hard not to. I try to keep that feeling in check by telling myself that everyone has a different story and path, no two people walk in the same shoes. My story always seems to surprise some folks and I thought it would be a good time to share a glimpse of how I became a freelancer. I’ve decide to bullet point a few things and just put it out there. Nothing like the internet to get you to open up lol. Here goes…

  • Raised in South Florida surrounded by gangs, drugs and a way too young mom who loved me more than life. Lucky to have a great dad too although my parents were divorced.
  • Dropped out of high school in 12th grade because I was made fun of everyday for not having a car. We moved from a poor school to a rich school and I couldn’t adapt. Money made my stomach turn.
  • Became a retail slave and sold shoes to people with really really bad taste.
  • Got my first corporate job shortly thereafter. Thought I was going to be rich making $10.17 an hour. Plus I had health insurance for the first time in years!
  • Worked a series of decent corporate jobs and eventually got my GED. I felt so empowered by this little piece of paper.
  • Dated someone in the admissions department of a local private college. They talked me into going to school despite my complete lack of academic knowledge. I had basically slept through high school or skipped every day.
  • Score! A few years I graduate with an Associates Degree in Network Engineering at the top of my class. I had always been good at computers and seemed to have no talent other than being able to sleep standing up. I was the only chick in my graduating class.
  • I also acquired my first 30,000 in debt from student loans.
  • Got my first job in IT, an industry that for the most part, actually pays pretty decent.
  • Spent 8 years living in a cubicle working on-call + 40 hour weeks. There were days when I answered the on-call cell phone while in the shower. That is how serious I took this job.
  • I worked as hard as I could to get out of the cube farm and get my own office space.
  • Eventually corporate life caught up with me and I was s0 burned out. I started doing stuff very similar to the things done in the movie’s Waiting and Office Space.
  • Between my sibling’s creativity and alligator wrestling skills, I started to feel a little inadequate. Their lives seemed so much more adventurous than mine. Better yet, why was I comparing myself to them?
  • Lassoed myself a spouse and had a baby. My world became complete bliss.
  • I was the breadwinner and the stress of leaving my newborn baby at just 7 weeks old, to go back to work, almost made me legally insane.
  • Realized there was more to life than “this”…What exactly is “this” anyways?
  • Found freelancing. Worked as a freelancer at night while working at my day job.
  • Left my very secure job of 8 years to take a part time IT job so I could eventually transition out to running my own business.
  • Left my part time job to figure out what “this” was.
  • Became a work at home freelancer!

And that leads me to today. I run my business and sometimes take a look back at my life and say, now how in the world did you get here? I did not mention ALL the mistakes I’ve made but believe me, I’ve made a TON. I’ll probably slowly drip out those errors with the hopes of enlightening a few people on what not to do.

What I did:

Opened up my mind to rid myself of the corporate rate race culture. 

Stopped comparing myself to EVERYONE. 

Learned how to take RISKS. 

Along the way my novice mistakes actually cost me a lot of time and money. Freelancing is usually feast or famine. You can be so in demand one day that your phone never stops ringing and other days it’s just a barren wasteland of nothing.  At one point, I was about to lose the roof over my head and I came across a blog that changed things for me. Once things settled down I reached out to thank the person who wrote the blog post that helped me. You can read the post where James Clear discusses my case study on Passive Panda.

For me the key was diversifying what I did and having multiple income streams. I learned as a Freelancer, you should never put all your eggs into one really old and decaying basket. I also learned to thank those that helped you along the way and always reach out for help if you need it.  I am no longer waiting on office space; I work from home and love what I do.

 

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  • http://www.careeradvicebyrandy.com Randy Pena

    Nice writing style. I look forward to reading more in the future.

    • http://www.danimagestro.com Dani

      Thanks Randy!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003406410382 Valdilene

      Neil makes some great points. I agree that it’s irpamtont to talk to your current boss and make a plan. If you’re lucky to have a supportive boss, it will make the transition easier. And you may end up leaving with a new client! (after all, you know the business already)I also had many talks with self-employed friends/family who became mentors and go-to persons for questions. This is invaluable when starting out and is a great way to boost your confidence. Simple questions such as, do I need a second phone line? how do I handle taxes? can seem overwhelming until you talk to a seasoned pro. And over the years, I’ve paid it forward by being an adviser and “cheerleader” for lots of others who have taken the solopreneur plunge. Along those lines, be prepared for the naysayers. I was lucky to have supportive friends and family, but there were a few “Are you sure about this? How will you pay the rent?” questions that threatened to derail my confidence. Brush it off and move on with your plan. Having a certain volume of work helps. Most freelancers I know decided to go solo when they realized they were putting in more time after-hours than in their day job. Knowing you’ll have at least a project or two when starting out helps give you confidence.Lastly, I agree with Neil’s point about hard work. Be prepared to work twice as hard (at least in the beginning). But the satisfaction of having your own business and creating the life you want makes up for all those long hours!

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    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003406399398 Benedict

      I am turning 50 and find I am too old to get dgeisn jobs and have to work freelance. I live in Vancouver where it is very competitive, and you have to be a genius or have rewards or be young and cool to get hired by agencies. There is a huge age bias to get hired for jobs, so I have given up.There are few art director and manager jobs but at this age it’s more realistic to get hired as account manager.Aside from having to be a PHP and coding guru, I find there is less dgeisn work out there and more and more work for back end coders. Alot of dgeisn work offered is for students, interns and really really low wages. What with odesk and elance, and competing with a global workforce that doesn’t mind being paid under 5 dollars an hour, I find there is little hope for this career. I will be retiring soon! Sooner than I thought, but for what they are paying dgeisners out here and the fact that it’s so hard to get hired, I work on my own, but find that is a constant hustle for work. I can make just as much money being hired as an admin assistant. Graphic dgeisn, wish I never went into it and got a real career, however it put food on my table for over 20 years.

      • http://www.danimagestro.com Dani

        Benedict, I’m starting to feel like it’s either feast or famine with freelance work. I think the word hustle describes it perfectly. I am getting tired of the hustle too. I have to rely on my little mini network for work otherwise it’s more hustle and less work. I have friends in Vancouver, I don’t know how you are doing it. That place is expensive!

        I wish you lots of luck, hang in there.

  • http://newslatestgadget.blogspot.com/ Keith Bayes

    Wow, incredible blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your website is fantastic, as well as the content!. Thanks For Your article about Waiting on Office Space | dani magestro .

  • Guess Who?

    Love the website!

    Guess Who?

    • http://www.danimagestro.com Dani

      haha, Dad! how cool of you stop in and thank you! I love you!