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.