Turning 27 was not fun for me, but I’m turning it around for the last 6 months of 2019.
Everyone has their “rough” birthdays, right?
For me, this year’s birthday was rough…to say the least. I wasn’t looking forward to turning another year older and heading further into this next quarter of a century.
I really struggled. I didn’t want a celebration. I didn’t want to recognize it. Even a candy bouquet from my grandparents and tacos at one of my favorite Indianapolis restaurants (shout out to Lucianas!) didn’t do the trick.
The truth of it was, I felt embarrassed. I felt like I hadn’t accomplished anything in my life up to that point.
“But, Jen…you completed a MASTERS degree. Most people don’t have that.”
And you’re right. No one can take my education away from me. No one can take away all the experiences I had working at and covering some of the biggest sporting events in the world. No one.
Yet, something just made me dread this year’s celebration.
Looking back, I can honestly say it was just because I felt stuck.
Anyone else hate feeling stuck?
Stuck at work?
Stuck in life?
Yeah…same! I hate that feeling! And before I took the dive into freelancing myself, I felt stuck.
I can honestly say that I don’t feel stuck anymore…and 27 isn’t so bad. I mean, I wish I could go back to 25, but that’s beside the point.
Over the last two months, things have really fallen into place. I’m just amazed at how it’s all worked out thus far and I certainly am excited for what’s to come. I’m not saying this has been easy…trust me…there have been lots of tears and fears. But not once have I questioned whether or not this was the right choice for me. Instead, all I can think is: “OK. How am I going to make it?” What can I do today that will get me one step further to where I want to be?”
I finally feel like I have control over my life and where it’s headed. I’m no longer tied to what someone else says I’m worth. I’m not fed lies about how much I’m valued in my position, but not worth the pay. I have say over what I charge now, and it’s all up to clients to see my worth for what it really is.
Truth is, I have a lot to offer. I have great ideas and inspirations, and it’s draining to be told repeatedly that I’m not good enough. When in reality, I’m more than enough and I bring a lot of experiences and ideas to the table.
I know I’m not alone in this and that brings me comfort. My husband reminds me every day that I have people who care in my corner. And now that the haze has lifted and I can see more clearly about who I am (but lowkey still kinda figuring this out) and where I want to be in life, I’m no longer scared of 27.
Other than it being an annoyingly odd number, I’m actually excited about what the last 6 months of 2019 have to bring for me. I’m going to keep chugging along and building every day towards the type of lifestyle I deserve.
And you can, too.
So, here’s to no more rough birthdays and optimism for the future and killing this thing!
“I just have to go for it. If I don’t, I’ll regret it and nothing in my life will change. Big risk, big reward.”
It’s still how I feel to this day. While I’m just a few months into my freelancing journey, I can honestly say that I’m already enjoying life that much more.
I’ve spent the last seven years pursuing my degrees while keeping a full-time job…in an industry that had ZERO to do with my major. Don’t get me wrong, it was great to have steady income while I got my degree, but once I finished my masters, it went downhill…and fast.
I finished my masters degree in sports journalism in the Spring of 2018…so about a year ago. In the months that followed (or really…going back to the Fall semester) I began my job search. I knew that where I worked currently wasn’t really a good fit for me and my goals. The hard part was that I liked the people I worked with and the small business atmosphere wasn’t so bad. But my job gave me such anxiety and took a major toll on my mental health. In fact, things started to get really bad when I began crying at work almost on a daily basis and even traded my desk chair for a bar stool in the middle of the day. By the end of it, it wasn’t a healthy situation for me to be in and I had to get out.
While there were many pivotal moments leading up to my decision to quit my job and dive head first into freelancing, the one shining moment that will forever stand out is when I was turned down for a job at the NCAA. Not because of lack of schooling or training, but lack of years of experience. I just remember hanging up the phone and tears instantly streamed down my face. I couldn’t stop crying…so I sat there for 10 or 15 minutes, cried it out, collected myself and my thoughts and resigned from my position that afternoon.
WHAT A RELIEF!
I’ve never felt so much weight lifted off my shoulders before. Did I have any idea what I was going to do at that moment? No
Did I have clients or know where to find them? Absolutely not.
All I knew was that I wasn’t gaining the skills I wanted or needed for my goals and career path doing mondaine paperwork, day in and day out. That was the moment I knew that if I wanted my life to be different, then I was the only one who was going to change it.
Not my boss.
Not my bosses boss.
Me. And me alone.
So I quit.
And this is where you find me. I’ve been at this for about two months, and while it’s been hard, frustrating and challenging, I still feel more free and alive than I was working for someone else. I love my freedom and having say over my days, and I could see how easy it would be for someone to just get lost in the midst of it all. I’m still figuring it out, but there are three things I’ve learned thus far…
1. Routines are key
I’m a routine girl. I didn’t think I would be, but I’ve found that if I’m going to get anything done during the day, I have to be out of bed before 9 a.m., exercised or showered (or both), caffeinated and on my couch (the home office is in the works) and working before noon…otherwise, FORGET IT. I’m useless. I’ve become such a morning person and knowing my peak hours of productivity have really helped me keep a routine. It’s also just good business practices, so if you’re thinking that I’m just enjoying the stay-at-home-housewife life while sleeping in and enjoying the leisure walks with my dog, then you’ve got another thing coming. I’m still busy, probably more busy than when I worked a full-time job. BUT, I’m enjoying every minute of it!
2. Networking is key
Sure, I’ve signed up on every job board imaginable and I still frequent Indeed and UpWork, but in the short amount of time that I’ve been at this, I’ve had more success with landing clients within my network. I am NOT one to ask for help, so stepping up and touching base with people I’ve worked with in the past or have networked with in the past has definitely made me uncomfortable, but it’s worked. I’ve also taken advantage of a connection I made with a recruiter from a financial planning office a few months ago. I reached out to him, just to say thanks for connecting me with people in his office, and that while it didn’t work out for me to come work in his office, I’d love to connect with people in his network to offer the services that I’m offering. He welcomed my message and has made it known that I can reach out at any time. While there are still people that I need to touch base with, I’m finding out that networking is the way to go. I’ve also joined Facebook groups and LinkedIn groups in an effort to connecrt with others like me or people looking for freelancers.
3. Keep it simple, stupid
When I set out on my new journey, I wanted to do it all! I wanted to run social media sites for small businesses. I wanted to blog content every day. I wanted to interview decision makers. I wanted to write web copy. I mean, the opportunities were endless and I have the time. However, I’ve discovered that too many niches make you replaceable. But focusing on a couple and being really good at them makes you valuable. So, I’ve decided to shift my focus away from wanting to do it all (after all, this is my business now, and I can switch it up if I want), to focusing on a couple of ways to earn cash and maintain my new found lifestyle. So, if you’re still with me, and are curious as to what exactly I’m doing, here it is:
I am a freelance write with a concentration in copywriting, content creation/editing and social media.
I can write. I can create catchy social media posts. I can blog. I can edit.
I have learned a lot and will continue to do so for the remainder of my life. I’m just glad that you’ve all chosen to ride on this journey with me as we I go. I’ll be sure to write more tips and advice as I go, but for right now, I’m enjoying this process. I get to be creative, write about whatever I want and have all of you along with me! So thank you!