The 2019 Retrospective

Or: How I (Sort Of) Became Okay with Self-Employment

Wow, I can’t believe another year has already gone by since my last year-end reflection. I feel like every year gets shorter and shorter.

This past year has been incredibly exciting in my professional career. I think the biggest thing for me this year was finally coming to terms with my freelancing career.

For the past few years, I was doing design, writing, and project management as a side-hustle—things that I would work on temporarily until I (hopefully) found a full-time job again. I’m not sure when it happened, but I eventually started to notice that I was getting more and more projects. The side-hustles started to roll themselves together into one big, full-time hustle. I no longer had time to do job applications. And I had to start turning people down for projects because I didn’t have the bandwidth to handle them all.

Then one day, I realized: I think I accidentally became an entrepreneur. It took a while for me to accept that, because I’m not exactly an archetypical entrepreneur that I always imagined.

But there are so many other things that I got a chance to do. I worked on over 10 different projects and had countless volunteering opportunities. Each one gave me a chance to try something a little new and a little uncomfortable. There were some tough times (but who doesn’t have those?) but each stumbling block was a new chance to learn something about myself.

So if I’m wearing that many hats and juggling that many balls, all while not being 100% sure of where the next customer will be… doesn’t that sound pretty entrepreneurial, after all?

Other Lessons Learned

In the spirit of self-improvement, I also put my e-reader to good use this year. I learned some new techniques to manage my anxiety (even if it isn’t social anxiety). I started trying to become more compassionate towards myself when times get tough. And when I felt like my natural tendency to help others and my generalist background were hindering my career goals, I was validated and inspired by the stories of many others who found success by just being themselves.

Deciding to go all-in on my (accidental) self-employment is scary, and it’s not what I expected when I first graduated. For a long time, I (naïvely) thought that my work situation was shameful—I wasn’t working for someone full-time and I haven’t founded a tech startup, so what am I doing? Am I a failure?

Since then, I’ve learned that success comes in many forms, and just because I’m not doing something “normal” doesn’t mean that I’m doomed to fail. Being a freelancer is a very plausible career path. And I think that’s the biggest lesson I learned this year.

(The second-biggest lesson was learning how much space I could save by folding my t-shirts vertically in my dresser.)

What’s Next?

I can’t wait to find out, honestly. I’m excited to see what kind of new projects, challenges, and opportunities are waiting out there.

Here are a few things that I think I can resolve to do this year:

  • Read one book every month. It’s not easy for me to find time to get some reading done, but I think this is a manageable amount. It’s a little more than what I was able to do this year, but you have to do some stretch goals, right?
  • Update my portfolio. I talk about a lot of my projects, but I hope to actually share more about those pieces on my site when I am able to.

I’m so thankful for everyone that I’ve met and learned from. Here’s to another awesome year. Bring it on, 2020!

Subscribe to New Updates

Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on LinkedIn
Share on email
Email to a friend

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.