Balancing Freelance & My 9-5

Transitioning to adulthood, adjusting to post-graduation life, and learning to juggle responsibilities has made it challenging to commit as much time as I once did to passion pursuits.

From a very early age, creative undertakings kept me motivated, inspired, and served as therapeutic outlets and escapes. Whether it was writing or creative directing - these provided me a space to explore life outside the limits that school and work often confined me to.

As an adult, I view my career as a body of work, a distinct reflection of my time spent in the world, and thus it is my contribution to my community as a whole.

Deciding what to pursue is a very personal, intentional process and it is incredibly important that I am personally invested so that I can put my best foot forward. Whether it be building a social media campaign for a new artist, partnering with a community organization, or assisting in a crisis response - I want to be certain that the work I partake in aligns with my values and is responsible in nature.

In addition, I’m also figuring out how to organize and execute in a way that is conducive to my schedule, abilities, and factors in the learning curve.

These three principles, that I’ve learned through research, mentors, and trial-and error, have become my personal creed that I’ve blended in my life as of late.

  • Discipline is Essential

    • A trait that all my mentors have in common is a relentless work-ethic and commitment to their craft. Often times, I found myself saying I wanted to accomplish certain goals, but not putting in the work necessary to ensure those dreams materialized. “Lock-in” is a phrase I enjoy using, because it accurately describes the process. More specifically, “locking in” meant coming in early/staying late to work on additional projects, doing my own outside research on developments within my industry, and committing time to meeting with my peers and expanding my network. Progress/results aren’t always instantaneous, so I’ve had to be mindful of that, but I’m a firm believer in “stay ready so you won’t have to get ready.” When my opportunity comes, I want to be prepared to receive it.

  • Creating a Flexible Plan

    • Having a tangible plan has been a critical component to my projects, whether it be starting a website, breaking into freelancing, or pursuing a new brand to work with. After doing extensive research on the topic, including but not limited to attending seminars/workshops, reading articles and profiles, or having brainstorming sessions and informational interviews with peers, I sit down and built out a written plan that includes the mission and vision, S.M.A.R.T goals and objectives, timelines, budget, deliverables.

      • Planning is great but life has a way of throwing curve balls. With that, I factor in risks such as unexpected expenses and possible delays that could impact my timeline. Moreover, projects that are emotional, physical, and/or labor intensive, I intentionally schedule out health and wellness days so that I am able to perform at my highest level.

  • Building a Community of Trusted Advisers

    • Working on projects taught me very early on that I couldn’t everything on my own. Whether it be finance, sales strategy, or technical production - there were areas that I needed assistance with understanding. Collaboration became the standard for me because I enjoy being able to brainstorm, get feedback, and work with people that come from different disciplines. It not only improves the quality of work that is produced, but I was also able to form unbelievable bonds and friendships with people, and that transcends the work.

As always, I’m interested to hear about your creative process. Let me know in the comments how you develop your projects and bring them to life.

With care,

Michael