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Learning how to hustle

{image by Carolyn Emily}

Anyone that has started off in the world of freelancing will know how different freelancing is to being employed. There are the obvious factors – you work for yourself, if you don’t find work you don’t get paid, you work your own hours etc – but then there is a whole other side that isn’t as obvious until you are knee deep into it…so I have discovered.

When I was offered my very first writing gig I asked the ever-sassy Stacey of Veggie Mama if I could now call myself a writer. Her response was “Fake it ‘til you make it.” The thing is, I was born a writer. Whether I get paid to do it or I do it for the love of it, I am a writer. The point Stacey was making, in my interpretation, is that you have to hustle. Walk the talk so to speak.

Being a freelancer requires some serious dedication. Time management skills are necessary; you need to be organised and have a plan in place or you will quite possibly whittle your mornings away sipping good coffee (Ahem. I may have started off spending a few mornings doing just that). And most importantly, you need to find work. It is worlds away from clocking on and doing your eight hours to clock off at the end of the day to be promptly paid come pay day.

I am constantly looking for inspiration. Everything around me has become a source for my craft. Ideas inhabit my mind as I am driving down the freeway. I am being drawn towards likeminded people, wanting to mingle with creative folk and draw inspiration from their artistic outlook. I want to get my craft out there; I want to be read/heard/seen. I need to be read/heard/seen.

You have to hustle. There is no time for being shy when you are trying to get your brand out there. You need to have confidence in sharing your accomplishments, you need to be confident with self-promoting.  People need to see and hear about how great you are at what you do and why they have to have a piece of it. If you cannot sell your product or brand, no one will want to buy it. I have likened freelancing a little to being a salesperson. And we all know what makes a successful salesperson…hustle.

You have to have thick skin. I have been very, VERY fortunate with my pitches so far, and have had more published articles than rejected pitches. But not getting a response, or worse a rejection, is part of the job. If you think you won’t handle rejections, then freelancing is not for you. Thankfully my decade working in the casino industry carved out some pretty serious thick skin.

Sometimes you may need or want to work for free. I actually enjoy some of my unpaid gigs for the fact I feel less pressure. I still write with the same commitment as I take my craft seriously, and anything with my name attached has to come from the heart, but I do feel somewhat less pressured. Unpaid gigs add to your portfolio. Although you may not receive cash you will find the opportunities, and what follows, are just as valuable. And then there is the networking element. Remember I mentioned mingling with likeminded folk?

You have to be prepared to sell yourself. I sat down in the start and made a list of where I would really like to submit my work. Some publications require more research on my part and others I already know well enough to pitch, but ultimately the work I put in will be the same across all publications. There is no way on earth I am going to get published without doing the legwork and this includes selling myself. I know what I am capable of but publications don’t, so I have to tell them. I have never thought of myself as much of a salesgirl but I am loving putting myself out there. 

Work. Work. Work. I didn’t think for one second that I was really going to be sitting in my PJs on the lounge drinking coffee all day and expect to get published. If I can ‘work’ doing what I love the most, I will be one happy girl. To get that dream moving I have had to really put in some serious hours – researching publications, reading, more researching, pitching, drafting articles, editing articles, more researching. It is a lot of ongoing work, but fortunately it is work that I absolutely love doing. In an ideal world I’d love to be able to send off a few pitches and wait for the gigs to roll in, but I was never under the illusion that it would be that easy. I always knew there would be hours and hours of work. And still, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Well, maybe I’d welcome the dream knock at the door where someone sees my work and just has to hire me.

Even in my dreams I am hustling.

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  • Your mother - Unless you put yourself out there, no one knows who you are and what you are doing. If I were you, I would send my best articles to all the magazines around the world and if you don’t hear from them, do it again and again. I would even send it to TV channels for their mid day shows. The stuff that you write about, they discuss it in most of their shows. You just never know if you don’t give it go xxoo

    So start hustling!ReplyCancel

    • Peggy Saas - Thanks Mum. A very wise friend said the exact same thing, you have to put yourself out there to get noticed. I’m ready to give it a go! xoReplyCancel

      • Your mother - …and I’m truly happy for you and I know that you will be successful in all you do xxooReplyCancel

  • Cherie @ raising master Max - You’re inspiring, you truly are!

    This both excites me, & leaves me with a nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach :)

    Get your craft on girl ;)

    xReplyCancel

    • Peggy Saas - I know exactly what you mean about the nervous feeling, a combination of anxiety and excitement!

      I’ve been thinking about you a bit these past couple of weeks Chez, so happy you are chasing your dream. You go girl! xoReplyCancel

  • Carly Webber - Go for you Peggy. All these things are so true, it’s a tough tough world out there for those freelancing and chasing their dreams, but I think the rewards at the end of all that persistence, is far greater than you could imagine. Happiness is doing what you love!ReplyCancel

    • Carly Webber - I can’t type… GOOD… it should be Good for you Peggy LOL xxReplyCancel

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