I’ve learned a lot about myself and my freelance business over the past several years. Being neuro-divergent is something that I’ve come to accept and it’s definitely something that has shaped the way I run my business. There are several things I’ve learned since discovering my neuro-divergence that have made a gigantic impact on the way I run things as a freelance writer.
The biggest thing I’ve had to do is take some time to define my own version of success and what that looks like for me. I no longer want to define my own success based on someone else’s story. I took some time to figure out who I wanted to work with and the tasks I’m best at completing. I had to really force myself to slow down on this step and learn how to not give in to peer pressure.
I struggled a lot with discouragement when I first started, which I know is something that a lot of new freelancers struggle with but don’t really talk about. I was desperate to leave my corporate job and felt like things weren’t moving quickly enough for my liking. This is the one thing I struggled with more than anything: it’s the idea that I was running around in circles and completing mindless tasks instead of doing the bigger and “scarier” tasks that would launch my business forward the way I was looking for.
It was an endless struggle for me and one that still catches me by surprise from time to time. Being neurodivergent means that I get distracted easily if there’s not something going on in the background to keep me focused on my task. I’ve learned that I always need music or “study with me” videos running through headphones to keep me focused or I’ll never finish the task I’m working on.
I need to keep my phone well away from my desk during work times with the “do not disturb” function turned on so the notifications won’t distract me. My family has learned that it’s better to leave me alone when I’m working and text me rather than calling me. They know to wait for me to respond when I see the message, which sometimes doesn’t happen until I’m either taking a bathroom break or a lunch break.
The biggest thing I’ve learned
The biggest thing I’ve learned, however, is to lean into the aspects of my personality that make me different. I’ve placed “gender queer” in my author bio so people know part of who I am right off the bat and I’ve based my office hours on the times of day that I get the most work done. For me, that’s the late afternoons and early evenings.
I don’t get a lot of work done in the mornings because I’m not a morning person. I don’t like getting up at 5am or 6am because that’s just not who I am. I’m open for communication with clients in the mornings and work on actual client work in the afternoons. That’s what works best for me. My biggest tip for new freelancers is to find out what schedule works best for you.
If you enjoy doing certain types of work more than others, it’s okay to focus on that. Don’t offer services you don’t want to offer just because you were told they were profitable. That’s one thing I’ve learned the hard way: I only offer services that I’m proud of offering. I only offer blog post writing services because I know I’m fantastic at it.
I have always come back to it and now it’s a huge part of my business. I’ve come to embrace parts of myself that I used to be ashamed of. It’s okay to offer services because you find it to be fun to complete those tasks for clients. Make your business your own. Let me know what you’ve learned about your business in the comments below!