The Self-Made Man is a fallacy. Anyone claiming to be self-made is hiding a whole heck of a lot of people in their shadows. I proudly identify as a Community-Made Women and want to celebrate all those that have helped me on this journey. So enjoy this open love letter to my Financial A-Team.
In 2017, I transitioned from Full-Time to Freelance and here are the shout-outs and lessons learned through that evolution. And a blog on 3 Things That Made My Transition To Freelance Easier.
1: KNOW YOUR WHY
I loved my last full-time job at an agency. It aligned with my values of autonomy, community, leadership, and innovation. However, the majority of my time and identity were defined by my career. My “why” for going freelance was to work less than 40 hours a week.
Enter the first shout-out. In multiple conversations with the leadership team at my agency, I turned my last job into my first freelance client. The agency already worked with a number of freelancers and they helped me see the path forward.
Since 2017, I have stayed true to my “why.” I’ve turned down projects that didn’t align with my values, skills, and experience. And I’ve built a life where I work less that 40 hours a week while doing meaningful work. It’s not perfect or always convenient – but it’s awesome.
2: THE VALUE OF MENTORSHIP
Some key freelancers who I worked with at that agency became my mentors. They answered my questions about freelancing, quelled my fears, and pointed me in the right direction. I appreciate those continued conversations about pricing, SOWs, and niching down in that supportive network.
3: GET SET UP AND GO
When I got started in 2017, I utilized online resources like my state’s Secretary of State website for business tools to guide me in my setup – including my FEIN and a path to open my business bank account.
When I found Lili this year, I was blown away by their free freelancing resource guide. I wish I’d had this when I got started! Lili’s banking solutions are innovative – they’ve provided thoughtful services that help solve the problems I wasn’t thinking about yet when I launched my freelance business. When I reviewed their guide, it was helpful to me, even four years into self-employment, to ensure I was making confident money moves in my business and financial goals.
As a freelancer, having a personal checking account that is easy to use allows me to spend more time doing the work, and less time tracking down income and expenses. Lili has a great feature that allows you to swipe left or right based on business versus personal expenses. All the business expenses are then taxed accordingly, which saves so much headache down the road.
I can’t tell you how many freelancers I know who didn’t have a tax plan when they started freelancing. I love that Lili puts that in the forefront! Having a separate Tax Bucket feature allows me to make decisions in my business without questioning if I have “enough” for my business and my taxes.
4: YOUR CHOICE TO LEARN OR HIRE
As a business of one, we feel this pressure to be the CEO and head of every department (Finance, Operations, Marketing, Sales, Creative). At the start of my business, I felt like I needed to learn how to do everything my business needed. I missed all those departments I left from my last full-time job.
I know I work best in a team and learned to build my Financial A-Team to integrate into my business. I have Growth Partners, Connectors, Mentors/Mentees, a High-Five Tribe, and Diverse Thinkers. The more confident I became in my business, the more clear I was on who I wanted to hire and my budget for bringing people in. As I expanded my team, my business grew. There have been some people who have been on my Financial A-Team and others that have not.
5: IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE PERMANENT
As you grow, your business, needs, and network will grow too. You have the opportunity to change or expand your Financial A-Team. As your budget and needs change – so will your strategy! Get great partners in each phase of your journey and don’t be afraid to move on or grow from there.
Enjoy the journey. Build a great foundation. And celebrate being Community-Made!
Oh, and if you need someone to be on your High-Five Tribe, I’m your girl. I love giving virtual high-fives for progress, milestones, and achievements! Send me an email – firstname.lastname@example.org – or a DM on Instagram @thepledgettes