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Freelancing: 2 Years In

Akvile DeFazio
October 28th, 2016
Akvile DeFazio

In what seems like a blink of an eye, another year has flown by. As you may have noticed, things look a little different around here. To help kick off entry into my third year of self-employment, I am extremely thrilled to share my new site, name, and brand with you. Meet AKvertise.

Over the last few weeks as my two year self-employment anniversary was approaching, I found myself reminiscing about what transpired this year, how my business and I have evolved, the challenges that were faced, the successes that occurred, and what I will take with me going forward. It’s been a wild ride thus far and while there were some bumps in the road, I wouldn’t change anything, given the state of things today.

This time last year, I composed a post about my first year of freelancing. It was exciting to reminisce what was then, what is now, and where I now aim to be in years to come. While the first year was a roller-coaster of adaptation and discovery, year two was a teeter-totter in search of balance. This year presented new challenges, experiences, and opportunities, and they resulted in some very high, highs, and some pretty down lows, but like most things in life, moments are temporary and you can find resolve during the tougher ones.

Bit Off More Than I Could Chew

Let’s just say that life threw a few unexpected curve balls and I said yes to one too many things. I pride myself on working hard, working smart, and helping as many clients as I can, reach their goals, however, as we’ve all heard the saying, “everything in moderation”, this applies to work as well. I don’t mind overloading my itinerary with work from time to time, however, after a prolonged period and taking on some projects I should have passed on, I lost the passion and excitement I always have when working on campaigns. Ultimately, I burned out. Hard.

Then, one weekend away with friends, in wilderness, was all it took for me to get that “oomph” back. Unplugging for 2 days in a cabin with some amazing, talented, driven, and inspiring friends was what I didn’t know, I needed. Hearing about their work, their projects, their hurdles, and then all uplifting one another, it gave me an unexpected residual boost, too. Some candid honesty and feedback goes a long way. That following Monday morning, website construction and planning for AKvertise commenced, I reassessed what I enjoyed about work, what I didn’t, closed some doors, and other ones soon emerged and opened. I began reconnecting with marketing industry friends, and after a hiatus from conferences, I was ready to go back and immerse myself in sessions to learn new tactics, catch up with friends, and network to make new connections. In light of all of this, Pubcon couldn’t have come at a better time and now, two weeks after the show, I still feel reinvigorated because of my experience there. I had lost myself in the grind and thanks to my family, fiance, friends, and events, I am back, refreshed, and excited again. More so than I was before.

If you’re feeling similarly, take a step back, create a list of things you enjoy about your work and things you do not, ask for feedback from those close to you, and create a plan of how you can adjust your work flow or work situation altogether. While implementing these changes can be the most challenging part of this task, just remember, “ask for forgiveness, not permission.”

I Hired Someone

During the aforementioned overloaded work period, I hired a part time marketing intern to assist with some tasks. It was exciting to have someone on board and share with them, what others have taught me over the years. While it didn’t work out long term, it was an excellent educational experience in hiring and learning how to let go of some tasks and trust someone with my client work. Having had that experience gave me a taste of what it would be like to expand my business further, if I so choose.

Lessons Learned

One of the things I’ve really embraced over the last two years is that I learn something new each week, if not each day. There’s no manual to entrepreneurship and you have to find comfort in that. While being on your own can be lonely at times, you are definitely not alone. There is a massive network of freelancers and remote workers. Reach out and say hello! I’ve now learned how to be aware of my work load and not to stray too far away from the point of equilibrium, how to ask for help, to trust others with my work (to an extent), how to better communicate and manage expectations, and how to say “no, thank you.” It’s been an educational year on the business front but more so, I’d say it was a bigger year of self awareness and the new experiences collected will make this coming year that much better.

I am eternally grateful to my support system, the incredibly innovative and amazing client’s I’ve had the opportunity to work with, and everyone I’ve encountered along the way. Thank you for your time and your inspiring stories. You make every bit of this journey worth it. Year 3, let’s crush it!


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