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Freelance and the Guilt Factor

by Andrea Shemeley | A Creative Mind for Hire

This time of year, we practice the abstract art of the resolution. Everyone vowing to exercise more, eat better, work harder. I don't fall for it. Well, good health is always smart. But for me, every year (every day) I have the same goal. Guilt-free happiness. Tricky thing about being happy, if you're not use to following your happiness, there is a side effect, it's a real buzzkill- guilt.

I know it sounds strange. Guilt? Let me break it down for you. We're freelancers, which means our daily schedule is very flexible, and so is our income. Sometimes work is so hectic, I'm in the studio around the clock. Other times, work is slow. Now everyone that runs their own business, whether big or small, knows that when business is slow, you've got to take that time to network, market yourself and continue to build and enhance your brand both on and offline.

My internal dialogue:

If I don't put 100% of my time and energy into this business, then I'm not giving it my all.

Wait, but then that means that you never get a break from the business.

But I have to put my business first, before all other things. Clearly, the only way I will attain success, is to give all my time and energy to the business.

Yes, I could fill my days developing social media posts/campaigns, reading industry blogs, taking design software tutorials to learn the latest effects and new techniques, going to local meet-ups and industry mixers... I can always better my skills and work on the business. But the entire reason I got into freelance to begin with, was to captain my own ship; to choose when I worked and when I played.

Work hard, play hard. That was my mantra, my plan for happiness. Somehow that mantra turned into: All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. We all remember that scene from The Shining. Yeah, I need to flip the script.

So today, I continue the lifestyle experiment I started this summer, and I take it one step further. I spend time developing the fun stuff. The stuff I've put off, because I felt guilty working on something seemingly frivolous. This is the year I get my obscure 80s movie quotes t-shirt shop up and running, because "it's our time down here." "Fair is fair!"

Take time to work on something you've always wanted to do. Call it a side project, your side hustle, if you will. Get your side hustle on.

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