The new year is often time for reflection and looking back at 2013, I had some lows, some amazing highs and a couple of moments that changed my life forever.

For me (work-wise, anyway), the most important moment of 2013 was leaving my 9-5 job to go freelance.

The impossible dream

Going freelance was quite a jump, especially for me, as for a couple of years, making the move away from my office cubicle had seemed like an impossible dream.

Rewinding the clock

I’d always dreamt of starting my own business and fresh out of college, I gave it a try. It failed. But hey, I learned a lot, and, it was much cheaper than attending University, anyway.

Alongside working on the business, I started blogging and doing odd bits of freelance work here and there. Eventually, the allure of security and some much-needed money became too much and I took a junior account management role working at a local digital agency. Back then, I saw it as a stop-gap between my failed business attempt and launching a freelance career.

Six months passed, then a year, then two years, and with every passing week I felt I was getting further away from a freelance career or running my own business.

Even-though I still dreamed of being my own boss and felt that was where my future lied, I kept putting it off. I’d grown used to the safety of guaranteed income an easy-ish lifestyle. And, if I’m honest, I’d also started to fear making the move to freelancing, as the lack of financial security worried me.

Turning points

At times during 2012 and early 2013, I’d considered whether working for myself was un-realistic. I questioned myself (did I have the skills to make it happen? Would people want to work with me?) and pondered whether I may be better off getting my head down and focusing on a promotion at my current job, or taking another 9-5 role.

Deep down though, I knew I’d never feel fulfilled if I didn’t at least try to go freelance again, and during times of doubt there’s a few moments that kept me going.

Chats with Sam and Ole

I can’t exactly remember how Sam and I first got speaking, it was a few years ago now, around the time he launched, I think. Anyway, since then we’ve spoken daily and Sam always kept reminding me that I should take a risk and chase the career I wanted.

Ole and I have been friends for a long time, since first meeting on a basketball court (I think). Like Sam, Ole has always been someone to keep me focused on what I want to achieve.

There isn’t a direct turning point I remember from these chats, but the constant reminders that I should go after what I want were invaluable.

Meeting Luca

I’d known of Luca for a while, we had a few mutual friends and had moved around in the same circles, though we’d never met until Luca launched his startup sports social media agency, We Play.

Not long after We Play launched, I dropped Luca an email, we got speaking and I started to do bits of freelance work with him as the agency grew and new clients came on-board.

Over the last year and a half, Luca has become a good friend and source of inspiration. Without the experience gained with Luca and We Play, and his encouragement to take a leap into freelancing, I certainly wouldn’t be where I am now.

A Tweet that changed everything

In the summer, I saw Tweet about a really cool freelance opportunity. It ticked all the boxes; it was a social media role, working with a sports client and I knew the agency was successful, well respected and had a team of great people. It was the perfect opportunity.

Normally, I would have sat at my desk, thought a little about making the jump to freelancing, and then, despite how much I knew that was the career I wanted, the fear would creep in, I’d find an excuse to tell myself and I’d ignore it. On that day though, something was different. I responded. And that one response changed my life.

After responding to the Tweet, I had a few conversations and before I knew it, I’d been offered the position.

This was my chance.

The next week, I quit my job. August 6th was my last day as an employee and August 7th was the start of a new adventure.

I’ll always be extremely grateful to the people who put their faith in me (especially Luca and Vikki) and those who helped encourage me to make the move to freelancing (Sam, Jade, Ole, George and my family).

Since making the leap, I’ve almost felt like a new person and I’m certainly much happier. There’s been some highs, a few lows and one or two times where I’ve questioned why I left full-time work. Overall though, it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.

Working for myself represents a huge personal milestone in my story. I proved to myself that I could overcome fears, push myself and pursue the career I’d been dreaming of for years.

Above all I want to enjoy my life and leave behind me a story that I’m proud of. Before going freelance I felt held back, sheltered and unable to fully express myself. Now, things are totally different, and I feel like I’m gradually unlocking my potential and utilising the drive, desire and motivation that has been pent up inside of me for years.

I feel very, very blessed to be in the position I’m in at the start of 2014. I’m scared, too. I mean, I have to make a living for myself now. But, I’ve started to understand that there’s no reward by taking the easy route.

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