Cherish all your happy moments: they make a fine cushion for old age.
– Christopher Morley (1890 – 1957)
American journalist, novelist, essayist and poet
For some reason, fellow creatives have been asking me for advice lately.
I eat raw cookie dough and wear bunny slippers with whiskers and bendy ears. The first time someone asked me for professional advice, it caught me off guard.
But not only are they asking me questions, I have helpful, intelligent answers.
Then it occurred to me—this is one of those freelancing milestones that tend to go unnoticed in the whirl of your daily hustle.
Your first social media follower that isn’t Mom.
When you launch your social media platform, you start at zero. No followers. No readers. Nuthin’. Zilch. Nadda. When you post, crickets don’t even chirp. No one knows you exist. Yet.
But the better you get, the more people start following you. Eventually you look up and think, “Hey, people are following little ole me. How cool is that?”
The first time another writer asks you for advice—and you have answers.
After spending so much time inhaling information, being asked to pass that information on reminds us of how far we’ve come. How much we’ve learned.
Personally, it makes me feel like the professional I want to be: one who helps others plant their stake in the ground.
Your first referral.
A quality referral is more than just the result of good networking. People who refer you are putting your name next to theirs and sending it to their colleagues. They’re vouching for you.
It’s the ultimate professional compliment.
The first time you get to say “I’m fully booked.”
When you get to declare yourself fully booked, it’s proof that your freelancing efforts are paying off. Whether it’s momentary or ongoing, this is proof that you’ve become a full-fledged, self-sufficient freelancer.
I said this for the first time last month. And it felt go-o-o-o-d.
Freelancing milestones happen before you know it.
It’s been less than a year since I went from corporate copywriter to freelance writer. In that time, I’ve worked like a crazy person to build my blog and my business. But I haven’t stopped to take in my progress.
Now that I have, I feel like I’ve graduated some kind of freelancer bootcamp. I’ve moved up from being a complete unknown to just being a relative unknown.
My bunny slippers’ ears now stick up a little taller, a little more proudly.
Let’s add to the list. What are some of your milestones?
P.S. In case you’re wondering where to get bunny slippers like these, go to: BunnySlippers.com (not a paid link, muse sold separately)
12 thoughts on “A Freelancer’s Uncelebrated Milestones”
Congrats on your many milestones! I loved hitting some milestones on my website like when I got my first 10 followers. That was big to me. Now I have may more followers but each one still means the world to me.
Thanks! And welcome to Rubber Ducky Copywriter. 🙂
Yes, I know what you mean. It still amazes and humbles me every time someone follows my blog or follows me on Twitter. It’s more than just a metric; it’s a privilege. And proof that you’re doing something right. I love it.
Erica, finally having a website of my own was a massive milestone for me. Until then I had virtually no exposure online, as so much of my work was ghostwriting.
The next big thing was getting no. 1 position in google.co.uk for one of my target niche copywriting search terms. Other people really start to take notice when you do something like that.
Then it was the first enquiry through my website (not sure whether that was before the above or not). And then my first paying client via my website.
I’ve also found myself fully booked at times, Erica, but made the mistake of not marketing through these busier times.
So don’t let your schedule keep you from securing future work and definitely don’t let it stop you from posting on your blog.
Thanks for adding getting the website up—it’s a big milestone. Like you, I didn’t have one either when I got started. And it was Job #1. And I used to make the mistake of not marketing when I had work. Am deliberately breaking that bad, lazy habit.
These are all really great additions, everyone. Thank you for adding to the list!
I also reckon getting comments to your blog, as you have here, is also another uncelebrated milestone.
Shows that people are reading and interested.
You’re right…another good one for the list. Thanks!
This post is encouraging. I maybe even see the potential for another post perhaps detailing a few of those ways you’ve “worked like a crazy person” to make it happen. Please. When you are able to post again since you’re “booked up”.
I looked at the bunny slipper site, noticed they had duck feet too. 🙂
Glad you liked it. Yes, I have a few drafts (trying my blog post series) about working like crazy. I’m fully booked at the moment, which we all know can change in an instant, but sharing this stuff is a priority.
Thanks for the nudge. I’ll make sure the series doesn’t fall by the wayside.
I’ll be looking forward to that series when it is posted. PS. You showed up in my most recent post…”A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to My Purpose”
Freelance writing isn’t for the unmotivated or lazy. That’s why recognizing milestones, big or small, is important.
We could add:
1. The first unsolicited pitch that was accepted
2. The first “dream project” (i.e. case study, white paper) that brought in big bucks
2. The first time a client was so happy with your work that she threw more projects at you 🙂
Congrats on being fully booked – celebrate it!
Love that list! I haven’t hit those yet, but it sounds like you have—awesome!
Do you mind if I add them to the body of the post? (With full credit and a backlink of course.)
Sure, no problem. And thank you!
Haven’t hit them yet, but I’m working on a plan to hit #2. The first #2, that is, lol. And a client has hinted that #3 may happen, so fingers crossed.