In the freelancing community, there’s a heavy focus on the origin story. We like to hear about the circumstances that made you say, “Hey, this independent creation thing sounds pretty neat. I think I’m gonna give it a shot.”
What we don’t talk a lot about is the future. I don’t mean next year or even the next five years. I’m talking about retirement and what happens after work stops being your day-to-day.
In general, I think this has a lot to do with freelancing’s uncertainty. You don’t have a retirement account or even a severance package waiting for you at the end of your career, but you also have a lot to worry about today. You’ll think about the long-term stuff eventually, just not right now.
But what if focusing on the future is exactly what you need to give your efforts real significance?
You see, this week’s podcast guest reminded me that sometimes we have to think about the future to make sense of what we’re doing in the now. Satta Hightower, storyteller and content marketer extraordinaire, told us why she has been able to be so successful in building her business. Through the hard days and uncertainties, Darryl asked, what kept her going?
Satta’s answer? She’s working for a purpose bigger than herself. She’s driven to build generational wealth, creating a foundation that will help her children launch toward their own successes and experiences.
Because she has this powerful motivation, Satta does what’s needed to build a lasting legacy. And she has quadrupled her income in less than 10 years, so she knows what she’s talking about.
While I was listening to the episode, this was a bit of a light bulb moment for me. As much as I love freelancing and the opportunities it offers, I have struggled to find a passion to fuel my business. For a long time, it’s mostly been just the way I pay my bills.
Satta had a similar experience. She took the jobs she needed to get experience and make money. She didn’t see what she did as a business she was shaping, it was just work.
Now, however, she sees it as more than that. Her business is what will give her son and future children access to experiences and opportunities that will shape their lives. It’s what will allow her to retire early. Through this business she has created on her own, she can remove barriers and achieve great things.
I’m learning that that’s what I want to drive my business too.
For most of my adult life, I’ve used finances as an excuse to stay within my comfort zone. Sure, I want to learn to play the violin, but I can be using that money for more practical things. That vacation looks amazing, but I can just take a day off to save both the expense and any income I would lose out on.
I was making “enough,” so I didn’t need to think too much about the future or the businessy stuff that stresses me out, right?
Recently, through some of the podcast episodes and conversations with my counselor,
I’ve realized that income is far less about taking care of the now than it is about investing in the future.
This is especially true when you control your level of income as much as freelancers do.
Even if, like me, you don’t have kids to think about, what you are doing today is going to affect tomorrow. Undervaluing yourself, failing to maintain a healthy pipeline, making just enough to cover your expenses, all of these choices have lasting consequences. They determine when and if you can buy a home, how long you’ll have to wait to retire, and whether you can take and enjoy time away, a necessity to prevent burnout.
With these thoughts in mind, I’ve been working to treat my business as the vital and valuable stepping stone it is. As Tesla funding missions to the moon.
Now I’m turning my focus from where I’ve been and toward where I’m going. I might not know exactly what I’m building through my business, but I do know the possibilities grow with everything I achieve.
Get the full story here, where Satta tells us about her tumultuous journey to freelancing, the stories she hopes to share, and the reasons embracing a multitude of perspectives is so important.