When life gets Hectic: how I said goodbye to a traditional 9-5 and hello to freelancing

Becoming the main character in my own life. Part 1 of 3.
When life gets Hectic: how I said goodbye to a traditional 9-5 and hello to freelancing

Hero image by Leah Deal

If the title of this blog makes you think of a musical montage from the movies, when the main character goes through a transformation of some sort, you’re not alone. Imagine some up-beat music playing in the background (something like “There She Goes” by Sixpence None the Richer) while the audience sees brief snippets of the main character overcoming obstacles and working towards their goal. 

Unfortunately, life doesn’t present us with musical montages to casually skip through the hard or mundane parts and seamlessly arrive at the next phase. The reality is much more empowering! 

As the main character of our lives, we have the opportunity to make choices and walk each and every step through the transformation, learning and growing - to whatever songs you like! Although, as a 90’s kid, I’d probably still pick Sixpence None the Richer.  

After working for more than a decade in a traditional 9 to 5 job, I felt like a supporting character in the story of my own life, instead of the leading lady. That changed recently when I decided to pursue my passion of Scottish history and enroll in graduate school. I did my best to juggle the responsibilities of my marketing day job and my history studies, while also being an attentive girlfriend, friend, sister, daughter, dog-mom, and occasionally make it to the gym for mental and physical health. I could do most things okay, but not well, and certainly not at the caliber I expected of myself. This resulted in feeling like two different people, unable to dedicate my whole authentic self to any of my ‘jobs’. I knew something needed to change. 

I’ve always admired people who made the move from a traditional career path into the freelancing world, but I never thought I would be the one to take that step. In my head, although it was difficult to manage with school, 9 to 5 jobs offered stability, certainty, insurance, full endorsement from Dolly Parton, and most importantly handled the tax portion of my paycheck. Also, the office offered social interactions with coworkers, water cooler talk, and a reason to shower every morning. On the flip side, freelancing seemed uncertain, reckless, lonely, and most importantly confusing because: taxes.

So, after being gainfully employed in the corporate world for over a decade, how did I say goodbye to my traditional salary job? 

To be honest, with a little trepidation. But ultimately, I resolved to be the main character in my life and decided that the marketing skills that pay my bills could help me work towards my new goal. I wasn’t jumping into the deep end without floaties, though. Through past employers and some networking, I had a few clients express interest upfront, and knew that I could get started there and build clientele as-needed. 

The next phase of this venture was embracing my skills and recognizing my worth, something I think most of us are notoriously bad at. What’s my hourly rate? What services can I provide? Can I actually deliver on these things? Self-doubt filled my head, but after creating my first few proposals and having initial conversations with clients, my confidence recovered, and yours will too. I realized that I can do this, and I don’t need the validation of a boss or manager to say so. 

Discovering Hectic also helped dissipate fears about taking the leap into freelancing. Having one user-friendly space to organize clients, projects, invoicing, expensing, and more, gave me some confidence stepping into this new role in marketing, sales, accounting, project management, and all the hats we wear as freelancers. Not to mention, the Hectic community and many “how-to” blogs also provide assurance to me as a new freelancer. 

As a brand-new freelancer, I believe “Baby Freelancer” is the technical term, I am in the musical montage of learning the ins and outs of freelancing and all it entails, both personally and in business. Come along with me on this journey and I’ll fill you in on what I’m learning and how I’m becoming the main character in my life through freelancing.

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Kira Johnson
Kira Johnson
A marketer for a decade, Kira has recently transitioned into freelance work to allow room for her other passion: Scottish history. This unique blend of skills allows her to write, create, and analyze marketing campaigns, while providing the occasional history lesson at no additional charge. A true Colorado native, born and raised in Boulder, Kira enjoys adventuring in the outdoors and losing track of time at local coffee shops.
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