Being a freelance artist often means riding the anxiety filled roller coaster of - “What’s my next gig?” No one likes the lag time between working on a great project, it ending and finding the next one. Going from employed to unemployed on a regular basis can wreak havoc on your mental well-being and bank account.
The biggest obstacle between you and your on-again/off-again employment is your brain. Side-effects of not working can include but are not limited to: low self-esteem, depression, loneliness, anxiety, and paralysis.
A few simple tweeks to your thinking can help you stay energized and confident through the process.
Tip 1: You’re Not Unemployed
Here’s a news flash – You’re not unemployed, you’re self-employed. With this easy rhetorical trick, you can go from anxiety driven paralysis to empowered entrepreneur in under 60 seconds.
Thinking of yourself as self-employed gives you stronger mental clarity over your situation, invites strategic action and feels empowered.
Tip 2: Stick to a Schedule
Just because a big project isn’t forcing you to get up early, doesn’t mean you can’t pretend that it is.
Set your alarm for a reasonable time to wake up, work out (to get you out of your PJ’s and reenergized) —shower and dress yourself in something a bit more formal (a dress shirt and jeans) to trick your brain into thinking that it’s time to get down to business.
Because it is!
You’re up … you may as well get to work looking for your next project. Email a few friends letting them know you’ve just completed an awesome project and now have room in your schedule to add one more project, set up a lunch date and get out of the house.
That’s how you network - a much better approach than saying in your PJ’s all day and watching ‘Friends’ reruns.
Tip 3: Revisit Your Wheelhouse
Do you know what your wheelhouse is? Do you know what’s in your wheelhouse?
Your wheelhouse includes all the different skills you have. Most of us can do a lot of different things quite well. When you’re ‘self employed’ and looking for your next project it's a good idea to examine your wheelhouse and be open to using some of your other skills.
As an example if you're a writer, that means you can do a lot of different things well - journalism, blogging, editing, writing copy, story boarding, etc. Make a list of every conceivable skill you have in your wheelhouse. This will help expand your project options and expand who you can reach out to letting them know you're available.
If you’ve been working as a writer on a comedy show and the show was just cancelled don't get stuck on only writing for TV.
Seek all kinds of projects while you wait to land the perfect gig again. Staying busy will help keep you energized, meeting new people, keep cash flow coming in, and finding leads on great opportunities.
You'll be working on something amazing again in no time!
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