It’s been quite the busy Summer as indicated by my lack of posting on a regular basis. In fact it was over four months ago! When I started this blog I had full intentions of writing at least every other week if not once a month. However, my increasingly growing freelance business didn’t include this blog…until now.
I’ve learned a lot in the past year, and one thing I’ve learned is that a blog can be a very valuable asset to any freelancer. It’s your marketing piece, your stamp, your slice of the web where you can share ideas and showcase your work. That said, I’m planning a new look with a new strategy for 2012. More on that later…
This post is about recent discussions I’ve had about freelancing. Not so much freelancing as a business, but the motivation and determination behind it. Plus, my freelancing business is part-time meaning I still hold a full-time day job. So, what does it take to launch a part-time freelance business?
I wrote a piece back in July for elearningWeekly.com titled 3D Tips for the Part-Time Elearning Freelancer where I talked about Decide, Describe, and Deliver. You can read it here.
In a more recent conversation on the Elearning Heroes forum where I started the discussion, What Does the Future Instructional Designer Need to Know?, Heidi Winkel asked,
How did YOU develop the skills and capabilities that you have, and how would that experience/education translate into today’s environment? Some of you said that you want to hire another “you.” What made you, you?
This got me thinking even further about me, my freelancing journey, and what makes me ‘tick’ to keep going. Each is there own, but I’d like to offer a follow-up to the 3D Tips with the Four P’s.
One must have a passion that’s deep enough to commit to learning and developing every day…late nights and weekends included. The type of passion that looks at everything with a solvable eye, and not a “I’ve never done that so I don’t know how” or “That’s too hard…I’ll just do it this way to get it done.” The type of passion that thrives on inspiration and creativity because let’s face it – this industry for the most part requires creativity to some degree.
Over and over and over and over. The elearning business has many layers. Getting to a level of a proficient expert in any one area will get you going, but I think it’s more about being really really ‘good’ at all the layers. Job Descriptions in today’s marketplace are listing many of these requirements. Companies in today’s environment are scaling back. It’s been a trend for awhile, but organizations are looking for the ‘Jack of All – Master of None’ employee. Not that I agree, but one person to replace three previous positions. The only way to prepare for those opportunities is to practice those skills. Most notably skills in Instructional Design in scripting out courses, storyboarding and designing courses, understanding the tools and knowing how to use them effectively, and of course keeping everything moving along nicely with good PM skills. Cognitive Science, Human Performance Technology skills doesn’t hurt either as my friend Steve Flowers points out in the above shared discussion on the Elearning Heroes discussion.
What made me, me is an extra 20-30 hours a week, late night wee hours in the morning, lots of reading and research, practicing until you want to throw the computer in the river, and the underlying driving force that if I stamp my name on a course I want there to be value and something I can be proud of. We all have funky days where we question ourselves, “Why am I doing this to myself” and want to do something else. I often take breaks; unplug; decompress, and walk away for a few days to regroup. It’s not how fast you can get to where you want to be, rather a persistent and steady pace. Only you know how fast that pace can be in your life.
Patience with oneself mostly. This is probably the hardest for me. I want to learn it all NOW! Plus, as a part-timer I want to deliver a quality project where I know someone working full-time can deliver faster. Delivering quality over quantity forces me to not to rush. When I dive into something new and want to get up to speed quick, I find that I underestimated the level of what I truly need to learn to be effective. Forcing oneself to slow down and be methodical is not easy…at least for me. Patience also means you may be strong in one area but weak in another. Recognizing the weak areas whether it be ID, or graphics, or PM, or coding, or whatever area you think has value in the career pursuit you’re after is the hard part. Then it’s about being patient with yourself to get through it.
The 3D Tips and these Four P’s are not driven by any specific skill or model. Rather, just me doing my thing and what I’ve learned from the inside out. If you’re thinking about going freelance, try the part-time route first. You’ll learn a lot about the type of business services you want to provide and you’ll learn a lot more about yourself.
Comment below and tell me about what you’ve learned about your freelance journey. I’d love to hear!
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