Let me tell you a little story, about what happened to me over the past 12 months.
About a year ago, I was sitting on our couch at night, alone. Crying. I started freelance work in mid 2013. I’m not sure if I was ready for it then and it kind of got the better of me. By the end of the year, I was exhausted, stressed, unsure. I hit rock bottom. I spent my nights worrying what would happen the next day and whether I could make ends meet at the end of the month. I was so close to giving up. I’m sure that negative emotion was clearly there in my ‘end of the year‘ post 12 months ago. It got the better of me.
I didn’t want to give up and I had learned in the past that letting negative energy get the better of you only made it worse. I made myself a promise that I would take on 2014 with everything I got. I had to ‘be awake‘ if I wanted to turn this around.
I took on every project I could get my hands on. I gave workshops, created a door-simulator, I did 3D motion graphics work (and got screwed over). I did anything that would get me closer to a new client. Whatever I would get myself into. I believe that hard work eventually takes you where you want to go. So I paid my dues. Then in February, Sam De Decker approached me for a small project. Little did I know that it would lead to a great partnership with Metropoly that would last for the better part of a year.
It was an almost-fulltime position. It took a bit of the pressure off and allowed me to focus on my work and do the best I could do. It was the first time since I started my freelance career, that I felt things were going in the right direction. I would work on good-looking projects, would improve my skills and would even get to a point where I felt like I was completely on top of my game. I felt that after almost a year of freelancing, things were finally okay.
Near the end of the year something strange started happening. I started getting more freelance work. And then some more. And then some.
In mid-November I left Metropoly to pursue my own client work. And then yet more work came in. And then I got another call from a guy named Daan. Daan works at a recruiting office that places freelance consultants at large corporations. He had been calling me on the phone for at least 2 months. He would call in every few weeks to check out what I was up to. So when he called me at the end of November, we talked. And a few days later, on the 9th of December, he called me to tell me I had won a large contract. The kind a freelancer really wants to get.
Starting in January, I’ll fill a fulltime position at De Persgroep where I’ll be doing frontend development for one of the most popular news-sites in Belgium. This is an incredible deal for me in so many ways. But most importantly, it’s the perfect way to end 2014. After the disaster that was 2013, I now find myself in a place where I feel like the weight of the world has been lifted off my shoulders. When that phonecall came through during that late December evening, I felt like I finally achieved what I set out to do 18 months earlier. It was the first night I managed to fall asleep peacefully in 18 months. And it felt good.
Long story short: 2014 was a year where so many change happened. So many decisions to make. So much doubt to endure.
But in the end, it paid off. And it was worth it.
So if there’s any good advice to take away from this, it’s this: Make sure your heart is in it all the way. Commit to whatever it is you want to do. Fight hard. Be relentless. Be stubborn and don’t settle. It might be hard and painful at times but when the day comes, you’ll be happy you did it.