The Ups and Downs of Freelancing

I gave this talk a couple of weeks ago at the Synergy Success Circle, a women’s networking group led by Christina Kunkle.


My name is Laura Dent, and I’m a Writer.  This group has helped me build the courage to claim that I am a writer.  Today I’m talking to you about the Ups and Downs of Freelancing.

First, I’d like to invite you to join me in a meditation, called the Calm Heart meditation, that I do every day in a 1000-day practice.  If that’s too weird for you, just put your hand on your heart and give a prayer or a moment of silence.  The feeling is:  “I pledge to keep a Calm Heart, even through this.

“A peaceful heart and an inspired mind” is my Core Value Offer, from Christina’s SOAR coaching program.  Peace and inspiration: this meditation has been very helpful to me through the ups and downs of freelancing.

 In Brief: 

The Ups:  It’s exhilarating!

The Downs:  It can be scary

What helps is:  Trust – that it’s all going to be OK.


I’ve been doing Technical Writing for many years.  Technical writing is creating the manuals, online help, and user interface text for software.  I was laid off from Rosetta Stone in June, and decided:  “I don’t want another job!”

My mantra has been:  “Find ways of working that sustain my life.”

Now I’m revising my mantra to:  “Create ways of working that sustain my life.”  It’s up to me to create what I want.

Or even – is the point really “working”?  How about:  “Create ways of living that sustain my life.”

Right away I joined this group, the Synergy Success Circle.   I got my first freelance job right here.  The first time I came to this meeting, I offered my writing services – and one woman said, “We need to talk!” We had coffee and next thing I knew I was editing her novel.

Also that first time, I won a certificate towards coaching with Christina.  When I met with Christina, I burst into tears!  “Oh thank God, you’re here!” I’ve learned a lot from Christina, and appreciate this  community you’ve created.

Freelancing – Ups:

Love it!  Exhilaration, even Joy.  Exploring my passions:  Writing, Spirituality, Music, Travel, Languages.

Most of all, the Buddhist concept of Right Livelihood.  When I was leading a meditation program, I put in a prayer for my Right Livelihood, and got the message: “This is it.  You’re doin’ it.”

I love being in the Learning Zone, a concept I learned from Christina (vs. Panic Zone or Comfort Zone).  For example, I just went to Startup Weekend and had a blast, in a weekend devoted to technical innovation.

On “Create ways of working” – I had a great discussion w/ Meghan Williamson (who’s here today).  She had a beautiful way of putting it:  “People want ways of creating value, and receiving value in return.  And the currency isn’t always money.”  What’s important is being of service, and offering value that people will appreciate.

Back in the fall, I started a project with a nonprofit organization in Afghanistan called Future Generations.

I’m also collaborating with my yoga teacher to create a book on yoga.  We barter my writing services for yoga classes and sessions.

As I was developing these freelance projects, I realized I also needed a way to pay the bills.  I needed a part-time technical writing job.  And as soon as I got clarity on what I needed, that’s what I manifested!


Can be scary!  Ups and downs – like a roller coaster.

Uncertainty – not knowing where the next job is coming from.

Focus – So many ideas, hard to manage; support and coaching helps.

Real challenges – clients who want it “yesterday”; keeping the pipeline going.

Costs – Health care, COBRA; this culture doesn’t support options for independents.  (Brief political rant:  I wish this country had a real health care system.)

Now that you’re your own “boss,” you need new skills and support.  So it’s good that you came to this circle today.

What Helps:

Trust – in God, in Universe, in your own resourcefulness, and your ability to find the support you need.

Another aspect of Trust, quoting Christina:  “People have to know you, like you, and trust you before they’ll invest in you.”  So, it’s in your best interest to be here and networking, building community and support for yourself and offering your services.


The Ups and Downs of Freelancing:

Ups:  doing what you love, following your passions.

Downs:  fear, uncertainty, unknown, real challenges.

What gets you through:  Trust – in God, Universe, in yourself, and in your support system.

All in all, I love freelancing, and wouldn’t go back!

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