Big changes are coming around here! Starting in January I’ll be working full time as a designer at HackerYou, and I couldn’t be more excited.
What does this mean for my freelance biz? Well I’m spending December finishing up a few projects, tying up loose ends, and essentially putting my biz on hibernation mode. I’ll still be working on a few select jobs here and there when the right client and project comes along, but for the most part I’ll be taking a break from freelance work for the foreseeable future.
I also won’t be writing new blog content, promoting my courses or selling my shop items, so that I can focus on my new job! I’ll also be archiving my DIY Designers Facebook community since I will no longer have time to maintain the group. But, my existing blog content will still be available here for you to read, and I will try to answer comments and questions as I have the time! I don’t know if I’ll ever be back from this ‘break’ but I’ve chosen to leave my blog up and running so that people can still access my content, and if I ever do decide to dive into freelancing again, I’ll still have my site up and running here.
I’ve been freelancing full time for just over two years now, and I’ve learned a lot. I now know how to code and design, how to run a business, how to work with clients, how to manage my finances, how to prioritize and stay productive, how to deal with stress, and much more. And I wouldn’t change a thing about it. Running your own business is something that I think everyone should do at least once in their life, because it teaches you so much about yourself.
I’ve loved freelancing, and when I first started I used to say that I would never go back to full time work. When they hear the word freelance, most people imagine the dream job, where you do what you want all day and you’re your own boss. And sometimes, that’s true. Waking up when you want, managing your own schedule, choosing your own projects, going to yoga at noon, and being able to spend a weekday recharging with Netflix when you need it is the dream. And I’ve spent two years doing all of that, and loving it.
But, there is another side to freelancing that people don’t see. There are days filled with stress wondering where the next project or client will come from. There are days when you work for 16 hours because you have to get something done and there’s no one else to help. When you forget to eat lunch because you’re so engrossed in what you’re doing. When you don’t get dressed and just roll over to your desk in your pyjamas. There are days when you don’t have anywhere to go so you leave the house just to go for a walk and remember what the sun feels like. When the first time you speak is at 7pm when your roommate gets home from work. There are months when you get paid a tonne and then other months when you don’t get paid at all.
The past two years has been a mix of all of these highs and lows. And though I loved it, I slowly started to realize over the past few months, that despite it being what I thought I wanted, it wasn’t making me truly happy anymore. The truth is that what you think makes you happy and what really makes you happy are often two different things.
I dreamed about having a place to go everyday where I could be part of a team, work on something bigger than myself and my own business, and help others learn and start to love code like I did. So, I started mentoring and teaching with Ladies Learning Code in the HackerYou space. I loved it and knew that this was exactly the kind of community I wanted to be a part of. At the same time, I started browsing job postings online to see if anything caught my eye, but I knew I couldn’t give up my freelance lifestyle for just any old office job.
I’m a big believer in things happening for a reason, and the universe sending things your way when it’s the right time. So, when I came across a HackerYou job posting that had been posted in July, and postponed until 2018, I had a little twinge of excitement that this could be what I was waiting for. I was hesitant to apply because it would mean a change in almost every aspect of my life, and putting yourself out there is scary, especially after not being on a job interview for 10 years (my last job interview was at a grocery store when I was 14. I worked there for 8 years and have been freelancing since). But, I knew it was what I really wanted so I decided to take the chance. Suddenly, all within one week I’d applied, gone in for an interview, completed a design challenge, and been offered the job. And of course I accepted! Now I have the next few weeks to scale back my freelance work, and get ready to dive in this January.
Last night I went to the demo night of cohort16 at HackerYou. This is a night of celebration where the latest group of HackerYou bootcamp graduates present their final projects and share what they’ve loved about HackerYou. I got to meet the team, hear from the past grads, see the work they’re proud of, and get my first glance behind the scenes. It was such a great preview and makes me so excited to get started in January and be an official member of the team. This job will be an amazing mix of everything I love. Design and mentorship and teaching and learning and coding and innovation and community, and it’s really shifted my perspective of what a dream job looks like.
Though getting a new job might seem like just a little thing, all entrepreneurs know that freelancing or running your own business occupies about 95% of your time, so for me a new job means a LOT of things are changing. Basically, the way I currently live my whole life is going to be different, no big deal right! So, who knows if I’ll find my way back to full time freelance a few years down the road, but starting in January HackerYou is my new home and I can’t wait to get started!