• Advice

9 feelings every new freelancer experiences

This is a post from a member of the Freelancers Union community. If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, your story, or some advice you think will help a fellow freelancer out, feel free to send your blog post to us here.

Leaving one job and starting another - even on our own accord - is listed as a Top 5 Stressful Situation.

The others? Death of a loved one, divorce, moving, and major illness.

All of these are pretty profound, and yet, most of us try to brush off our impending career change as something that's no big deal.

Our cavewomen brains HATE it when things change, and double hate it when we're the ones who are controlling it!

It's one thing to have to run from a bear that has just so happened to stumble across your tent in the woods, but it's another to call for the bear and ask it to come charging. AmIright?!

To soothe our inner cavewoman and inflict a bit less trauma on ourselves, here's what to expect when you change careers to become an entrepreneur:

1. There will be a moment where you have to jump

And, no matter how prepared or confident you are, it'll be damn scary.

I like to preach that quitting your job does not have to feel like jumping off a cliff.

Instead, it could be like walking directly on top of a safety net, and then eventually noticing that you're walking on your own, leaving the net is a few feet behind.

But no matter how many SNAP (Safety Net Action Plan) tasks you've crossed off or how much money you have in your savings account, giving your notice will make you feel like peeing your pants.

If it doesn't? Be worried.

2. You'll yearn for support from like-minded people.

Community. Community. Community.

You are probably going to want to seek out other entrepreneurs, locally and/or virtually, and have a hive you can go to for resources, recommendations, and help.

Join the Union (it's free!)

Become a member

3. You'll be waiting for someone to walk in the door and take you back to your old job

I expected this for months when I quit my Executive Assistant job.

I didn't even purge my closet of my business casual clothes for a few weeks because it didn't quite feel real!

People might ask if you feel like you're on vacation, and it will, in a sense - a working one!

4. You won't make as much money for the first few months (or year!) that you did at your last job

I don't care how long you side hustled - it's near impossible to match your salary right out of the gate.

Lower your expectations and realize that you're playing a long game here.

5. You'll pinch yourself! ...for years

It's been five years and change for me and I'm still shaking my head.

HOW is it possible that I can be the When I Grow Up Coach full-time, of all silly things?

And I'm making more money than I ever did at a "stable" job?

6. You'll gain trust and confidence in yourself

Even if your business doesn't work out, or if it winds up looking different than what you imagined, you will take away So Damn Much.

One of my clients said that starting a business led to more self-growth and clarity than anything else she's ever done.

Ain't that the truth! Never underestimate the act of doing.

7. You'll have to be a beginner all over again

And seriously? It's kind of the best.

8. You'll have to learn how you work best and then make the rules

This might be weird, especially for those of us who had never been in a managerial role before.

Even if you're working without outside help, you'll have to discover how you can best manage your time and projects, how you want to communicate to your clients, and what your boundaries are.

All I have to say is: Get comfortable with being uncomfortable!

9. You'll experience more work/life integration than you ever have before

A client of mine used this phrase the other day and I love it: work/life integration.

Working from myself took away the distinction I felt between my Executive Assistant "persona" and my wife/daughter/friend self.

Now, I'm just me. 24/7.

If you know you're staring down an impending career change, and are looking to be supported and get your questions answered by someone who's been there and helped hundreds do that, join me for my free webinar on September 17th at 7pm Eastern!

Your grown-up, passionate-based business awaits!

Michelle Ward, PCC, has been offering career guidance for creative women as The When I Grow Up Coach since 2008. You may have seen or heard her in New York Magazine, The Huffington Post,Etsy, Newsweek, Freelancers Union, the Forbes Top 100 Websites for your Career List or 100+ other media outlets. She's the co-author of The Declaration of You and the teacher of Create Your Dream Career and Ditch Your Day Job on CreativeLive. Discover what you wanna be when you grow up - and sign up for her free 3 Mindset Shifts for a Successful Career Change webinar - at

Michelle Ward Michelle Ward, CEO of 90 Day Business Launch, is a business coach who guides creative, multi-passionate women to become entrepreneurs.