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There once came a time in one freelancer's life where the services she was so passionate about at one time brought no joy. It felt almost like she was trudging through the motions on begrudging autopilot and dreaded getting up each day "for work." She didn't want to spend time sitting behind a computer and put off doing it for as long as possible.
She dreaded opening her inbox to see emails from clients, who all wanted something or other from her. It seemed like her list never ended and she couldn't seem to find a break.
She didn't want to be working anymore and felt stuck in a block of procrastination without going anywhere useful. She wanted to do something different. The seed of changing her freelancing business was planted. She started to look around at the options available to her. What was she already familiar with that she enjoyed doing?
She had an answer after a few days and a smile drifted across her face. Then a sudden question dawned on her that quelled her excitement about a welcome change. What about the clients she already had at this point? What will happen to them?
This is a very valid question that comes across many a freelancer's mind as they shift gears.
A revolutionary change
Who is this freelancer, you ask, and why should you care about her story?
Because the freelancer was me and this revelation happened to me only a couple months ago. Up to this point, I had been doing blogging for businesses in several different niches without real guidance.
I began to feel burned out in more ways than one and felt no desire to help the people I had been so excited to help only weeks earlier. My business was at a plateau I couldn't get past and I couldn't understand why for the longest time. Then I realized something revolutionary: I wasn't doing what I loved anymore.
I felt stagnant on the plateau and knew I was going nowhere due to some very deep-rooted resistance toward growing my business. Because of that, I fell out of love with what I was doing. I was at a cross-roads and knew I had a very difficult choice to make in regards to what I'd be doing with clients. When I saw the crossroads clearly for the first time, that's when I knew something had to give in my business.
I knew I had some changing to do within myself and within my business. I had to do something to fall in love with what I was doing for people. I needed to remind myself why I was in business as a freelancer in the first place. I had to look again at the driving force for my business as it stands now.
Because of that inner work, I knew my heart had already made the decision for me. I knew that the blogging and social media work I was doing for people wasn't going to be enough for me. I knew right then and there that I needed to go wider so I wasn't doing the same thing each day behind my computer.
How did I justify my decision to switch gears?
Why it's okay to shift your business
The answer to this question is simple: It is your business and your choice.
As a freelancer, you are a business owner at the mercy of no one but yourself. You chose to enter into business because you didn't want to answer to someone else, no matter who it was. You are working WITH clients instead of FOR them.
That is a huge difference and one we all struggle with as new freelancers. It is no one's decision but your own at the end of the day. There will be days where the inner battle is harder to deal with than others but there is also the idea that you are free to make decisions that will benefit you in the long run.
Take care of yourself
You need to take care of yourself first and foremost. The clients will come along with you as they come to realize they want to continue working with you. One thing I've learned over the past two years of freelancing is that the clients who do not see the value in what you do for them are not going to be a good match for you.
It's okay to let those clients go for your own sanity along with their own sanity. It's okay to change gears in your business if you feel like it is time to do so. I made the decision in my own business and I'm feeling better than ever about it these days!
In fact, I believe my business is better off because of the decision. When you make a decision to release the negative aspects of your business once and for all, the relief is so worth it for us all.
Lizzie Fourman is a freelance writer by day who specializes in the marketing, entrepreneurship, literary, and gaming industries. By night, she is a gamer who prefers games from the late 90s. You can find her portfolio on Contently. You can also email her at (email@example.com) if you’re interested in working together.