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Once upon a time, there was a me.
It was October 2011. Cassie and I had just launched the Youngblood Sourcery website, and our first client requests began slipping into our inboxes.
Little did I know, the first few months of a business can be a bizarrely emotional time.
When you’re just starting out, every interaction is intensely nerve-wracking. Whenever I sent so much as a client email (let alone a draft), I’d stare at my screen for hours like:
When clients loved what I did, I felt fantastic…
But when they didn’t…
So I worked, listened, read, and learned with urgent velocity. I started to notice patterns, and understand my clients’ needs before they even knew what they wanted.
It got easier with time – as most things do. Word started to spread, and requests began trickling in more quickly.
Before YBS knew it, business was picking up. Our confidence grew, and we started pitching bigger and bigger clients.
(FYI: if you’ve never bid on a project before, it feels a little like serving a fine filet of your soul on a silver platter to a total stranger.)
When they responded positively, I was bullet-proof.
But when they didn’t…
Either way, my project roster began to fill up. That was wicked exciting.
I also had to adjust to the odd quirks of the freelance lifestyle.
A few examples:
During the race to the finish line in the last days before a launch, I’m drinking coffee like…
…until I feel like:
Dealing with inevitable writer’s block:
Listening to people tell me I don’t have a ‘real job’:
Working at a café to get out of the house… and forgetting there are witnesses to my chair dancing:
Finding increasingly innovative ways to procrastinate:
And discovering the weird things being a workaholic shut-in does to my brain:
But as time went on, I got tougher, better, and more disciplined.
For example, if I got a 911 client email a year ago, I’d stare at my screen with horror like:
But now it’s more like:
At last, it seems my reputation has begun to precede me… which feels fabulous.
And even though it turns my Monday morning inbox into something like this…
…it makes my heart feel like this:
So were the sleepless nights, the hours locked indoors, and the temporary descent into bona fide hermitude worth it?
Without a doubt.
Sometimes clients wonder how I do what I do. I just tell them: