Feast or famine. For many of us in the world of freelance and/or self-employment, that seems to be the way things roll.
Even with the most deliberate business planning, we often find ourselves either scrounging for projects or with more on our plate than we can handle. We never know when we might get a call or an email with an incredible new opportunity, and that’s a reality I both love and struggle with. Struggle with because I like to know…like to have control. And love because those calls and emails always do come, and often with opportunities that are even better than I could have drummed up in my head.
To combat the feast or famine, over the past year I’ve been focused on creating more opportunities for my own business so I’m not reliant on waiting for people to come to me. But the interesting thing is, since I’ve been doing that, more opportunities from the outside world have been cropping up. Projects I’ve pitched in the past few years and never landed suddenly have new life. Other areas of my business that I’ve been neglecting are suddenly exactly what clients are looking for. And so my own personal business plan for 2013 — the one where I outlined what I was going to create and where my income was going to come from — is already on its 3rd revision. And it’s only February. (And I’m totally cool with that.)
If you watched this Sunday’s Super Bowl, you saw how quickly and powerfully momentum can shift. As a Ravens fan, I was blown away by the power they showed in the first half and equally so to watch how quickly San Francisco took back control in the third quarter. The game was the perfect portrayal of the mantra, everything’s changing, all the time.
So the challenge then is, how can we come to peace with the changes in momentum in our own business and creative lives? How can we mentally stay in the game and maintain optimistic and energized about our passion projects when they haven’t yet connected in the outside world? How can we stay in a place of trust with our own feast or famine?
1. Keep creating. Instead of waiting for feedback or for the sale or deal, go back to the drawing board and work on what you want to create next.
2. Let go of the outcome. Our projects have a way of finding their own path, often when we least expect it and frequently in a way we didn’t necessarily intend.
3. Don’t panic. Don’t break your famine with fast food just because it’s the first meal that came along. Work on the projects that feel inspiring and/or connected to your passion or purpose.
4. Find support. Build your community with other creators who can relate to the feast or famine syndrome, and lean on them for gentle reminders and confidence boosts when you need them.
5. Be curious. Stay open to the possibilities of what’s next, even if you don’t know what it looks like or when it will happen.
6. Be grateful. Appreciate your successes and failures, big and small, for their role in your life. Be grateful for your unique POV and creative outlook.
7. Keep sharing. Your message is your gift to the world.