Last March I bought a house. I and my lovely half visited it right before Christmas, for a solid 4.5 minutes, before deciding to bid for it. We won the bid and opened a gargantuan mortgage to purchase it. Then I lost my job.
Not entirely correct. It’s more like I dropped my job, I quit, but the job I should have started right after, with the promise of a higher salary, some juicy perks, and a new round of scaleup-style professionalization, never started. Corona-time!
The situation was so tragically unforeseeable I couldn’t even feel sorry for something specific. The company that was supposed to hire me was really having it rough because of the market they move in, one of the most badly hit by the pandemic. We decided to postpone the beginning of the contract to July, hoping for the situation to improve. Which obviously didn’t happen.
Going freelance 0.o
In the meantime, something interesting happened. I got my first client!
In March I had started collaborating with a small Dutch NGO as a designer, working on their brand identity. Truly, reading tons of literature about branding, and talking to real designers – friends of mine that probably are not friends of mine anymore, after all the questions I bothered them with – to try and fight the panic.
It was supposed to be a small gig, some hours to work on a logo, but then I told myself: Why wouldn’t I try and get deeper into this project, doing with them what they really need me for. So I drafted my first proposal, which was a pitch, in the end. It was horrible, it probably looked like a poem, written by a ten-year-old boy, would look to a literature teacher. But I got the job!
After that, I started getting other collaborations, enlarging my network, writing better poems – sometimes – and asking tons of questions to friends. I am now opening my freelance VAT account under the company name DelRosso Studio.
Cherry on top, I’m about to freelance with the company that couldn’t hire me in March. Incredible.
Freelancing is exhausting
I didn’t want to be a freelancer, really.
It sounded exhausting. All those clients, all those different calendars, all my organizational issues. All the Dutch I don’t speak while I am right in the center of Amsterdam. It sounded exhausting and it is exhausting. Nothing new for many, and I’m also a late-comer, I can hear all the freelancers in the world laughing about me while they read these lines.
I’m a performance-led person, excellent on stage and horrible during rehearsal – I run faster if people look at me, I’m not joking. So I am scared I will crash and burn under the pressure of these many jobs.
But it is also rewarding and, for now, really fun. DelRosso Studio is my baby, I work on my own website, I plan my business cards, I network over 1.5 meters beers, I read books and miss morning alarms. I don’t know for how long this will work, but I can definitely say I’m digging it.
Be your own intern
It’s tough for a person who scribbles notebooks instead of writing on them, or flips them upside down to start from the bottom for reasons that the next Monday are forgotten, to be his own boss. And I’m definitely not that.
I think I’m more my own intern.
I had some interns in my brief career, and I think I could divide them into two broad groups – not related to how good they are, let’s be clear.
There are interns you need to take care of, that are talented and hard-working – some, not all, that also needs to be clear – but that need to be pampered. Who doesn’t need some cuddles, after all? But they need them all. I am those interns. I need nice words and rewards, to function properly. I tell myself I’m good, I look at my own work and pose at the mirror with it.
Then there are interns that are machines, independent and fierce, sometimes sassy – N, if you’re reading this, you know I’m talking about you! – but in the end, they take care of you because they’re already more knowledgeable than their supervisors in many ways. I’m also that. I am hard with myself and with my performance. Sometimes I find out I know more than I myself would expect.
So I think I’m more my own intern than my own boss. And now I’ll bring myself some coffee.