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Reflecting on a year of full-time freelancing


katakatica
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While I could have titled this more clickbait-y - I feel like the post will still find its way through the - spam-swamp to those who care, so...

(also, the post is technically a bit more than a month late but... yeah! Only found the will/energy to write it after moving here haha. MIGHT update/post a few pictures of me lovely adventure in Poland/Sweden so far but I need to process the pictures...most of them have food on them, tho...)

Like many people, I lost (...gave up, on) my job last year. It was something that needed to be done - but I was too scared of the unknown to act for a long time. As much as I adore kids, I can't manage them full time (for peanuts, that is!) nor do I really want to. I've had my Fiverr account since 2017, but I admit the first few years on here were... messy for me. So much that I've had around 100 cancellations! Am I proud? No. 

But turns out, I was just gearing up for something bigger.

See - last summer while working full time I took on a few orders and realized that while I love writing - my prices were far too low. The issue with that was simple: I'd never even hit minimum wage in my country (which is...low.) if I sold for that price - no matter how much I  wrote. So... I started slowly raising my prices and expanding my services. Instead of focusing on what I thought people wanted, I focused on what I like writing- creepy stories, game writing, plots - and... somehow by December - I had it (somewhat) figured out. 

For an ex-aupair who worked 60 hours a week for 80 euros (a week, not per day), the first month I earned over $1000 was...unsettling in a different way. 

It was weird because I had a sort of 'now what' on my mind. It was a lot of money for me who was living at home at the time (and was clueless about the amount of work that was 'fair' for that amount. 

Last month, I finally doubled that - I earned just a little less than $2000 (although some of that work was started in September, but still!) and... I moved to Sweden to start working on my new dream as a game writer (I suppose narrative designer in training is what I should be called?) 

Now - I've lost the comfort of the 'cheap place to live at' so part of me feels like I'm back to the beginning but that's not quite true. I've been gradually raising my prices and... I am super close to reaching that magical $20k for TRS. (will I ever be a TRS? I don't know. BUT I will be qualified. Which is good enough :P)

But... there had been less than fun moments, too. Cancelling orders because people order the wrong thing, being dragged around by a customer for months thinking that I will be paid for my brainstorming (only to be called useless...) that one time a buyer downloaded the wrong file and thought I'd submitted only half of the work (was rather spooky!)...

But where am I going with all this? 

'Chase your dreams' is too sappy but 'do what you like' doesn't quite fit either. The only reason this year had been going so well for me is the fact that I started to understand what I like doing. What's something that comes easily and lets me be creative (but also something that people actually want/care about!) I won't say 'oooh everyone should go into game developement' because 1. don't, 2.  seriously, it's not 'such' an easy niche.... But... find something you care about. Don't just settle for things that work out okay for others - find something that works great for you 😄 

 

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7 minutes ago, zanardi2 said:

So... you're a game developer and part-time freelance writer?

Depends on how you define a developer. If you consider it an umbrella term for everyone who works on games (narrative designers included), yes. If you say it's only solo-devs/programmers, then technically no. I still earn all of my income with writing (but 90% of it is now game-writing instead of, well, other stuff.) 

(I'm hoping to take classes on programming at some point but that's still... in the future!)

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4 minutes ago, theratypist said:

I'm so happy for you Kat! I think you have a lot of travels in the foreseeable future! Keep making the digital nomad life, sexier! Haha.

Why thank you! I'm happy but still figuring stuff out 😄 Having a base different from home is a little scary as I barely know the area (let alone the language!) but Sweden is really cool 😄 Once I figure some dental treatment plans out, I'll be hitting Denmark for the Christmas market, so... can't wait haha 😄 
(that being said, I'm going coat-shopping in like an hour because I had no idea how cold the North would be!!)

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Thanks for sharing your story and being an island of interest in the sea of spam!

I admit that writing for games (rpgs specifically) was always a little dream of mine. In my non-Fiverr life, I'm a fantasy novelist and always enjoyed game lore. Even though that's not in the cards for me anymore, it's very neat to see someone doing it!

"the fact that I started to understand what I like doing." -- This right here is what a lot of people miss, I think. I agree that 'chase your dreams' often leads to ramen in a rented room (i.e. not a comfortable lifestyle). It's the understanding of what and how that matters. You got it.

 

Edited by melanielm
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5 hours ago, melanielm said:

"the fact that I started to understand what I like doing." -- This right here is what a lot of people miss, I think. I agree that 'chase your dreams' often leads to ramen in a rented room (i.e. not a comfortable lifestyle). It's the understanding of what and how that matters. You got it.

 

Thing is, ramen in a rented room while working in the creative field (for me personally) is worth so much more than lobster while being a teacher (..though... never really had the chance to afford lobster myself haha!) I strongly believe that everyone has a 'calling' and that whatever it is - they will be happier with it. But... it's also okay to try out new things - so if you ever have a chance to write that RPG, do it! Never too late 😛 (I am actually working on an RPG gig but hoping to start working on programming at least in RPG maker (which to be fair is very artsy for me haha) so yeah! 

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