If You Don't Hire Yourself, No One Will | Internetly Vol. 15
On not waiting for permission, the intense creative process, and why you shouldn't think of yourself as a "freelancer."
Last Friday I went to a girlfriend’s pop-up bar in Lower Manhattan. Many people in attendance were employees from Wunderkind, a SaaS company with two floors in the World Trade Center and nearly 80M in total funding.
Ironically enough, I interviewed for Wunderkind (formerly known as BounceX) back in September 2019...and was rejected.
Looking at my old journal entries from that time, it’s clear 22-year-old Alice was in a difficult place. Here’s an entry dated September 17th, 2019,
“As of now, I've applied to about 30 jobs, I'd say, a mix between fitness studios, bars, lounges, tech companies, sales and marketing roles, and music companies. It's hard.
I've only received about a few replies, and when it comes down to setting a date and time for the interview, a few of them don't even reply back. They've got me begging for the cool wave of reassurance from the rash of insecurity they've inadvertently created.”
Two years later, things couldn’t be different. I went from emails beginning with “Unfortunately, we will not be going further with your application…” to my inbox flourishing with exciting new inbound writing opportunities. People now ask me to work with them.
What changed within those two years? Simply put: I stopped waiting for someone to allow me to get to work.
Back then, I took the stack of rejections to heart. It reinforced my antiquated way of thinking that you must be hand-selected until you’re to be taken seriously.
Instead, anyone can develop a mindset where you think, “Nope. I’m not going to wait around.” You roll up your sleeves and hire yourself. You start learning from the internet, participating in cohort-based courses, sharing your work online, and building a social media profile.
For me, that meant publishing my ideas online, hiring a content writing coach, and studying freelancing. Once I began taking myself seriously, other people did, too. And the same goes for you.
Like my mom always says, “If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.”
And to that I’ll add, if you don’t hire yourself, no one will.
🖼 On Becoming a Prolific Creator
This Week: Intense Creative Bursts - Then Chill TF Out
Creatives work best in short bursts, when they’re unburdened by prior commitments or burned out by earlier ventures. Well-rested and mentally energized, they dive into mentally-taxing work and get lost in a flow state. And it’s fun.
But when you become a successful creative, you become a victim of your own success. Suddenly your free time is spent on Zoom calls, edits, and other obligations. All your time slots become “intense.”
As creatives, it’s important to recognize when we’re being overworked. The creative process is dead if we’re constantly stressed. It can’t flourish if your mind is an anxiety-ridden garden.
Remember to be protective about your downtime, even if it feels frivolous and unproductive. The truth is, it is only when our brains are free from stress can they do their real creative magic. It’s during this downtime we make subconscious connections, surface new ideas, and heal so we’re energized when it’s time to sprint again.
Creative growth happens in the downtime, so remember to chill out (guilt-free, of course). 🌈
🥒 Content Diet
Vitamins for the braaaains. 🧟♀️
How cool is this chart?
It shows us there is no secret formula to hitting creative breakthroughs. Great minds don’t think alike - or at least, don’t have the same routine.
And thank God for that - imagine if our creative peak only happened at 1 AM (like how it did for Honoré De Balzac). We’d become lunatics.
There’s no such thing as “the perfect schedule” in order to be a peak creative person. 🌷
A fantastic piece detailing the cultural, mental, and emotional cost of having free social media platforms. Because hey, if you’re not paying for it...you’re the product.
It’s well worth the five-minute read. Here’s a delicious little excerpt to convince you:
“For a while, it felt like we were getting a great deal. Social media giants gave us rekindled friendships, family photos, even the occasional uplifting story or useful insight.
But too much of what we’ve received has been toxic gruel, tube-fed (through aptly named “feeds”) by sophisticated algorithms designed to exploit our worst impulses and keep us agitated, excited, engaged.”
The ad-driven social media platforms may cost us nothing financially but tax us emotionally. The lower the price, the more we’re paying. 💸
✍🏼 Freelancing Journey
This Week: Don’t Be a Freelancer - Be a Consultant
I was listening to “Deep Dive in Freelancing with Jonathan Stark” when he said something that made me stop in my tracks.
Here’s a fun fact for you: the word “freelancer” was originally used to refer to a medieval mercenary who would fight for whichever nation or person paid them the most. Basically, a person who does work on one’s own terms.
This is not the correct mindset for a freelancer. If you’re becoming a freelancer because you just want to make your coin and peace out (and while I respect the hustle) you won’t get very far.
Why? Because if you’re in it for the financial incentives, there’s a good chance you’re not emotionally involved. You’re just there to provide a single service, whether it be copywriting, logo design, or a website. You’re waiting for the client to tell you what to do. You do the job, wait for payment, then adios.
If you want to scale the ranks and become reputable (AKA, never use crummy sites like Fiverr again) you need to be seen more than someone who offers a singular service. You need to be an expert.
And experts actually give a shit (excuse my language). Yes, they care about being properly compensated. But they also spend the time to get to really know the client and their needs. They develop a strategy for their client. A relationship. And the client walks away with so much more than just a website, for example.
You a newbie freelancer wondering how the hell you can make that happen? Here’s a tip: if a client offers you to sit in on a meeting with the team, say yes. Don’t worry about getting paid. You’re getting a chance to sit at the table, learn their strategy, and for people to see you as more than just someone who offers a singular service. Take the opportunity.
Want to become a successful freelancer? Stop thinking “freelance.” Start thinking “consultant.” 👩🏫
Thanks for reading!
I’ll be honest with you. I really didn’t want to write this week’s edition. I’ve been stressed beyond measure these past few days and squeezing in ‘Internetly’ felt preposterous.
But I’m proud to say we pushed through. So if there’s something you’re meaning to be consistent about, go do it. You’ll be happy you did.
If you liked this week’s edition, it would mean the world if you shared it with a pal!
Otherwise, have a wonderful week.