“The Free(lance) Life, First Six Months” By Zaar Taha, Minneapolis-based Freelance Copywriter/Creative Director

By the minneapolis egotist / /

Since my last post earlier this summer, I’d gotten busy. Real busy. So busy that I actually had to say ‘no’ a couple times. And if you know me at all, you know I don’t ever like doing that. It’s just not in my DNA, or if it is, it refuses to play nice with the other strands. So if I do say ‘no’ to a request, know I’m simply not physically able to do it, I haven’t the slightest idea how to do it, or that my wife says I’m not allowed to do it.

The past three months were incredibly productive, possibly placing a dangerous sheen of overconfidence over my vision. The majority of my projects came via four local agencies as well as four direct clients – most of the work was fast and furious, right in my wheelhouse. I was brought on to tackle projects for great big brands and exciting startups. It felt really good to be needed, trusted and appreciated. Oh, and being rewarded for my efforts – that felt really good, too. In fact, beyond saving for the many rainy days sure to come, my wife and I recently put in that new fence she’d been wanting since we first moved into our home three years ago. I finally purchased a MacBook of my own, as I’d been perfectly content using an agency computer the past twenty years. And we just took a quick jaunt to New England over the Labor Day break to see the whales and eat the lobster.

Then, just before the flight home from Logan International, I peeked at my calendar for the upcoming week. Empty.

Yes, I’ve been learning about and bracing for the ups and downs of the freelance life, but no matter how much I prepare, I’m just not good at empty. So rather than wait around for someone to call or email with a unicorn project, I’ve been back on the couch, on my laptop, doing outreach, reminding people that I’m still here, ready to not say ‘no’.

On the brightside, the downtime has given me a chance to catch up on other important (albeit non-billable) things. Like meeting with a new accountant who’ll help me actually make this self-employment thing more official. Like setting up my LLC, a new business account and applying for a business credit card so I can keep on earning all those glorious SkyMiles my wife cherishes so. And even though I failed to earn a dime this week, there’s been great value in having time to clean up around the house, mow the lawn, visit my folks, and of course, to finally get around to writing this.


  1. John J September 7, 2018

    Zaar, glad to hear it’s going well! Once you become comfortable with not knowing what the next months or weeks will bring, but confident that the work will be there, the freelance life is incredibly rewarding and an absolute joy. I’m jealous – but don’t tell my wife that.

  2. Brian Crawford September 8, 2018

    I work as manufacturers representative for 10 years. Exciting step in your life. A word of advice listen to your accountant. That my friend was worth one week of billable hours. Good luck!

  3. Zaar September 10, 2018

    John, thank you, but your wife knows you better than yourself. That said, I’ve already tweeted at her and she’s not amused.

    Brian, thank you. And for what I’ll be paying my accountant, you’d better believe I’m listening to every word.

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