with Mir Kamin
I'm a freelance writer and mother of two working from home, which theoretically means I can set my own schedule so as to best accommodate my family. In reality, "flexible hours" often equals "working too much." Yes, I'm my own boss; no, that doesn't mean life is easy. It's hard to leave the office when you live there. But I love what I do and feel very lucky. And not just because I get paid to work in my pajamas.
To learn more about Mir, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! or visit her blog at http://www.wouldashoulda.com/
I feel like I’m having the same conversation over and over again, lately. Everywhere I go, I’m being asked the same question.
During the Today Show interview, Janet asked if “anybody could do this.” During BlogHer Business, several people asked bout what happens when bloggers are in competition with each other. And in a conversation with someone yesterday—wherein I was giving my standard explanation of how I came to be a freelancer and how I write on this very topic—I was asked, “Oh, but don’t you want to keep your methods a secret, so that other people can’t take your clients?”
Maybe I’m naive, but I don’t understand this attitude that everyone else who does what I do is somehow standing between me and success.
First of all, so far it seems like there’s plenty of work to go around. I can’t possibly do it all myself; I’ve got plenty on my plate as it is. Only a complete narcissist would believe that others in her field are somehow obstructing her ability to land work.
Second, where others seem to see competition in fellow freelancers, I see (for the most part) an amazing extended network. Not only are some of my dearest friends freelancers—and they are, of course, the ones I turn to for ideas, commiseration, or just to talk shop as needed—remember that whole full plate thing…? Sometimes I’ve been too busy to take on another offered gig, and I’ve referred it over to a friend of mine. Sometimes a friend of mine has been too busy and has referred gig over to me. Networking amongst peers is just as important as networking amongst potential clients.
And finally, I guess I just believe a little competition is a healthy thing. Writers I admire make me want to be a better writer. Savvy freelancers with admirable business acumen inspire me to conduct my own career in better ways. I can’t be the only one who feels this way. I mean… can I? I have (I think) just enough confidence in my own abilities to both believe I can stand up to the competition and to recognize that I can still improve. Having a field of colleagues in which to practice is a gift, to me.
Okay, that sounded really sappy and lame. But I meant it. Which probably means I’m sappy and lame. But I’m sappy and lame and glad not to be an island. Geez, how boring life would be if I was the only one who does what I do. (Not to mention that then if I got hit by a bus or something, it would cause a rift in the space-time continuum….)
So what say you: Am I oversimplifying, or is “competition paranoia” an unnecessary mindset?
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