001: ASK / What I’ve learned about being a freelancer

For my first Random Act of Suzanne for 2024, I thought I’d do a little series on what I’ve learned about being self-employed. This year marks my 20th year of being self-employed, which coincides with when I moved to Austria, and I think I’ve learned a thing or two over the years.

I can’t pretend to know it all, but I can promise each episode in the series is something that I’ve  learned, that works for me, and that I believe in. Who knows? Perhaps they’ll be useful to someone else.  I’m calling the series – wait for it – “What I’ve learned about being a freelancer”. Creative, no?

Transcript (more or less)

What I’ve learned about being a freelancer #01: It never hurts to ask. Actually, it’s GREAT to ask!

Ask for what? Well, what do you want or need?

  • Ask for new connections
  • Ask for a meeting
  • Ask for input or ideas or suggestions
  • Ask if someone can share your brilliance or wisdom in their newsletter/podcast/talk
  • Ask if there are opportunities
  • Ask for the work (oh, how many times we forget to say that we WANT the work!)
  • Ask for constructive criticism
  • Ask for budget
  • Ask for help
  • Ask if YOU can help

What’s the WORST thing that can happen? People can say no. They can be too critical. They might stop talking to you. Oh well. And what’s the worst thing that can happen if you DON’T ask? You’ll never know if someone would have been willing to say yes.

What’s the BEST thing that can happen? People say yes. Or they say maybe, and explain why. They make the connection, give you the work, keep you in mind, or accept your help.

I find it much easier to ask if I can help, than to ask for help (I’m working on this!) but whenever I put myself out there, make myself vulnerable, and ask… Magic happens. And it happens with perfect strangers, as well as with people who I know and love.

And honestly, this isn’t a surprise. People ask me for stuff all the time, because I invite them to do so. As long as I have the capacity to help, and the request doesn’t jar with something that I value or believe in, I am only too happy to help. It’s such a gift to be able to give back: the life I have created for myself and the work that I do is only possible because of the many people who have said “yes” to me in the past.

When was the last time you asked, and it went well? What’s the best thing that’s happened to you when you’ve stepped up and asked? If there was one thing you could ask someone or a group of someones, what would it be?

And what’s holding you back?

What if you asked? And why not?

And that, dear reader, is the end of today’s Walk the Tortoise!