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What happens when the whole basis for your business – disappears…? You really have just two options: to close the business, or to take the plunge by embracing change.

If you’ve read my earlier piece – All change? – you’ll know what I’m talking about. In it I describe my first job with a company producing souvenir colourslides. And suddenly faced with the advent of video.

Before taking that job I’d spent 18 months as a freelance writer, creating articles for a single-volume encyclopaedia. (Another job that no longer exists…) I’d enjoyed the freelance life, I could see what was coming, and I’d started to build up a small portfolio of freelance work alongside my regular job.

It didn’t make me fun to be with, and I was definitely a workaholic, but as it turned out, it was the right decision…

‘I’m sorry, but…’

The day came when I was called into my boss’s office for a private meeting.

At which I was told they would have to let me go.

My reaction? Frankly, I had to work hard to suppress a smile. Because I’d already started embracing change.

A few weeks earlier I’d gone for an interview with Kodak, who were looking for a freelance scriptwriter. I’d got the job – somewhat to my own surprise. And the result? I walked out of my job one fine Friday with a substantial redundancy package. Spent a blissfully relaxed weekend. And set off, on Monday, to start researching my first script for Kodak.

Which – as it happened – involved interviewing the Master of the Queen’s Swans over an extremely alcoholic lunch. But that’s another story, of course.

After I’d sobered up, on the Tuesday, I still felt great. And decided I’d take Wednesday off to visit Ely – a place I’d always wanted to see. I also – slowly – began to realise that my ever-present IBS was… Well. No longer present. Amazing what a little stress reduction can do…

The freedom was wonderful – especially given that (once I have a brief) I’m often at my creative best when I’m working alone, in a comfortable and familiar environment, with my choice of music and my choice of working times. (If I want to work at 2.00 in the morning, fine. If I don’t want to work seven hours after that – also fine…)

But – again – that was just the beginning of the story. Because – if anything – freelancers are even more brutally exposed to the winds of change than people in employment.

The difference? Freelancers can decide for themselves how to respond.!

Read more…