March 2021 recap - my first month as a freelancer

April 1, 2021

The third month of the year 2021 is over. My first month as a freelancer. An important month for personal growth. Here's a recap.

What happened

The biggest change for me this month was to start into self employment. Since the first of March I'm officially a registered freelancer in Germany. I did the necessary registrations in late February already so I could have a direct start after my studies ended.

The most of my time in March I spent researching and planning. I wrote invoices, proposals, descriptions of what I offer, set prices for my services and thought about how my public appearance should look like.

I started using Twitter on a regular basis, posting tweets every day during the work. Sharing what I did, what I struggle with and thoughts along the way of starting as a freelancer. I made new connections, new friends, helped others and was helped. It was a wonderful start and I'm happy that I chose to share my journey with like-minded people.

In late March, I reconnected with a friend I haven't talked to for months and who I haven't seen in years. This certainly was the best decision I've made in a long time. Not only was (and is) he a huge help as he has owned a small business for years and has tons of advice on how to go about freelancing, but he also has a very similar personality to mine. I enjoy talking to him a lot. It's something different to have someone who understands in a way not many do.

What changed my mindset completely was starting to read Atomic Habits. In a matter of days had I transformed my daily life with new habits and a new structure. I really felt like my life changed in a way. It was not short after implementing changes that I realized I exaggerated by taking on too many habits, too many daily tasks. I was able to fix it with help of my sister, who I spent two lazy days with. As she has a quite opposing personality to me in some ways such as being able to do nothing all day while I can't go without being productive, her insights showed me a way out.

With the changes I implemented in my life after reading Atomic Habits, I decided to read more. I bought a Kindle (which is to arrive in mid April) to decrease friction. While exploring my identity and who I want to be, I realized that I want to write more. I love writing, and I want to become a writer. This is why I dedicated myself to writing daily essays and publish them on this blog you're at right now.

What I learned

As it was my first month as a freelancer, of course I learned a lot about running a business, legal requirements and so on. I feel like I've grown wiser with every day.

Personally, a lot happened as well. With Atomic Habits, my daily life changed to the better, than the worse, than the better again. I once again realized that focus and simplicity are the two most important values in my life, and that they are necessary for me to be happy.

I learned how valuable people are. How social connections have the ability to enrich my life, to bring me happiness. I connected with a lot of people, both online and offline, the most in months, maybe even years. It was an outstanding month for my social connectivity.

As a person who doesn't want to be a burden to anyone but rather help others, it's hard for me to accept help. This month I was helped in a lot of ways, and it felt good. It felt relieving. It's okay to be helped at times, it's okay to not do everything on your own.

No matter how hard I want to, I can't focus on multiple things at once. Having too many tasks, too many goals, too many projects at a time makes me feel overwhelmed almost immediately. The key to sleeping well and being able to relax for me is to focus on a few things at a time and do them with all dedication I have.

I love writing. I love expressing myself and my thoughts in written words, and I have been doing it for years. During my toughest times when I was younger, I kept a journal and I'm keeping one since almost exactly a year from now again. While I'm writing something short every day since August of last year, I never extended it so something bigger. This is my seventh essay I'm writing and I enjoy it so much that I don't even have to force myself into writing every day. It comes natural. Because it's part of my identity.

I could go on forever outlining what I've learned regarding personal growth this month. Let me just say it was an important 31 days, and I evolved a lot.

Where I'm heading

For April, I have big plans. Not in form of an endless list of goals as I used to have - I learned from my mistakes - but in form of growth. Systems. With small, but constant steps.

  • I will publish my personal website showcasing my services as a freelance web developer.
  • I will figure out the legal stuff with my freelance business.
  • I will start my first client project.
  • I will become an avid reader.
  • I will write a lot of essays.
  • I will focus on one big or a maximum of three small tasks each day.
  • I will engage socially, online and offline.
  • I will find enjoyment in editing photos again.
  • I will do more of what makes me happy, without fearing judgment.
  • I will take my time with everything I'm doing.

If I learned one thing from Atomic Habits, it's that it's more important to focus on the systems, on the process, instead of the end goal. And this is what I'm aiming at this month.

Appreciating the journey. Building systems and mindsets. Finding happiness in the journey.

Of course I still have the end goal of running a successful freelance business, of getting clients and getting paid, but to be successful with that, it takes small steps.

The next month is all about finding happiness in the process. In the journey.

ジャーニー (Jānī) is Japanese for journey.