A little more than six months ago, I started down an amazing and incredible journey as a full-time freelancer. The first couple of weeks after I announced this big move, I was flooded with project inquiries, and job offers that I didn't know what to do really.
I knew that I needed a break from working for a company and that I wanted to work for myself for a couple of months, at least. I was so burned out from agency life and had come to the conclusion that it wasn't the type of lifestyle I wanted for myself. My future looked foggy, and I didn't know what to do.
It seemed like every day; another job offer was hitting my inboxes over email and social media. I was getting requests from friends, friends of friends, and even people I admired and looked up to for inspiration. My brain honestly felt like a complete pile of goo.
The good thing was that I knew who and what I was. I knew that I was an illustrator and designer. I knew that my skills were in real hot demand at that moment and that I needed to capitalize on it somehow, whether it was through landing some awesome projects or even an excellent job. I knew that I wanted to work as an Illustrator and not a designer anymore. I tried to focus on my number one passion.
Now that being said, I was seeing offers coming in for full-time illustrator positions, or ones that were primarily geared towards that passion. At the same time, I was landing my first retainer client, who gave my life a lot of stability and security as a freelancer. It was making things difficult for me to decide the course of my career.
Then came an almost incredible opportunity. The day before my 26th birthday, I received a Facebook message from a friend of mine I had made over the summer at ValioCon. This particular friend works for a company that I will not name but one that I have wanted to work for since college. He came to me saying that they were hiring for a position in their marketing team, and he thought I would be a great fit. I remember sitting there in my car, reading the message a few times, thinking about what he had just sent me.
I was thrilled and incredibly proud. Here was a guy who I look up to who works for a company I've dreamt about working for for the last four years. Most importantly, though, was the fact that he wanted me to work with them.
As I sat there, though, some thoughts came to me. I wanted so much to respond right then and there and be like "YES! Where do I apply?!?!," but I didn't. Instead, I thought about my current clients. I thought about how taking a new full-time job would cause me to have to cut back on my freelance and have to end my retainer partnership, which I loved. At that moment, I realized something. I realized that I could help more people, more clients, more users, if I chose to work for myself, then working at this company.
I thought about it this way. If I worked for this dream company, yes I would be delighted, I would feel accomplished, and I would feel proud that I was able to land a job there. But then I thought about the biggest downside to this choice. If I chose to work for them, then I would be primarily working for just them. I wouldn't be able to help as many startups and businesses grow their brands. I would be just helping the one. In a way, it felt kind of selfish to work for only one company (I know weird, right?), but I felt that way as I sat there thinking about all of this.
I realized that if I turned it down and chose to work for myself, I would be able to work for more startups and business, be able to help them grow, and increase their brand equity and I would probably have a lot more fun along the way.
Now I want to be clear though about one thing, I'm not saying that working for a startup or one singular company is a bad thing. No, not at all. I just felt like it wasn't the right decision for me, at least not now in my career.
The thing that I have come to realize is that in life, you will have dozens if not hundreds of job or career opportunities come to you. Sometimes (if not most times) they come to you when you aren't looking for them, other times they come when you are in extreme need. What you always should do is take a step back and think about your choice before you make it. That's what I did that day, and I believe that it was the right decision for myself, my family, and my clients (both present and future).