Howdy Do It – Ellie Snow

Howdy Do It came from “how do you do It,” the question Ellie & Margot found themselves asking about their freelance lifestyles, and so Howdy Do It was born, a weekly column about the things we do to keep ourselves organized, inspired and on track. Ellie will be here each Monday, and Margot will be over on Mint at the same time.
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In a couple weeks, it will have been six months since my last full time, salaried job. If I’m feeling brave, I can say I’ve been self employed for six months. But in all honesty, the last six months have been an emotional roller coaster. The first few months I was completely overwhelmed with all the “should do” things on my list. I made the mistake of starting to read a couple business books right off the bat, which made me feel frozen with the long list of things they said I need to do in order to be successful. A few months in I put the books down, and started focusing on the “must do” lists instead. Life became a whole lot less stressful. But in the past few months, my stresses have come from other places. Although I’ve got lots of great clients, all of whom feel like good fits for me (something I wasn’t used to when I worked for a firm), I want more. Although I love not having a boss or coworkers, I miss having people in the same room to vent with, brainstorm with, and take a coffee break with. Although I feel like all of my projects are going really well, I want to do better.

A few weeks ago, all this culminated into a total lack of motivation, which has been the hardest hurdle for me yet. I keep wondering, “if I’m really doing what I love, why aren’t I working harder? longer?” The truth is, I’ve come to a point with my business where I’m going to have to do things that are really hard for me and… well, hello procrastination. Networking, for one. Spending some money on advertising, and maybe even renting a studio space to garner some of the montly art walk traffic and get out of the house (eek! lease!). Loosening my vice grip on my blog.


I think I’ve moved past the frozen/lack of motivation feeling. For now. It took me leaving my house, notebook in hand, and doing a few hours of brainstorming. A friend suggested I do some journaling, which I didn’t, but that probably would have helped too. The most helpful thing was making a list of all the things I love about my new job. Then, I made a list of all the big picture to-do items, like researching advertising options, meeting with a friend of a friend who has lots of wedding world connections, finding someone to help me with Mint, and talking to some local shops about my work—all things that will help me reach my big picture goals, and got me excited again about what I’m doing. I also took a good hard look at how much things have grown and changed over the past year, and gave myself a much needed pat on the back. It’s hard to remember to do that, sometimes!

images by pope saint victor, a nice and generous guy with a good sense of humor.

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We touched on this last week but in case you missed it—Ellie and I have set up a Howdy Do It formspring account so that you can ask us questions (anonymously or not) and we’ll answer them as best we can. Originally we thought we’d answer questions in our posts, but a week can be a long time to wait, and it kind of defeats the conversation atmosphere formspring allows. So, hop on over and ask away!”



This post really resonated with me today; I’m facing that year of growing pains in my business as well…doing some of the things that don’t naturally come easy. A bit of reflection always brings renewed passion. Good luck this year!


I’m so glad you and Mint write posts about your experiences as freelancers (independent contractors). I’ve been at this for a little less time than you and it is so good to read about other people going through the same things as me. Kudos!


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