For the first 25 years of my life I have always known my Dad to run his own business, at one point employing a large full-time staff. He was a freelance engineer (fire protection systems) and a damn good one at that, working on projects like The Department of Justice, The White House, and too many other cool projects to list.
My dad was the go to for a lot of large companies doing complicated work that demanded a high level of quality and clearance.
A few years ago he decided it was time to leave all that behind. Punch a clock and let someone else deal with everything. Show up, work, go home.
I think he thought that it would be less stressful, but in fact just opened a different dynamic of work place and its own stresses and nuances. My dad, like myself, started freelancing with very little corporate or agency experience. Just knowledge of how to do something and a drive to do it.
I have never worked at an agency and am completely self taught. To top it off I also dropped out of both high school and later college. I did extremely well in college, even won a few business plan competitions (80+ page business plan for a photography publishing & agency won me 10k once!).
The problem was that I was never engaged or excited. I think education is amazing and works great for some people. Others we just really need to break the rules and figure some shit out on our own.
I’ve never learned so much until I completely broke something by disobeying conventional and safe thinking. Often thats the best way to learn. Don’t be afraid to break the rules. And if you break them enough times will fail – then again if you don’t break them at all you may already be failing.
Freelancers, entrepreneurs, and anything remotely close are not built for safe bets or punching clocks with a timecard. We thrive on breaking the rules and doing things we’re told won’t or can’t work.
You just have to be hungry enough to want it.