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  • Writer's pictureSusan Carr

It's a fine job for a squirrel...

Updated: Feb 1, 2023

Squirrels are not ants, and they prefer a solitary life. Tree squirrels choose to work and live alone. In severe cold spells, they will join with others to make a "scurry" and huddle together to keep warm. Outside of this, they do everything for themselves.

Bertrand is no different. He works best by himself. He likes his privacy and the protection of a solid, vinyl fence to prevent other squirrels from seeing where he buries his food. When other squirrels are around, I'm sure Bertrand's even "pretended" to bury a nut or seed to throw them off.

This is how Bertrand spends a good deal of his day--hanging onto the feeder. He climbs up the pole, grabs onto the edge of the feeder, hangs on with his back feet, and stuffs nuts and seeds into his cheek pouches.

Once he fills his cheeks, he scurries around the yard burying his food in different spots. Did you know? One squirrel can have over 100,000 places in one area they use for their stash and can remember 80% of the hidden locations.

Bertrand does all of this work alone. Every day, all day. And this works for a squirrel.

But not for a freelancer.

A typical day in the life of a freelancer is

  • working on projects alone

  • taking care of administrative needs

  • learning new skills or improving existing ones

  • talking marketing strategies with yourself (or a squirrel)

Most of the work is on your own, and many people choose to freelance, so they are in charge of their days and time.

But even freelancers need help and cannot endeavor such a massive undertaking without a support system.

Every freelancer needs these people:

Motivator/Butt-kicker -- Imposter Syndrome is a significant factor for those who freelance, especially for ones just starting. You need that one person who consistently reminds you that you have the abilities and experience to do this job well.

This person will give you "the look" even on a phone call and tell you you are competent and successful just because you show up each day.

Business planner/Head-knocker -- Many first-time freelancers go into this type of work thinking they can wing it and success will happen once they've completed a few jobs and get excellent reviews. Nope.

You need that one person who has already been there and can guide you through building Your brand. Someone who helps you build a business where strategic partners are seeking You out instead of you competing with 30-50 other freelancers for every single job.

This person will also knock you upside the head if you under-sell yourself or lower your rate one more time. "Stop doing that! Earn what you're worth!"

Encourager/Devil's advocate -- It doesn't seem like an encourager should be working alongside a devil, but they do well together. You need that one person who knows when you need a pick-me-up and when you need a mirror put in front of your face.

But this person can tell you in the gentle, kindest way to "get over yourself" and remember who you are. Stop believing what the negative voice in your head is saying, and remember why you do this type of work.

Helper/Relief pitcher – Freelance work is a solitary job, and so are many of those who choose it. Sometimes they are extreme in their solitude, especially women. They think they can carry the load for everything--the work, building the business, managing a house, meal planning, cooking, shopping, taking care of kids, pets, aging parents, finances, and so much more.

But they can't. You can't. You need that person in your corner who will recognize when you need help and offer it without you having to ask for it. So for a freelancer, especially an introverted one, asking for help is one of the hardest things to do.

We got into this business to be in charge of our daily lives and own our success. So we tend to think we have to do everything alone and feel guilty when we ask for help. So if you have that one person in your corner, who knows you well enough, they will be able to sense when you need help before you have to ask (or don't ask) for it.

This gesture of kindness and compassion prevents the freelancer from feeling guilt for asking for help and helps them not even have to think another second about trying to carry the load themselves. Someone's always in their corner, ready and willing to offer support.

When this happens, when the right people are in place to support the freelancer on the adventure of a lifetime (that frequently benefits everyone around them), the freelancer can find times of rest, knowing they don't have to be on this life-changing journey all alone.

Bertrand may be able to do what he does all on his own and be successful, but not me. I need the help of my support system. And when everything falls into place, I have times when my rest looks just like his.

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