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Op-Ed: Meet Lloyd George: The Freelancer Who Bet On Himself And Carved His Own Lane

May 11, 2022
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The late Nipsey Hustle once said: 

It’s about knowing that you’re gonna leave one day… and the only way you’re gonna be fulfilled is if you gave everything you had. And you emptied yourself here, and you left it all here ‘cause it’s temporary and you got a moment.” – Nipsey Hustle

I’ve always dreamed of working for myself and being my own boss — pretty normal for those of us born with the entrepreneur spirit — but to be honest I still sometimes can’t believe that it’s actually happening!

How The Entrepreneur Spirit Led Me Here

In 2006, I moved from Zimbabwe to the United States where I finished middle and high school, started working retail, and then job hopped for the next several years before landing my first big career position as a project manager where I doubled my salary.

This was incredibly inspiring for a kid with no degree. My new plan included gaining years of experience and moving up within the company.

Clearly, I didn’t know myself well enough. I ended up switching jobs several times over and stayed at each for an average of 10 months.

At the time, this felt embarrassing. I kept wondering what was wrong with me, “Why couldn’t I be consistent and just stay put?” I mean, that’s the “adult” thing to do, right?

Looking back I realized that I had been forcing myself to adhere to a set of external values that did not consider or make room for who I am, what my natural talents and skills are, and how I move and engage with the world. 

It was time to throw out the formula that society had prescribed — years of doing the same thing day after day — and create my own, one that started with honoring myself.

How The Great Resignation Among Black Professionals Is Providing More Opportunities 

In the aftermath of the white cultural awakening that followed the death of George Floyd, doors have opened for Black folx: for some, that means commanding better pay and benefits where they currently work or finding new jobs where there are more coworkers of color who share the same lived experiences.

My journey was ignited when my wife asked, “If you could be doing anything and still making the same amount of money, what would you be doing?” 

That simple question made me explore what I wanted to do and tap into my true passions. After close reflection, I craved autonomy and change

The new formula needed new ingredients, and it was starting to take shape. By putting myself first, and the values that I hold dear and that make me come alive, the road to becoming a freelancer had finally become clear.

Navigating Life As A Freelancer

Despite having all of this clarity, I still worried about what people would say once they found out I was *once again* leaving my job. 

However, were 3 things that really helped me through the transition:

  1. Don’t Tell Anyone
    Do not let the fear of what other people think adversely affect your decisions — quite frankly it’s none of their business. If you don’t want to update your LinkedIn or make a public service announcement to your friends and family, you don’t have to! If this gives you peace of mind then it’s worth doing. 
  2. Take It Day by Day
    You don’t have to figure everything out before you start. You just need to figure out the first few steps that will allow you to actually start doing work and making progress towards your goal. 
  3. Start Conducting Yourself Professionally
    For me, this meant getting business insurance (which is required for what I do), buying my own laptop, and so on and so forth. People only respect your hustle as much as you respect it.

I desire to live my life in a way that allows me to breathe, thrive, and experience life to its fullest extent. Working for other people, under their rules, and on their schedules was draining — it zapped the life force that makes me who I am. 

When I started honoring myself and working in a way that was cohesive with my values, I found that I could better serve others and give my all in each facet of my life from family and friendships to work and leisure. 

Life is meant to be lived, and for me, that meant becoming a freelancer. 

So, what does it mean for you?