Sarah Wolfe doesn’t wonder what will happen because she’s experienced the effects of outsourcing and automation firsthand over her 20-year career as a textile designer.
She designs woven textiles used by restaurants, hotels and other businesses for curtains, furniture, etc. Everything she designs is now made abroad.
She always felt having a job would give her the most economic security. She never imagined working for herself, but she has now for the last several years as a freelancer.
She makes more money than she ever did as an employee and has come to realize that being a freelancer now offers more security than traditional employment, given the circumstances of today’s economy.
In our conversation, we touch on some important lessons including:
- Turning your passion into a career. How Sarah found a way to generate income from her passion.
- Mentors. How mentors shaped and guided Sarah’s career.
- How to become a freelancer.
I believe her secret for survival lies in her passion for textile design. She fell in love with it at the age of 14 and has always found a way to keep practicing her art. It has sustained her motivations as she has adapted to evolving economic realities.
Life Skills That Matter In This Episode
- Tell your story.
- Develop your creativity.
- Self-directed learning.
How Sarah Works and Thinks
- Wake up time: It varies.
- Ideal work environment: She works on a variety of work tasks, so that influences how she chooses to work. Generally, it’s a mix between focused quiet time and being socially collaborative.
- Definition of success: Happiness.
- Self-reflection practice: She goes to the gym or reflects as she’s walking to work.
- Superpower: Weaving.
- Purpose of her work: Survive in New York City doing what she loves because it’s such a part of her.
- 90-day goal: Managing a large influx of work from one of her clients.
” I think it’s very rare for someone to find their passion at 14 years old.”
“As a freelancer, I don’t always get to do the things I want to do. Sometimes you do things just for the money.”
“This year I’m making more money than I ever have and I have also been able to take quite a bit of vacation time.”
“It’s (weaving) just so part of me I don’t think if it as a purpose.”
If you are thinking about freelancing for the first time, Sarah offers the following advice:
1) Be sure you have a basic contract for each one of your clients to sign, so you clearly outline the scope of your responsibilities and to protect yourself from a legal perspective. Check out LegalZoom.
2) Make a habit of networking. It’s really half of your job. Sarah contacts at least 2 new potential clients each day.