If your job ever got automated or outsourced, what would you do? 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 freelance textile designer 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.