Just This

Life in the Gig Economy

This week was crazy busy. Like, crazy. Cray, as the kids say these days.

I had a meeting and a work shift (more on that later) yesterday, and it wasn’t until 6p.m. that I realized my sweater had been on backwards. The whole day. Not only did I not notice, but apparently no one I was with did, either. Which…silver lining, I guess? Anyways, that’s how crazy busy my week has been. I can go a whole day with clothes on the wrong way and don’t notice.

But I digress.

The crazy busy week sort of came out of nowhere, and lest you start to think this is a lament about said crazy, let me assure you it is not. I love crazy busy. I thrive on crazy busy. I get things done when there’s a little crazy in the mix (not the dishes or my laundry, but you know, the stuff that matters).

I like to know there’s a light at the end of the crazy busy tunnel, but generally speaking, crazy busy and I do well together. As my very first boss always said, “Busy people get things done.”

And it’s a welcome state of affairs for someone who’s constantly on the hustle to make a living. I adore working for myself in many, many ways. The schedule flexibility; the limitless income potential (I can earn as much as I’m willing to work for, no salary cap in sight); the boss is pretty great, too. (See what I did there?)

After the Chicago International Film Festival last month, which kept me crazy busy with four films on my slate, I hit early November with a screeching halt. I’d spent so much time working on the projects at hand for the Festival that I hadn’t really been working on cultivating whatever might come next. Needless to say, I’m still getting the hang of this whole gig economy approach to making a living.

The respite was a welcome one, and I did a lot of sleeping and generally catching up on the life I’d neglected during the Festival. And then I looked at my bank account. Nothing lights a fire under a self-employed butt like an empty bank account!

I spent the next couple of weeks hitting the hustle hard, circling back to potential projects and interested contacts that I hadn’t been in touch with for a bit. I got back into coffee meetings and phone calls and part-time job searching (thank you for your magic, Chicago Artists Resource job board).

Fast forward to this week and…gulp. Remember all those million things you gamely told clients and contacts you could do for them? Yeah, they need all that done like, now. And all those side-hustles you looked into “just in case”? Yeah, those are all ready for you now, too. Remember that proposal you sent out in August? They’re ready to engage now! Remember those referrals you asked professional contacts to send your way? Boy, are they ever!

You get the idea.

What for a moment looked like a quiet end of the year has quickly ramped up to a whole slew of projects and planning and part-time gigs. I was recently brought on at Neighborly, a boutique just a few blocks from my place, for a few Sundays through the holidays that will earn me enough to pay a health insurance premium. I started doing script coverage for a studio a friend connected me to, earning some fun money for each screenplay I read and offer feedback on. I secured a client on a 90-day retainer with all kinds of digital marketing objectives between now and January. I’m submitting a proposal to rep a local Oscars fundraising event, and I’m waiting to hear from a filmmaker friend looking for some extra help on his small theatrical release in early 2018.

I have no idea how this hodge-podge of work will look on a tax return, but right now I don’t really care. Right now, I’m stoked to be able to keep as busy as I am. I’m encouraged by the response to the services I’m offering. I’m jazzed that I get to wake up every day and, for the most part, do work I want to be doing. I’m impressed with myself that that work is also able to pay my rent and bills. I’m determined to keep the momentum going and see where all this crazy busy can take me.