5 things to consider before going freelance

Going freelance has its perks: you can work in the middle of the night, take more than 2 weeks vacation, and hang out with your cat all day. About a year ago, I quit my comfortable nonprofit job (with stellar benefits) to pursue my web development dreams. Here are 5 pieces of advice I’d give anyone else looking to strike out on their own.

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Bringing restorative practices training to the masses

Though I’ve only worked in the education field for a few years, I’ve come to learn that young people have a very strong sense of justice, and they know when something’s not right. I’ve embraced Restorative Practices (RP) countless times in my work, and as an AmeriCorps Promise Fellow Leader with the Minnesota Alliance With Youth, I had numerous Promise Fellows reach out to me for RP training resources. They wanted to learn more and get some quality training they could somehow apply in their youth work.main.jpg

The more and more I searched, however, the more frustrated I became. In Minnesota, there were only a few major trainings happening the entire year, all beyond the budgets and time commitments of most of our youth workers. I wanted so badly to offer resources. I did my best, but I couldn’t deny a sinking feeling that I was letting my fellow Fellows down.

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Care about equity? Then let's talk about salary!

main.jpgFrom Ellen Pompeo to Mo’Nique, pay equity is big news right now. I have been following this topic avidly as a young professional who is still learning to believe in her worth and fighting to be paid accordingly. I have had some of these conversations about worth with one of the women I most admire, Jamie Millard. Forever ahead of the curve, Millard  touched on this very same topic in breaking the silence in nonprofit salaries back in 2012. Even now in 2018, the men and women of Hollywood are creating a spreadsheet basically identical to that which Millard  crowdsourced for us YNPs. Because the topic remains fresh, here’s the most recent edition of the Minnesota Nonprofit Salary and Benefits Survey, which has also helped me put my salary and skills in context.

Still, of all the stories of women fighting to receive their worth, the one that most sticks with me is the solidarity of Jessica Chastain and Octavia Spencer. As Chastain  explained on her Twitter: “[Octavia] had been underpaid for so long. When I discovered that, I realized that I could tie her deal to mine to bring up her quote. Men should start doing this with their female costars.”

In the social media circles I frequent, Chastain’s actions were praised as a brilliant show of allyship, solidarity, and feminism in action. She found something concrete to do with her privilege and took action. I have benefitted from similar help here and there, but I would like to see more of this kind of solidarity in the nonprofit world.

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Cataloguing my battle scars

main.jpgI was getting texts from a married dude in the middle of the night, and not surprisingly, I didn’t even think of going to HR.

I worked for a museum at the time, and the Twin Cities were hosting the major conference for our industry. It was my first full-time professional job, and my museum was hosting an evening event for the conference. During the course of the conference, I met a bunch of people and invited them to our event to be friendly and welcoming. I even gave out my cell number so people could connect and get directions or more information. It didn’t even occur to me that someone would abuse that.

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Collaborating with the enemy

I recmain.jpgently left a job where I got in a lot of arguments. I argued with coworkers over projects we were working on. I argued with myboss over the direction of the organization. I participated in heated arguments with the whole team about our strategy, processes, branding, and messaging. Sometimes the arguments ended with laughter and decisions on how to move forward, and other times they ended with everyone frustrated.

My time there reinforced the fact that collaboration is far easier said than done. People assume that collaboration — or strategy of any kind — means laying out on a plan, and then enacting that plan step-by-step. That kind of agreement is rarely possible, though. Collaborating with diverse groups of people on complex issues requires giving up certainty and control.

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Life's balancing act: When personal and professional lives intersect

Being a mom has emphasized my desire to have the career I want.


I want a career that is fulfilling, challenging, worthwhile andflexible. I am equal parts motivated to be my best self for my child and to go after what I want. I have a sense of urgency to find what I truly desire more than ever. Let’s just say I had a bad case of “mom guilt” when I came back from maternity leave. I felt crushed that I was spending so much time at work and leaving my child with another person all day. I felt I was going to miss all the big moments and he would surely grow up to resent me.

Then, I shifted my thinking.

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Going forward with purpose: our new strategic plan

While 2017 brought activities and events to the YNPN-TC calendar as usual, a quieter but no less important process took place behind the scenes: strategic planning.

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Too little can feel like too much

I was hoping we could talk abundance. Living abundantly, thinking abundantly, creating abundantly. But I’m finding that we can’t get there if we don’t first address scarcity.


Truthfully, in my searching there’s just not a whole lot of reference material about abundance that isn’t an afterthought to scarcity (do a google - you’ll find an abundance of scarcity). So I’m here to add my writing to the pile, because it seems that’s just where we’re at right now. In one job I had I worked semi-remotely, connecting to my co-workers all over the country daily over Gchat or Skype. I thought it was awesome. Sending emojis, gifs, or just simple hello’s were all great ways to connect…

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New Year’s Resolutions: From One Young Professional to Another

Working in the nonprofit industry can be an incredibly rewarding experience but, like any job, it can also be incredibly draining. So, with that in mind, I’m committing in 2018 to focusing on my personal health and wellness as well as my professional development and success. And I am, of course, doing this in the most cliche way possible: a list of New Year’s Resolutions which I would like to share with you.


Read more the way we do taxes: How the new tax bill influences the nonprofit sector

Changes are coming our way. The new tax bill influences charitable giving on a fundamental level, which will change the way that we, nonprofit professionals, approach our work. Bear with me - the beginning of this post may seem boring, but it’s important to understand the basics before you can fully comprehend how the new tax plan influences the nonprofit sector.


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Our mission, vision and values guide all that we do at the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of the Twin Cities (YNPN-TC).

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