Also known as… why freelancers need a Stark mentality.
I’ve recently gotten into watching Game of Thrones, after giving up waiting for the next book, and that Stark motto has really resonated with me.
Winter is coming.
When the show opens, you meet the Stark family and they are a group who clearly have it together. Being Wardens of the North mean they’re always aware the winter will hit them first, stay with them the longest and that their survival depends on how well they can prepare for it.
With that in mind, winter is coming is always on their minds.
Since winter is coming, portions of every harvest are saved and stockpiled. Warm clothing is always mended and prepared ahead of time. Their mindset is constantly set to survival.
As a freelancer, it’s important to do the same things. Stockpile some healthy buckets of savings that you can raid when “winter” hits. Set up several different streams of income so that even when one dries up, they don’t all dry up at once. Always keep you long term plans firmly in your mindset.
What I liked even more though was that this mentality didn’t make the Starks horrible people. Instead they were clearly a very loving family… with each other (we don’t need to get into how off the rails Arya goes) – this awareness allowed them to live the rest of their lives happily. I’d even say that the strength of character that comes from learning responsibility helped make Ned Stark into the intensely moral man he was.
If you’re going to strike out on your own or follow an unconventional career path, you have a responsibility to yourself (and to your country, so you don’t wind up on the dole) to make proper plans to support yourself. Lots of times, that means carefully stockpiling to make it through “winter.”
This stockpiling is particularly unpleasant when you’re first starting out – whether it’s as a recent college graduate starting their first emergency fund or a recent freelance convert who suddenly realizes a $1,000 emergency fund isn’t going to save them from winter anymore, it needs to be $5,000 or even more.
However, like every single Aesop’s fable, there comes a time when the hard work pays off, your savings goals are met, and you are set to weather a winter – even if one never comes.
And in the process of learning how to prepare for winter, you’ve developed a lot of useful skills: learning how to do without, maximizing your frugality, and how to hustle. Even when you don’t need them anyone, each of those skills is as valuable as a vault full of grains or salted meat in Winterfell.
Winter is coming. Are you prepared?