What It’s Really Like To Be Freelance
I have been freelance for over two years now and I have learn’t a hell of a lot about myself in that time. It turns out, when it comes to working I am more of an introvert, so naturally this type of work suits me well. That doesn’t mean I am shy or lack confidence it just means I prefer to be in my own world with the freedom to get lost in my thoughts.
If you are thinking of going freelance then you should think carefully about whether it’s the right option for you. If you prefer being in an office with lots of people to talk to then you probably won’t enjoy working on your own at home. However, if you do think it will suit you then hooray, there are lots of wonderful perks awaiting you.
Here are some things everyone considering going freelance should know based on what I have learn’t.
You get easily distracted
It is extremely hard to stay focused when you work for yourself. When you have all your time to yourself to do what you want everything can seem more appealing than work. You end up making 10 cups of tea a day, taking the odd nap, going shopping or talking to your best friend on the phone for an hour. When these things happen I always feel guilty and end up working way longer than I need to to make up for it.
You can be flexible with your hours, but… you have to be disciplined
Just like office workers, you need to complete a certain amount of hour’s work per day. The difference is that you can choose when you want to complete them. You have to figure out your most productive times and stick to some sort of routine. I have a set number of articles I set out to write each day, so that I can guarantee I have earnt enough money.
You are on your own, a lot
Social people don’t usually enjoy being freelance because you are on your own most of the time. Sure you can book in a few meetings and networking events here and there but 90% of the time you work solo. This isn’t a problem for me as I am happy in my own company. I don’t really enjoy all the office politics and having to make an effort with co-workings you wouldn’t choose to be friends with. I am very social with all my close friends and love spending time with them, but when it comes to work I would rather fly solo.
Work tends to come in waves
This is perhaps one of the most frustrating things about being freelance. One minute you are praying for work to come in and running out of things to do and then next thing you know everyone wants a piece of you. You just have to make the most of the busy times and not panic in between because it always evens out.
People don’t understand when you are ‘working’
This is very annoying. Due to the fact that you are not out working 9 to 5 people think you are free, all the time. They will talk to you, distract you, call you up, expect you to meet for lunch or just take a day off because you can. Also, people automatically think you don’t work as hard as them because you have been at home or in a coffee shop all day.
Work doesn’t just fall into your lap
Sadly you can’t just launch a website and expect work to come flooding in. The first few months aren’t easy and you have to do a lot of networking/selling/contacting people. I had a few clients secured before I went freelance (I had three month’s notice to work out so it gave me time to prepare). You have to work hard for new business not just at the beginning but all the time, the selling never stops because being freelance work isn’t always secure.
You end up taking less time off
When you leave your job you imagine you will have lots of holidays and take sick days when you want. In reality it’s the opposite. You see, you don’t get paid for holiday when you are freelance, so the idea of actually taking any is terrifying. When you are sick you still have to earn a living, yes you can rest when you want but the work still needs to get done.
You have your bad days
You have really bad days where no matter how hard you try you can’t seem to get any work done. These are the days that you should put behind you. I always do my absolute best but it sometimes gets to the point where I am not going to produce anything decent so I wave my white flag and call it a day.
Doing your own tax is a pain, but it’s not as hard as you think
O.M.G I was super worried and almost put off going freelance because of this. Do my own tax return? The horror. Thankfully a lovely lady has helped me out and consequently keeping my records and doing my tax is a breeze.
You have to learn when to turn down work
Since being freelance I have experienced one or two nightmare clients. I have now become better at spotting these in the early stages and try to weed them out. They just aren’t worth your time. Don’t stress when people are rude or extremely difficult, just politely decline any further work.
You never seem to stop working
When you are freelance the clock never stops. I always have ideas about articles in my head and feel I should be doing more work. The more work you do the more money you earn so it’s tempting to work all the time, but you need to find a balance.
I don’t think I will ever give up my freedom again. I love being my own boss and every day I try to remind myself how lucky I am. I’m not sure if I would even be tempted away from being freelance by my dream job…we shall see. There is nothing better than waking up each day know you are control of your life and can choose exactly what to do.