Reality of freelance life: There is only you to high-five you.
For the last few years, I’ve been freelancing. Being a freelancer isn’t all Starbucks coffee runs and working from your bed while you marathon TV shows on Netflix. When I tell people I work as a freelancer, I always cringe a bit, waiting for the inevitable comments and questions… That range from mild curiosity to things that make me want to Hulksmash. Here are some of the frequently asked questions and comments I get about freelancing — and my responses to them.
How do you actually get any work done?
It’s called the desire to not be homeless. Because if I didn’t meet deadlines and get work done, I wouldn’t be paid the pretty, pretty money that helps me pay the bills. It’s amazing how motivating that can be. Not to mention the fact that as a freelancer, so much of your job comes down to making awesome relationships with awesome clients so that they will hire you again and refer you to their friends. I’ve always worked hard to do my best work, but when you freelance, the pressure to be your best sky rockets. You learn to focus, buckle down and not only get the work done, but make sure it’s your best. Because there really aren’t any other options.
It must be nice to work from home!
Yes, it can be. It can also be the worst thing ever. There is very little home-work separation. I find it’s really hard to end my day, because my work life and personal life live in the same place. So yes, while I’m working, I can use my work breaks to do chores around the home, it also means that there is no home life-work life separation.
Be honest, you don’t actually work full days, do you?
I rarely work a traditional ‘full day’. Sometimes, I work sixteen hours a day, sometimes I work four. Freelancing gives me the opportunity to set my own work hours, to an extent. Sometimes, I don’t have the work volume that requires a full work week, sometimes, I feel like I need more hours in my day to meet deadlines. If you enjoy the chaos of having your schedule in constant flux… Hashtag freelance.
I’d love to not have to face my coworkers everyday– You’re lucky!
I find sometimes freelancing can be incredibly isolating. When I’m knee-deep in an assignment or contract, I don’t get out much. I don’t readily have people to brainstorm with or collaborate with. It can be lonely. That’s actually the one part of freelancing that has really surprised me– I actually miss the comraderie and energy of having coworkers.
How often do you turn coffee shops into your office?
That tends to be a personal choice. I have some freelance friends who work out of a cafe, diner or coffee shop a few days a week. I don’t do it that often, mostly because I have trouble focusing in that environment. I’m much more interested in the people around me, the music playing, that bird over there… I do find it useful when I’m meeting with clients or need some normal human interaction with people.
Being your own boss must be awesome!
Okay, yeah. Being your own boss is kinda awesome. It’s also a lot of pressure and pretty damn scary. As a freelancer, and as your own boss, you’re basically responsible for every aspect of your work and your job. Landing new work, scheduling, managing complaints or challenging clients, collecting on invoices, juggling the finances– it’s all on you! So yes, while it is pretty awesome to be in charge of it all, it’s also equal parts stress and pressure. The perfect balance, right?
Do you freelance? Or want to freelance? Have you worked with a freelancer before? Tell me about your experiences, I love hearing all about it.