A LOT! From the outside, being a freelancer may seem super easy:
- you get up when you want
- you do what you like and when you like it
- you choose whom you work with
- you travel a lot (if you want and because you can!)
- you are always smiling; stress-free…
Well, the latter pretty much depends on your line of work but generally speaking, being a freelancer also means way lower stress level than the average 9-to-5 employee. All of this and I really mean ALL of this is absolutely true – but it also has its price.
Being a freelancer = self discipline + good planning + superb time management
Let me repeat that – self discipline, good planning and superb time management are crucial for the success of the freelancer.
You (a.k.a. the freelancer) are both the boss and the employee. You give the orders and you follow them. There is no one else to blame for a delay (if there happens to be one). There is no boss to pass the responsibility or the decision making. You wear all the hats and you are the one your client looks at with gratitude for the successful project… ehm, or with disappointment for the huge failure their project turned out to be.
Being a freelancer also equals determination, persistence and patience
You need determination so that you send out 20 cover letters in 1 day, all of them perfect – especially if you are just starting as a freelancer.
You need persistence to send out 20 more cover letters tomorrow, again – all of them perfect 😉
And finally, you need patience because the project manager whose project we have liked so much and for which we think we are so so so suitable – well, that project manager always has something more important to do than reading cover letters and getting in touch with us for the job.
Being a freelancer also means having principles and sticking with them, no matter what.
If you remember, I have already blogged about my work principles as a freelancer. Those are so important to me though, that I cannot restrain myself from mentioning them again.
If you compromise with yourself once, there will be a second, a third, and a next time. Being a freelancer is about having character – both professionally and personally. Your clients will respect you and will seek you services because of your character and principles; not because you are always available and certainly not because of your low price.
So, is being a freelancer hard?
You’re damn right it’s hard. But hey, I don’t think there’s anything good in life that’s easy. 😉
On the bright side – as a freelancer, I know what I am doing and why I am doing it. As a freelancer I can choose my clients and projects. I work only on projects I like and I have fun with; I also work only with people I respect, who I feel good to communicate with, oh and did I mention – people it’s fun working with? 😀
Being a freelancer is super hard sometimes – but I gotta tell you, it’s worth it 100%!
Susan Cooper/findingourwaynow.com says
Not everyone is suited for the lifestyle of an independent business person or freelancer. The reason is, it takes a tremendous amount of fortitude along with self discipline, good planning, superb time management. Just my thoughts. 🙂
I second your thoughts, Susan – thanks for stopping by 😀
I have been on my own since the early 70s. Of course, I was in my comfort zone, in the counseling,and entertainment fields. Free lance is so foreign to me. I’m confident with my writing, base on years of experience, writing lengthy reports. Susan is correct in her statement, with respect to the life style of an independent business person. I possess all those traits, but still.. why do I find freelance writing, so monumental? Don’t get me wrong. I’m not doubting my capabilities, I’m just wondering whose suggestions to follow. There are too many to choose from. Decisions, decisions, decisions. Thank you Diana. Good read.
Thanks for your comment, Johnny, but i am a bit confused… What do you mean you have been on your own since 70s and then – you have never freelanced your skills? Being a freelancer is not only being a freelance writer… i mean, any and every profession can be of a freelancer. I think i am missing something 😀
Jeri Walker-Bickett (@JeriWB) says
There’s definitely more to freelancing that I had taken into consideration before getting started, but thankfully time is still on my side and my husband has a job that provides great health insurance.
Good point, Jeri – not about the health insurance (US health in insurance is very foreign subject to me!) – but about considerations before starting.
To be honest, i don’t think there is a moment when one is fully prepared to start freelancing. There will always be at least one more thing to find and learn… 😀
Debra Yearwood says
Perhaps I have an over active imagination, but being a freelancer has never struck me as being easy, more like terrifying. 🙂 When you work for someone else a lot of the stress to perform is often removed. Heaven knows I know many people who could care less if their organization succeeds or fails in it’s endeavours. When you are a freelancer, every activity counts and can have an impact on your livelihood.
You are absolutely right, Debra – and i don’t think it’s because you have an over active imagination; you just have a pretty good idea what it is to be a professional, doing business, and to have a reputation to manage 😉