There’s something funny about freelancing.
You think you’re escaping all these office things like long work days and micromanaging bosses.
But the real difference? Is that you now have to do those things for yourself!
Here’s a sampling of things you think you’re escaping as an entrepreneur but really you just have to do for yourself now:
- Established office hours. Sure maybe there are less of them, but freelancers agree that regular hours make you more productive. Which is kind of funny — you leave the 9-5 to escape the 9-5, only to be consumed with business things/ideas from 9-5! In almost 2 years, I haven’t regularly done anything particularly crazy during business hours because I’m trying to hustle. Maybe that will be my summer resolution: a field trip each week during “office hours.”
- Tracking time. Even if you don’t get paid by the hour, a savvy business owner always tracks how much time they spend on what. It’s the only way to know if you’re being productive, losing money, or undercharging for something! I just started using RescueTime and we’ll see how it goes.
- Micromanaging bosses. It’s nice not to have someone breathing down your neck, but what if you need that to be productive? Here’s a guy who paid someone on Craigslist to slap him and keep him on task. Personally, I have suddenly been blessed with incredible discipline, so I can usually wrangle myself in line to get work done, but it’s hard! It’s like arm wrestling with X-Men’s Professor Xavier in your mind! All day!
- Budgets, budgets, and more budgets. For those of you eyeing your professional development or equipment budget with envious eyes that can’t get past the accounting person in your office, you can’t buy something fancy and awesome just because you’re your own boss now. If anything, you’re more likely to not buy things you NEED in order to keep overhead low! (Though is a wireless keyboard really a need? Come on, Sarah…)
- Having awkward conversations. These awkward conversations used to be with coworkers, customers, and bosses (“Ah, yeah, I could do your work for you today while you go on vacation…”). Now they’re with new customers. (That is, it’s awkward for me, sometimes, to try and perform the way I want to).
- Not getting raises. Now, this one is a little different, because whenever I want a raise I CAN work my butt off, learn a new skill, and charge more (or get more clients). But still, this is not a scenario in which I blink and suddenly get a raise for my work. You still have to put the time and effort into increasing your income. And if you don’t, it won’t increase… it may even go down!
- Lack of career mobility. IF YOU’RE NOT CAREFUL you can replace your 9-5 grind with a freelance grind: taking customers and deposits just to pay bills and working around the clock. If you don’t stop and find purpose in what you’re doing (and take on projects and clients that mean something to you)… you’re headed nowhere!
That said, freelancing is the jam. I was going through a low period about three weeks ago because of a lot of indecision in my brain and heart. But now I’m back on track and full of hope for the future. Sometimes it takes a little “middling” to get through the uncertain parts of life, but if you’re lucky you can turn the ship around before it sinks too low.
Holler back freelancers: what else did you think you were escaping only to face HEAD ON as a freelancer?
What do you want to escape from your FT job and I’ll make a joke about how freelancing has that, too!
P.S. And if you just like sharing about freelancing… maybe you should hop over to my recently released eBook: the Five Figure Writer! Choc full of the HOWS and WHYS I used to replace my full time income working a bit less than full time… because who doesn’t want to do that?