Friday, May 27, 2016

Honest Thoughts: The Reality of Freelancing


Whew. I think this post is so appropriate for a number of reasons but namely the fact that I haven't been able to keep up with my honest Thoughts posts because of my freelancing. Ha! Talk about irony.

And now I'm on a trip of epic proportions (see "the Good" section below). I'm going to be GONE for an entire month! Craziness - am I right? But, in thinking about freelancing, I just had to write this post and share my honest thoughts.

The Good, the Less Good, the Bad
The minute I tell people I'm a freelancer I have a feeling they have an image of me lounging around the house all day, sipping coffee leisurely, and pretty much doing whatever I want. That is not completely true.

The Good: I can work from home - or anywhere else! I'm gone for a month and part of that time I'll spend working, but from wherever I'll be. That is awesome! Plus I do get to have flexibility with my time during that day--to an extent. I can grab coffee with someone in the morning or a late lunch in the afternoon. Things can be flexible--sometimes.

The Less Good: Not everyone understands that being a freelancer still means you have to work (hehe). Especially in DC's economy I need to work even harder to make it (this is not a plea for pity, just a reality). That sometimes means long days, late nights, and weekend work. Yuck. But hey--I am doing what I love which is a big reward. But working from home isn't always easy either with lots of distractions and other things to do too so that can be "less good".

The Bad: Self-Employment is hard! Ha! I know - that's no big news but it's true. I love being my own boss, but that means if I want to take a vacation or even a sick day, I have to work extra for that. Medical Insurance isn't included, there are no benefits, and my success is directly related to how much time I can invest in my various business ventures. Some of this will change as the businesses grow and change themselves, but it will always be difficult (and yet rewarding) to be self-employed.

Source
You are Literally a Time Lord
For those who don't get the reference--thank you Doctor Who. I do love the fact that I get to dictate my time. Yes - I can often be found working in my PJ's in bed. And yes, I do spend days drinking coffee...but it's more like guzzling it rather than delicate sips ;-). As mentioned with "the bad" though, I am directly responsible for my time. This is fantastic when things are going well, but what happens when I get sick? It also means that, though I can be working all hours of the day (and sometimes do) I need to plan for time off. This is HARD for me. My computers right there and I could easily just...do...one..more...thing. Next thing you know it's 2 am and I should have gone to bed. So, along with being a Time Lord comes responsibility - who knew?

A Lot for a Little
This is probably my biggest pet peeve area. Most (and I say most because I have no idea of a percentage here) freelancers are underpaid. I'm not just saying that because I am one. It's true. Content creation, editing, ghost writing...you name it--doesn't usually gross very much. Now, that's not true for all gigs and I will admit that I work for some fantastic people who are generous with me and my work, but that's not always the case. It's sad really. So, that's just a little plug to say - if you work with freelancers, pay them for their work. They need to eat too ;-)

So there you have it friends. A few little tidbits of reality taken from the life of a freelancer. I am blessed to do what I do and to enjoy it, but know that it's not all roses and sunshine (or sweatpants and coffee...thought this is more of a reality at times).

How about you? Do you freelance? Can you relate? If not, would you like to work from home (or elsewhere)? Why?