It’s been a tough month – establishing new connections, new opportunities, and learning about my new limits.
I’ve learned that it’s possible to write almost 11 500 words of client content in one day; that it is possible to sit down for 11 hours and churn out pretty decent content while subsisting on crumpets and coffee and still being able to lose 1 cm around every body part in 2 days.
[place your Lose Belly Fat! ad here]
My major flaw is saying Yes to every bit (and heap) of work that comes my way – not (only) because I need the money, but because I really care about my clients’ business and want to do whatever I can to help them succeed.
I don’t want you to find a second-rate copy artist. I will do it. Who needs to sleep? Me? No. I love writing. Gimme your requirements. I shall turn them into deliverables of awesomeness. I look like a zombie? Pffft… occupational hazard.
Freelancing can seem tough when employment looks familiar, and yes, I do still browse the job pages to see what’s out there. In the last 3 weeks, I’ve had 4 or 5 recruitment agents call me and tell me how perfect I would be for their clients (maybe they are blowing smoke up my bum, but – their words) and while I am tempted by the permanent salary and wearing actual clothes to work, there are reasons why freelancing is worth every bit of uncertainty.
1. You get to focus on core business
Gone are the days of the clichéd “can-do” attitude. You’re a freelancer because you CAN DO – it’s innate. But in order for your freelancing endeavours to succeed, you need to give them your full attention – focus on your core business. Unless you’re some kind of special, get a competent tax consultant to do your taxes; if you’re a writer and your client wants your copy surrounded by some pretty designs, outsource the design work to your designer friends; hire a junior to do the “cheap” work (paying it forward for future generations of freelance writers); and make sure you know your 5-year plan.
2. You get to pick your clients
Ever work in an employed position where you wished you could fire the horrible clients and only work with the good ones? Freelancing lets you do that. And before you argue the merits of keeping all your clients because #money, rather think about it this way: while you’re struggling with Client X (never happy with your deliverables; wanting you to make unpaid-for changes; “forgetting” about your overdue invoices; always rescheduling meetings, etc.), you could actually be working for Client Y, who treats you like a human being, communicates their requirements to the T, wants to work with you because they recognise your value, and pays you on time. You will always find Client X’s and Client Y’s – being a freelancer, it’s entirely up to you who you want to work with. Remember, though, that you need to make space for Client Y to come along, so don’t let Client X steal your sunshine.
3. The work (and money) will come
If you’re in a full-time job and moonlighting on the side to test the water and see if you can survive on a freelance living, then good luck – I hope it all works out. However, you will never know how fully capable you are of making a go at freelancing full-time unless you do it full-time. The results will show where you focus your time and attention – not something you can fully commit to while in a full-time job. “Yes, but… salary.” Earning a salary is a great illusion of comfort, but imagine how capable and creative you will become when that safety net isn’t there.
The freelance life isn’t easy, but it’s rewarding and each day is different. Each day is a reminder of how proactive you need to be in forging your life story – it is what you make it. If you want it… then take it.