Myths and Realities of Freelancing

Elance recently ran this article on “debunking the myths of freelancing.” I didn’t subscribe to most of these ideas before I started freelancing, and I don’t think most people do–which is why most people fight to keep their 9 – 5 at all costs. Myth #4: “You’ll have lots of personal time to have fun and relax” did hit close to home, though. It’s also in line with the most accurate warning I ever heard about freelancing: Remember that you’re going from working “full-time” to working “all-the-time.”

I said, “Uh-uh, not gonna be me. I am not one of those people who will work all the time.”

But that phrase has certainly come back to haunt me in my first year as a freelancer–when I look at the clock and realize it’s almost time for bed, and I’m still working; when I check available assignments one more time, even though I don’t have time to start a new one; when I squeezed in a few hours of work on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and more than a few hours on every single weekend. My work is always across the room from me, and there’s always, always one more thing to do. I no longer have the luxury of going home at the end of the day.

This is not a pity party I’m throwing for myself, but a simple acknowledgment of the reality. It was a reality I didn’t fully acknowledge before I left my full-time job, and here’s why: making the switch from traditional employment to full-time freelancing is really, really, really scary. I knew before I left my job that I was romanticizing my upcoming life as a freelancer — but that was OK. Romanticizing the future is sometimes the only way to get off your duff and move into the future. And moving forward it preferable to being stuck, no matter how comfy being stuck is.

And I’m glad I chose to move forward. Because, although I’m working more than I’ve ever worked before, I’m also writing more than I’ve ever written before, and that was the ultimate goal of this career transition. There are certainly days when I ask myself what I’ve gotten into, but there are other days when I have to pinch myself to know it’s really true: somehow I’m paying my bills, and I don’t have a “real job.”

It is possible. Not easy, but possible. The fact that this security-loving, change-resistant, marketing-reluctant girl can make a go of it proves that point.


5 Responses to Myths and Realities of Freelancing

  1. Jenny says:

    Oh, that is all soooooo true. My husband and I had a big argument a couple days ago in which I wailed that we don’t have a family, we have a business. 😀 LOL, it’s all better now, but it really can feel that way at times–the line between work and life becomes almost impossibly blurred. Still, it beats shuffling off to work to have somebody else tell you what to do with the next eight to ten hours of your life.

  2. Linda says:

    From the perspective of this full-time office drone, all the risky, foolish, working-too-hard, can’t-afford-to-take-time-off-because-I-need-the-money aspects of your new career sound…perfect.

    And at the risk of setting off a diatribe (It’s really your own fault–you used “girl”–and yes, it DID fit, this time): You go, Girl!

  3. Jenny says:

    Heh heh heh–from the musical–“I enjoy–being a girl!”

  4. Willow says:

    You’ve read my mind! I definitely work twice as much as I did at my office job now that I’m a freelancer. However, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Strangely enough, I find I actually enjoy it – most of the time. Other times, I wish I could just make myself stop. Sometimes my husband has to literally drag me from the computer. Lol.

    In the end, though, it’s been worth it – every hour. I’d never go back to a traditional life. 🙂

    • Hi, Willow. What an honor to have you here — I love your blog! I’m not sure if or when I’ll return to a more “traditional” job, but I’m promising myself to give this new adventure at least a year (I’d give a traditional job the same, after all). I’m hoping that by then I’ll be such a smashing success that returning to a 9 to 5 won’t sound remotely tempting. 😉

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