TFL No 1: What No One Tells You About Freelancing

Hey guys! Aside from sharing all my resources and information here, I decided to make the blog a little more personal. By that I mean starting a new section on the blog here called simply ‘The Freelance Life’ or TFL for short.

As the first post for the TFL series, I would like to talk about the matter I proclaim so boldly in my header. Honestly, it’s quite similar to newly minted parents who exclaim, “why didn’t anyone tell us it is THIS hard?!” Almost similar.

When I first quit my corporate job, I assumed many things. I imagined that my life would soon be a life of freedom, almost like a vacation where I play 90% of the time, and work the other 10%. Well, of course, at first it was. I woke up whenever I pleased (usually about close to 11am) and I took nice, long afternoon naps – just cause I can.

Well, I wished that someone had told me that that was such a wrong way to kick off a freelance career. After about 5 months of treading the water, here is my honest account of what the ‘real’ freelance life entails. So here we go, an honest list of what it’s really like to be your own boss:

1) SAVINGS MATTER – HAVE LOTS OF THEM
By savings I mean money because in a freelance career, your paycheck does not have an automated deadline of when to come in (and sometimes, not at all). I have had my share of chasing clients for unpaid work, half-done projects and systems that take 2 months to process payment. Your money starts leaking out like a broken faucet as you wait for your cheques to arrive. It is a pain, but one you have to learn to live with.

2) GET READY TO HUSTLE
I quit that 9-5 job so that I can work less hours, be with friends more, and be free to do whatever I want. Or so I thought. All I can say is, get ready to work from 9-12, AM to AM – and yup, that’s 15 hours. When you work for yourself, you have your own ends to meet, rather than a job to keep. The only good thing out of this is the fact that you’d likely rather work 80 hours for yourself, than 40 for someone else.

3) YOU SUDDENLY FEEL LIKE A SLOPPY JOE
I have to admit – I go through days where I just don’t put on anything else other than an oversized t-shirt. It’s awesome, but sooner or later, that affects your self-esteem and makes you feel pretty lazy. To remedy this situation, I ensure that I at least have 2-3 meetings a week (just for the sake of getting dressed up and putting on makeup) or when I don’t, I get into my gym clothes instead (to motivate myself to workout of course!)

4) PEOPLE CAN’T SEEM TO RELATE TO YOU ANYMORE
“What exactly do you do?” used to be a question I could answer with some long, fancy title. Suddenly, I find myself awkwardly trying to defend my ‘freelancer’ title and what sort of freelancer I am. In the end, I decided that calling myself a Freelance Creative sounds a lot better, since I do both writing and design. You have no idea how tiring it is to explain BOTH things – I have began to speak in paragraphs instead of sentences.

5) AT SOME POINTS, YOU WILL FEEL LIKE QUITTING
I have considered quitting at least 8 times in these 5 months. Somewhere along the way, I began question everything – is this what I really, really want? There are months where jobs are scarce and financials are teetering low, and there are times when I wished I could still afford luxury lunches that came with my regular paycheck. But I always come back to remind myself that I have my own space, time and freedom. I remember that I am doing what I love, and that’s all that really matters.

6) THE TOUGH DAYS MAKES IT ALL WORTH IT
I have to constantly remind myself that I am blessed to do what I love, the way so many other people can’t. I am able to put my happiness first, laugh when friends think I live a glamorous life (when I really don’t, haha), and be grateful that this whole reality is mine – and I had created it for myself through those tough days. Designing a life you love isn’t for the faint-hearted, but if you are doing it, then do it well!

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5 thoughts on “TFL No 1: What No One Tells You About Freelancing

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