Debunking Freelancing Myths
For the second time, I am writing this because *stupid* WordPress didn’t save my work. I want to be pissed but it’s not going to do any good and this blog post is not going to write itself.
To be honest, frustration is what fueled me to write this. There are too many assumptions about freelancers that are just downright wrong and I want to correct them. Right. Now.
Going back, though, I am still frustrated that WordPress didn’t save my previous work because I had such a good article going. Like, ugh, why?! I worked so hard on it. *side glance emoji* But anyway, let’s cut to the chase. Thank God I have 80% of it written down *sparkles emoji*.
“A freelancer or freelance worker is a term commonly used for a person who is self-employed and is not necessarily committed to a particular employer long-term.” – Wikipedia
“Freelance: Working on a contract basis for a variety of companies, as opposed to working as an employee for a single company. Freelancers are often considered to be self-employed, and have the freedom to pick and choose their projects and companies they would like to be associated with.” – Business Dictionary
Myth #1: “That is so cool!”
To be fair, any job can be cool if you love it enough. But if you don’t, it would feel like going back to school all over again (just because I hear that school ain’t that fun). Freelancing is constituted of different jobs. Any freelancing work is still work. It’s nothing short of being fun or stressful depending on the occasion. It is as legitimate as going to work at 8 in the morning and leaving at 5, except that we don’t get any health benefits and bonuses. But if you insist that it’s really cool, then thanks!
Myth #2: “You have all the time in the world.”
No, we don’t. For one, we have the same 24 hours in a day as everyone else. Working from home doesn’t necessarily give us the liberty to spend our time in any way we please. More so, it can be extremely stressful because working from work means dealing with work and home. As a freelancer, I have to be extremely intentional with my time and my activities. I’m always in two places at once. I may be writing an article as of the moment, but my mind is already creating a mental schedule for later and writing down to do’s.
“So if working freelance is as much of a plateful as other corporate jobs, why do you still have time to go to the gym?”
My answer is simple. I make time for the things I love. If you’re passionate about something, you will get rid of the “I have no time” mentality and put it in your schedule as you would an important meeting. If other people enjoy mindlessly scrolling through their Facebook newsfeed at the end of a long day, working out is my personal counterpart to that.
As I said earlier, we are intentional with our time and we are careful with how we plan our activities because we may not have permanent work hours, but it’s actually what makes it harder. There are so any temptations around and you can easily find yourself ditching work for play, so managing your time well is actually a challenge. We can’t be too chill or burn out from working too much, either.
This brings me to my next point.
Myth #3: “Your work is so easy” or “You have such a carefree life”
Oh, I have to roll my sleeves up on this one. Here we go.
It’s all about putting your priorities on top of your list. The struggle is real in freelancing. You can’t be too complacent because nothing is permanent. Freelancers are actually busy people because if they’re not working, they’re looking for more work.
I can attest to this. There are times that I want to refuse a dinner out or a movie with my family because I’m working even on weekends, if only my mom doesn’t work on Saturdays as well. If I had other ways to bond with them, I’d ditch work for them, but I don’t. So I try to compromise. I spend the afternoon with them until my mom goes to work around 5 in the afternoon, and when everyone else is out and about partying on a chill Saturday night, that’s when I work. Case in point, weekdays are not enough, people.
Moreover, us freelancers have to be strategic or as Pinoys would call it, madiskarte. Smarts is not enough, you need to know how to hunt for the right client and lock him down especially when you are on the same page or even meet halfway. This can help you skyrocket your freelancing work and get more clients.
Also, since we are our own person, we need to constantly find ways to sustain our creativity. We can’t be stuck in a rut. In my opinion, writing is not easy (actually, wait, that’s more of a fact), let alone do it for a living, so I don’t get how people can shrug off writing and say, “your job is so easy,” like they try to rub in my face that I just stare at my laptop and let the articles write themselves while I drink coffee and take selfies.
I may not be the best writer you come across, and I promise you that never in a million years have I dreamt of being called a writer, but I take pride in my work. As with work itself, I don’t promise what I can’t deliver. There are some times that I get stuck in a writer’s block for an entire week so I make it a point to read something smart over the weekend to dust off my skills – or lack thereof. This is a true story, bro.
Myth #4: “You must be rich” or “Freelancing is easy money”
No, it’s not. A part of why we work hard is because there is nothing permanent with freelancing unless you have a forever client, which is a rare case if it even actually happens. In whichever field you are, money doesn’t come in a snap of a finger. We don’t fart thousands. If anything, I don’t even fart much, so I still wouldn’t be as rich as I want to.
I’m not even going to patronise writers and say that they struggle the hardest because we all know that’s not true. I’m not saying that a corporate job is a sure ball money maker, either, although it can be more financially comfortable at times.
A part of being a freelancer is being brave and smart. We are always seeking the great perhaps. As they say, “Be brave in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire,” and that sure ain’t some easy road. Also, how can it be easy money if you try to juggle multiple jobs simultaneously? Some have to work two, three jobs at a time because having one client is not enough.
Personally speaking, time is my number one enemy. There are times that I would rather stay in and work than go out and watch a movie especially when I don’t really like what’s showing. In my book, time wasted is money lost. As often with the case of freelancers, no work is no pay. I’m just lucky that I have a client who understands when I have to take a day off for personal matters and who still pays me even when I get sick and don’t produce any work for the day.
In line with the assumption that freelancers are rich, ever heard of “late pays” and “bank processes”? If you get paid on PayPal and the 15th or 30th falls on a Saturday, even on a Friday (!!!), you will understand my struggle. It is real.
Myth #5: “You have no social life, do you?”
First of all, what does it matter to you if someone chooses to socialise or not? As far as I know, freelancers have the ability and the will to socialise with other people if they want to. It’s so easy to assume that all freelancers work from home, thus, they don’t see other human beings on a normal being, and that if they want to socialise, they have to put so much effort into it.
For your information, not all freelancers are writers. That is a ridiculous assumption. And not all freelancers tap away on their laptop until they drop. There are freelance photographers, bloggers, graphic designers, artists, musicians etc. These people actually go out and explore, work with other people and socialise. You can say that I’ve learned to embrace solitude and I have built my own cave in our house, but when everything becomes too much and I just want to get out and focus on work, I head out and work in a coffee shop. If I may say so myself, I have mastered the art of socialising with baristas. *sideglance emoji*
Also, breaking news: freelancers are normal people. We work hard and we also party hard. Or, at least, some of us. I don’t normally party til I drop and go home at the crack of dawn, but I do socialise, just not often and in person. From my perspective, some of my favorite people in the world live too far away, which gives us a valid reason to not see each other as much as we want to, so we compensate by talking online. That’s still part of socialising, right?
Other freelancers have jobs that give them the opportunity to work with different kinds of people on a normal basis, brush up their social skills, and even form friendships along the way. If that’s not a form of socialising, I don’t know what is. As I said in myth #1, freelancing entails legit work. If you’re trying to juggle two jobs at a time, of course, your play time can wait. But if you manage your time well enough and get work out of the way first thing when you can, maybe you can sneak in a night out with your friends.
Myth #6: “At least, you have no boss to bark at you”
What are clients? Are they not somewhat bosses? We have clients and more often than not, they are the ones who tell us what to do and they pay us to execute our skills. It’s not true that we are our own bosses – I personally believe that only applies to business owners. LOL.
As a friend shared from his experience, “You still have a boss. Tasks are given to you. In fact, there’s pressure to it, especially when the monthly bills start coming and you have to pay your dues. It can be exhausting in a way that some clients require you to stay up all night. It’s a case to case basis. It depends on the kind of client you get.” Case in point, we may be a one-man show but we still have “bosses”. At the end of the day, they call the shots.
There may be other freelancing myths but these are what I have so far.
What about you, do you have other myths in mind or do you disagree with some items I mentioned? If you do, why not share them below? 🙂
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