5 Surprising Things I Do All The Time As A Freelancer

I love being a freelancer. I don’t mind if you call me one. I don’t mind working alone. I like working in my pajamas but I don’t really have a problem getting dressed like a human being, either. I have a home office but I also have a go-to list of places I can work when I want to get out of the house. I hardly ever miss life before freelancing.

But, I have to admit that even freelancing part-time for many years didn’t prepare me for everything this life would be. I mistakenly believed that some parts of my work-for-someone-else life wouldn’t carry over to my freelance life. Don’t get me wrong: my freelance life is still better than my work-for-someone-else life. But some things have just taken on other incarnations. Here are a few examples:

Go on Interviews or Fill Out Applications. I still do these things but I just call them client meetings and introduction emails now. People still ask me for my resume sometimes. If they don’t, they ask for my client list, references, and portfolio–which might as well be a resume. Some send me a list of questions they need answered before we can begin working together. The point is that I still sell myself everyday. However, I don’t have to answer questions about my greatest weakness or how I’d handle a difficult situation anymore, though..

Work with People I Don’t Like. This is the biggest misconception my friends and family have about my work. If I’m having a bad day or dealing with a difficult person, my husband sometimes says “Just don’t work with them.” And I guess I could do that if I wanted to be the type of person who flew off the handle every time something rubbed the wrong way. But I’m running a business here. Sometimes I just smile and bear it because I’m looking at the big picture. I’m not saying that I don’t decline to work with certain clients because their personality is detestable. I do. I just don’t let small things like wackadoo political views, aggressive religious overtures, or a tendency to call me “baby” to get in the way of what I want…which is money. So if it’s something that won’t keep me up at night, I just ignore it.

Worry about Office Politics. I hated office politics when I worked in an actual office. I couldn’t understand why we couldn’t just do what we came to do and leave each other alone. From lunch cliques to holiday party confessions to office romances, it’s stressful. Now while I don’t have to worry about my dog and my rabbit carrying on a torrid home office affair, freelance life is not without its politics. Within the freelance community there is often scandal, back biting, and bullying. Blog wars are not uncommon. Twitter feuds are everywhere. Sometimes it’s just as tiring to navigate these waters as it was back in my cubicle.

Work Myself to Death. I like to work. I thought I’d suddenly take more breaks and work better hours than when I didn’t have a boss on my back pushing me. But now that I’m the one calling the shots, I find that I push myself even harder than a boss ever could. The difference is that every dime I bring in goes to benefit me and I take that far more seriously than when I was just getting a paycheck. It was only just recently that I stopped riding myself so hard and allowing myself to work a legal workday. (But that’s for another post coming soon.)

Have a Boss. I still have a boss. Her name is Princess and she’s is a wackjob that spends a lot of time talking about herself. Geez I can’t wait until she goes back into her office and leaves me alone to get some work done.

It’s your turn now. What things do you still do that you though you’d never do again as a freelancer?

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Princess Jones

Princess Jones is the mad scientist behind Diary of a Mad Freelancer. For more talk about freelancing, writing, and selling yourself for a living, follow her on Twitter.

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  1. Boy, does this post resonate. After 30+ years of corporate life, I have never regretted my decision to leave. But, you are right, there are still carry-overs.

    While I still encounter them, I do find myself taking a different approach. Like you, Princess, probably one of the things I hated most was the politics. Drove me crazy. And yes, it exists in the freelance world, but I find it is easier to stay out of than the corporate world.

    Maybe it’s because of where I am in my life (and how blasted tired I was when I left corporate life behind), but I find it rare for me to go back to the long hours I worked in that life.

    But, what I do find funny (although I ain’t laughing) is how a client who was a former boss still affects me like I was still working for them. It’s like how you’re strong with everyone else, but then you’re a wimp when it comes to your parents.

    Cathy Miller recently posted..Posts in Friday Lite Review

    • @Cathy – I hear you about the old boss thing. I haven’t quite figured out how to handle requests that come from my old boss the same way i do other requests; instead i imagine all the office talk that happens around it. I know who is going to like something and who will hate or, when i ask for a bump in my freelance rate, why it’s taking so long for me to get a response… when one of my boss’ colleagues recently asked me to take on a project, i could imagine the entire conversation that inspired it in my head.

      Hopefully some of that will fade once I’ve been gone for a little longer (it’s only been 6 months, after all).
      Melissa recently posted..Don’t Build Value, Create Values

      • I guess I better not tell you, Melissa, I’ve been freelancing since 2008. 😀

  2. The office politics thing was also a surprise to me. I don’t mean in the freelance community, though – I mean within my client’s workplaces. It affects everyone, including us. I’m talking about clients with whom I have a long-term relationship. I still have to understand all the relationships between the people who work there, including ones I don’t necessarily interface with. I really hate office politics, too, but there is no way around it.
    Claire Wagner recently posted..[you are a philanthropist]

  3. I thought when I was a full-time freelancer I would sleep in late and then work in the evenings. For some reason, however, my body clock flipped around on me. I work best during the early morning hours and lose steam as the day goes on.
    Debra Stang recently posted..Fiction Writing: Why Two Sets of Eyes Are Better Than One


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