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.