Freelancing is great. Hell, I have to think so, as this is what I am doing at the moment. I do it by choice, because I love the flexibility, the myriad different projects that mean you never get bored, the different people you interact with, the different skills you have to apply.
It’s also great because you can, theoretically, work from anywhere. As long as you have yourself, your laptop, and a wifi connection, you’re good to go.
But whilst all these are plus points, there are also certain things you have to reckon with when freelancing.
Below is a quick fact list of what’s great, and what’s no so great about essentially being your own man or woman.
The things that make freelancing great and that I would not change for anything
– The flexibility: you can work wherever you want, and to a certain extent, whenever you want.
– The diversity: of clients, projects, skills to apply, even deadlines. All make for an interesting working life. You could be working on a journalism project all morning before switching to a marketing one in the afternoon and a design one in the evening if you so wanted. You get to speak to a range of different people who have nothing in common apart from having hired you to do a job. It’s all pretty exciting, and makes for the perfect antidote to boredom.
– Lazy days: sometimes, even when I worked in an office, I would wake up in the morning just unable to actually give a damn. I seriously could not be bothered. It still happens. But now, instead of sucking it up and turning up at the office grumpy and unproductive, I can either take the day off (and have to do extra hours the next day) or simply stay in pyjamas and work in a different way.
– Getting stuff done: this is actually a big one. Working for myself, I know what I am doing, why and to what end. All that means I get stuff done. I, all of a sudden really, really want to get stuff done. I can’t wait to get started, continue, and/or finish whatever it is I am doing. And not because I want to get rid of it, but because I want to see whether it’s going to turn out like I wanted. Even if the client does nothing with whatever I sent them, at least my part is done, and it’s still a thrill to “finish” a project.
The things I could do without
– The constant search for more work: even if you have some long-running projects, ultimately, you have to be on a constant look out for more work.
– The waiting around: from prospective clients, from “ghosts” clients who assume they don’t need to get in touch once they’ve okayed a project… all this time could be spent working! Or relaxing and living life…
– The no life lifestyle: freelancing means that at times, you work 24/7, no breaks, no down/me time. There is no coming in at the office at a given time and leaving at the end of the day, free to go for a pint down at the pub.
– The constant need to explain what it is you actually do. This is mainly true in France. I’ve never encountered so may people who seriously did not understand what freelancing meant. In their eyes, if you don’t go to an office, you don’t work.
– The lack of human interaction: this is pretty much the opposite of what I mentioned above, but equally true. Yes, you’ll be (ideally) in contact with your clients throughout the project, but lengthy phone calls and 1000 words emails are hard pressed to replace colleagues and peers.
All in all, I guess the ins take precedence over the outs (even if there are more outs than ins). Why? Because flexibility, diversity and getting stuff done is so much more important than having to explain what you do to people, or even waiting (I’ve written about waiting before, and it has nothing to do with freelancing. It’s pretty much just a part of life. Damn it).
In the end, freelancing works for me: a workaholic creative who could never make up her mind as to what exactly her job title should be. Taking into account I also love moving, and that flexibility is a big part of what I need and want in my life, there were really never any other working choice for me but to be a pen for hire.
Did I miss anything in my ins and outs? Are you a freelancer or thinking of freelancing whilst travelling? Let me know in the comments below!