Srijan had occasional second thoughts about continuing his job. Over the last three years, he stepped up the corporate ladders, shouldered various responsibilities, and kept showing up every day. He enjoyed; not any more.
He had his fun moments with work, but it unsettled him when the submissions got delayed, with no fault of his own. And to top his problems, he kept getting overloaded with irrelevant files. That’s when he thought about breaking up and starting consultation on his own.
Freelance consultation, however, scared him. “Freelancers don’t have a well-settled life”, they said, and he was intimidated. But then, the freedom to choose his projects and a favourable working time fascinated him.
However, it might be shocking to know that freelancers don’t get to draw the straws, not always. Yeah!
What other rumours have you heard about freelancers and freelancing?
Well, here are a few which, of course, aren’t true –
Busting the freelancing myths
1) Freelancers choose to do what they love
Although unlike in an office, freelancers don’t have to act as per the higher-level orders, they don’t, often, get to do what they like. The successful ones might choose to reject an assignment or two, those who are starting out don’t get a leeway. They have to work on different projects (which they may or may not like) just to keep their bank accounts rolling.
Moreover, sometimes they might have to play along, even if they know the client is twisting the agreement. Yeah, freelancers can, most of the times, pick who to work with, but it’s not all roses.
2) Freelancers work on their terms
Oh, it doesn’t matter how alluring it may sound, it’s only half true. Just because they get to choose who to work with, doesn’t mean they can be whimsical. Freelancers still have to follow instructions and deliver on time. And the newbies have to be flexible. Once they build a reputation, they can leverage it to negotiate the terms. But until then, better to be a sheep.
Also, freelancers, instead of a boss, deal with clients. And usually, more than one at a time, who might not be easy with their rules.
3) Freelancers do it for fun
Yeah, they do. It’s fun, freelancing. People, however, freelance because they want to do something they love. But just because one loves to photograph, doesn’t mean he/she can be a photographer. One sure can get paid a lot more than what he/she could be earning in a regular job, but it’s not all fun.
Freelancers learn the art and also, have to upskill to remain in the business. Also, the rates and the payments vary and you might have to keep following up to get a client, as well as the payment afterwards. Be efficient and self-disciplined, and it would be fun.
4) Freelancers are stress-free
They, not at all, are. A freelancer, apart from the work he/she is paid to do, also has to handle technical glitches, manage the finances, track payments and follow up with people (rather chase), schedule appointments, grab deals, outline contracts, give his/her apartment a sweep and even make the coffee.
Freelancers can have some sort of set schedule when they work, but still, end up working at odd hours. So, it’s not that quiet in there, in their head.
5) Freelancers have got all the time in the world
They have! Most freelancers work from home, saving a few hours of commuting time in the process. They get to set up their office in gorgeous beaches or among the greens.
However, it could be more of a necessity at times than a luxury.
Even at home, they might be working, actually, only for a few hours in the day. But the rest gets lost in extracurricular activities. Client meetings, accounting, collecting the due amount(s), promotion and marketing, maintenance and everything else, eats up all the time. And not to forget, upskilling and multiskilling. To be in the business, a freelancer needs to be an all-rounder.
Then, the clients can come up with requests, out of the blue. Yes, you find that hideous guy sleeping when you knock because he had to work the whole night. So, only when freelancers learn to balance life and work, they (probably can) get all the time in the world.
6) Freelancers make money doing nothing at home
Well, you now already know of the few extramarital affairs freelancers have, while at home. Freelancers’ job, however, doesn’t mean just sitting at their desk (to earn). On some days, they sure enjoy loads of work, but on others, they may not have any.
So, they have to meet people – online or offline – to find work. They have to attend business events and local meetups, or even catch up with their ex-clients in the hope of work and have the money flowing in. And that’s all part of the business.
7) Freelancers don’t have a well-settled life
Oh, a bummer!
Yeah, that’s probably the only reason why people can’t approve their decision to freelance. But you can manage your expenses abiding by the freelance lifestyle. Freelancers, of course, don’t get any monthly salary slips, but those who have their schedule and priorities in place can have a decent earning and stable life.
The beginners undergo a lot of commotion and things even go South at times. But with experience, proper planning, time management and a little hard work, freelancers can settle down well.
8) Freelancing is for those who can’t find a job
That one statement above can lower anyone’s confidence and deter him/her to go freelance. However, it’s just one of the myths associated with freelancing. Just because they don’t work from an office, doesn’t mean they’re any less capable.
Freelancers choose to freelance because they enjoy more flexibility to work. They can bend their schedule to suit the way that pleases them. They can be the night owl or the morning rooster. They can even enjoy a day or week off when they don’t feel like working. And that’s when the decision to freelance, sounds the right one.
Well, now you know that unlike the common perception, freelancing isn’t all fun and a bed of roses. Moreover, if you are with your family or in a busy neighbourhood, you will face constant interruption that shakes off your concentration. And freelancing from home won’t be a good choice for those who are monophobic.
In the absence of work environments and co-workers, some freelancers might start feeling lonely. But yeah, freelance lifestyle, in spite of all the inconveniences, is cherished by those who are in it. You can choose to work or spend the day catching up with Sherlock, the choice is yours.
And on the journey towards being an established freelancer, you will find plenty of people to talk to; you won’t be alone. It will take time, but in the long run, freelancing is a rewarding experience. As an experienced one-man army, you can have control over your career, thus having the freedom that you’ve always wanted.
“The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play.”
– Arnold J. Toynbee