3 common freelancing myths, plus the truth (can you handle it?)

3 common freelancing myths, plus the truth (can you handle it?)

3 common freelancing myths, plus the truth (can you handle it?) 5184 3456 Heidi McLean

To overworked, underappreciated 9-5ers, freelancing may seem like the holy grail. But going out on your own isn’t just a world of free-flowing creative juices, coffee breaks, and wads of money. Freelancing can make you feel just as burnt out and unstimulated as whatever made you take a hike from your previous gig in the first place.

Here are 3 common freelancing myths–plus ways to make the road less traveled work for you:

Myth 1: It’s easier than your 9-5

So you want to work from the beach? Excellent. You want to decide which people to work with and which jobs excite you? More power to you. But hear this: Once you go out on your own, you live and die by your own work. The allure of working from home in your pjs and not having a boss breathing down your neck is real. But the struggle of life without a full time, “safe” job is real, too. It’s awesome. And terrifying. It’s not easy. Whether you’re on your own or working a “safe” job, you will kill yourself (and I mean that literally) if you don’t find balance. If you want to build a solid business, you have to put in the work. The hope is that, because you’re building your own dream (and not someone else’s/one you don’t believe in) that you’ll at least enjoy it more. And while it can be enormously satisfying and liberating to build your own business from the ground up, that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

Myth 2: It’s too risky

The “too” is the operative word above. Because here’s the deal: in comparison with a 9-5 job, freelancing is risky. You’re not looking for someone to whisper comforting words and say this is a safe route, right? You absolutely could lose everything…or at least be very, very hungry at times. I mean it. You could have clients who pay late or don’t pay at all. You could have slow months that land you in the red and times you’re trying to figure out how to create a meal from whatever you can find in the freezer (“use by” date be damned) and the last quarter cup of rice in your pantry. Risk aversion is real, but if it keeps you in your swivel chair at a 9-5 you hate, then you’re afraid of the wrong kind of risk. Because there’s nothing more risky than staying there in your cubicle feeling like you’re wasting your life.

Myth 3: You have to do it all

You think it’s easy to have your life and energy sucked away by a “regular” job? What about when it’s your business? When every dollar that comes in is as a result of you pounding the pavement to find the client and then pounding the pavement again to produce work they’ll rave about? When you’re in business for yourself, it’s easy to just do, do, do all the time. And the lie that traps you is that you have to. But you give yourself out completely and guess what? There’s nothing left. There’s nothing left for your bedtime routine with your kids, or those glorious miles on the trail with your sneakers and your headphones. And here’s the real, counterintuitive kick in the pants: if you don’t have time for the stuff the fuels you, you don’t have a business. Because when you’re a freelancer, your business is you. It’s’ your creativity, your talent, your brains, and your guts. That’s something you simply cannot phone in. You have to be fueled, which means you can’t give everything to your business. You have to give something to yourself, which in turn, gives everything to your business. See what I mean?

The truth

Here’s the truth about freelancing, if you can handle it. And you can handle it, by the way, because you are scrappy enough to think about launching out on your own in the first place. It’s hard, gut-wrenching, kick you in the seat of your pants, pride-swallowing work. And it’s all yours, which is effing fantastic.

 

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