I have been a freelancer for just over a year now. And it’s the best thing that has happened to me. I am the type of person who works best without someone looking over my shoulder, micro-managing me. So, for me, freelance is my friend. If you’ve been considering going freelance I’ve learned a few things over this last year and wanted to share my top three “learning’s” with you.
- You don’t need as much income as you’d expect
When I first left my corporate job I freaked out! How am I going to pay for my bills? How will I afford all of my luxuries? What am I going to do! But after my freak-out episode, I sat down, with a clear mind, and did my budget. What I found out was astonishing! I needed next to nothing in income to actually get by. Here I had been living off a rather large salary and yet, somehow seemed to always be living paycheck to paycheck. After reviewing my budget I realized I was a money waster. I spent money on countless un-necessary items. I wasn’t even spending my money on traveling, which is what I desperately want to do. So, I made my budget and I stuck to it! Did I give up all my luxury indulgences? No! I built them into my budget and I got thrifty. I realized I don’t need new clothes, every paycheck. I don’t need a massage, monthly. But, I like massages, so I signed up for sites like Groupon and Living Social that send you daily deals on amazing activities, products, and luxury items, like massages. So, when my budget told me it was time to get my massage, I wasn’t spending frivolously, I had planned this out. PS… Looking back at last year, not working a corporate job and sticking to my budget, I realized I traveled more in that year, than I had in the three previous years, COMBINED! (Oh, I feel I should mention that I don’t have any credit cards. So my traveling and spending was done completely credit free!)
- You get fat!
Yeah, this one is true! You get fat or at least flabby! Working a corporate 8am to 5pm job, I had a set schedule. I went to work and immediately after work, I went to the gym. EVERY DAY. I was walking a lot for my corporate job. Going freelance, I sit at my computer (either in my home office or the couch) and don’t walk. And because I have no set schedule I am not faithfully going to the gym. In fact, I have become gym lazy. One thing I know about myself is, I need a schedule. I thought that I would love my freedom and go to the gym at 2:00pm one day and 10:00am the next. But what happened was quite the opposite. I had too much freedom and just stopped going. Sometimes I would be writing a proposal in the evening and without that set mindset of gym time is from 5:00-6:30 every day, my writing would take over my gym time. So, this area of my life is still under construction as I am trying to figure out what works best for me. But I do know that I NEED to respect my gym time and stick to it…which leads me to #3.
- You really have to learn how to manage your time
With freedom comes all the time in the world…and you realize you lose track of time very easily. I am not a morning person and have my most creative times at night. So, if I’m up all night working on a proposal, I know I can sleep in the next day. Or, if I have an appointment I can schedule it for whatever time I want. These are some of the perks of being your own boss. But, what about the other side? I have to search and find my freelance jobs. This takes time. I spend countless hours seeking and applying for these opportunities. There have been days that I have forgotten to eat until very late at night, because I had been so busy working. If you’re married, you have to make time for your spouse and/or kids. You have to make yourself take the time to stop working. Freelancers don’t have set hours, so you HAVE to manage your time…work time and play time.
There is good and bad that comes with every job, corporate and freelance. So, you have to make the call for yourself. Could you do freelance work? Can you work without a schedule or someone else telling you deadlines? Are you motivated enough to keep searching and finding your own jobs (this one is hard because you hear more “no’s” than you do “yes’s.”) Are you committed enough to write your budget and stick to it, no matter what? For me, freelance is the best thing that has happened to me!