Today I wanted to shine a spotlight on the realities of what it’s like to be a freelancer. I write a lot about things like ‘how to get into freelance writing’ or my monthly and yearly business updates. I’ve been lucky that my career has kept building from strength to strength, but I’m also conscious that my blog posts might just surmise ‘be a freelance; it’s great’ without actually sharing the realities of it.
Last week, one of my favourite bloggers, Cat from More About Cat (who also does amazing weekly freelance vlogs) dropped a bit of a truth bomb.
Since working for myself (8 mths), I have earned £3,162 through freelance work. For reference, that really isn’t a lot at all and in 2 of those months, I earned no freelance income at all. Wanted to share this honestly because all those “earn £1,000,000 in 3 months” posts are BS.
— Cat ✌ (@moreaboutcat) May 8, 2018
How refreshing! And it struck me that whilst I shared all my positives; I hadn’t been sharing things like…
I’ve had ‘sort pension’ on my to-do list for about 6 months and I have no bloody clue how to go about it but I need to (since no employer is going to ‘match my contributions now!’)
I’m in my thirties, thinking about having a family in the future and left a profession where you get a year’s maternity leave to one where you get a maternity allowance by the state (the highest amount being £140 a week IF you’re eligible). Will I just be like those celebrities who return to the red carpet the next day and just have no maternity leave?
I knew I wasn’t alone with this so I asked some of my favourite bloggers to share the realities, hiccups and bumps in the road of being a freelancer…
Jodie: (https://www.jodiehumphries.co.uk) I underestimated how long some of the little tech things can take to fix. Like when my email was playing up and that meant I needed to troubleshoot it, google it, email my host, blah blah blah! There is no IT support I can pick the phone up to (even though I used to secretly curse them when I was in my corporate job!) You end up being a ‘fix it freelancer!’
Laurie: (Girlandtonic.co.uk) I’ve been self-employed for nine months and my biggest stumbling block has been how much time I spend working (and how much I underestimate how long things like invoices and keeping my accounts will take!). I have NO boundaries with work and I have had to put some in place to make sure I don’t burn out. I now schedule a time to stop working and put my laptop away.
Sam from http://sociallysam.com/ None payers and late payers! I’ve always had the odd client that paid late, unfortunately, it’s part of the freelance life. But this year I’ve had 4 clients go bust on me (I’ve never had that many in my near 7 years of beingself-employedd) and another book me for 6 months worth of work, went through doing the whole strategy and planning, really the biggest part of the work and then told me they’d hired someone in-house to do it, used all my plans, wanted me to train their employee and then never paid me! So far this year that’s probably the guts of £25k gone. The reality of freelancing can sometimes be that you’re at the will of a clients integrity and you put your faith in them so you can pay your bills.
Cat (who I mentioned above!): The biggest stumbling block for me is putting lots of time and energy into trying to bring a client on board (including the time that really should have been charged for!), just for that person to start ghosting you. So frustrating!
Yasmine from https://untraditionaloffice.com :When I first started freelancing the biggest obstacle for me was coming to terms with the fact that my income was not stable anymore, and that some months it would inevitably drop.I’ve worked hard to diversify my income (freelancers need to wear many hats to succeed!), as well as secure strong, long-term contracts to build a more reliable income each month.
How many of these can you recognise? Is freelancing all its made out to be?
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