So, I’m a freelancer. I work from home, I’m self-employed and I’m a freelancer. I’m a content writing, social media post creating, blogging freelancer to be exact. It sounds far more fun and cool than it is but I do genuinely enjoy what I do and I am in a fortunate position, a position I accidentally ended up in, but a fortunate position nonetheless. That doesn’t mean there aren’t a tonne of downsides to freelancing and the longer I do it the more I realise just how many misconceptions people have of what freelancing entails on a day to day basis.
This isn’t a blog to complain or whinge about how hard my working life is, it’s more of an open letter to the next person who makes a ‘joke’ about me not having a proper job and spending my mornings watching Homes Under The Hammer. You’d be surprised at how many people think that, which is silly because everyone knows it’s all about Jeremy Kyle.
Let me premise this by saying yes, I am aware I have the freedom to take holidays when I want, don’t have a boss to answer to and can get up when I want, but it isn’t all lay ins and daytime adventures kiddos.
A lot of people assume that freelancing and working from home is this super fun, stress-free existence and I spend my days floating around the house whimsically writing bits and bobs when I feel like it and longingly staring at the clouds letting creativity take over whilst I sip on a coffee, and don’t get me wrong it is pretty cool most of the time. But, if that was completely the case I wouldn’t be writing this blog.
My main annoyance with this job is other people (which is ironic considering I work alone); other people and their misconceptions of being a freelancer.
Dolly Parton Knows Nothing About Working Hours
I’m a strong (ish), (co-) independent, poorly organised excuse of a person. If you need someone to organise a complex day out or a trip around the world, I’m your gal. I’ll get you cheap flights and I always schedule a lot of drink breaks. Organising my own workload? Nope. I find freelancing a much more stressful way to earn a living because there is no ‘off’ and there is no letting someone else help when you’ve go too much on. I have no colleagues and unsurprisingly the cat and dog won’t be winning Employee of the Month any time soon. I feel like I never really finish for the day because at any given time I have something I could be doing, whether that’s replying to emails or starting on tomorrow’s work. If I have too much work to do that is entirely my fault and I am solely responsible for figuring that mess out. As much as I’d love to finish working at a reasonable time each and every day, at least three times a week I find myself working past midnight to get something finished and I can’t remember the last time I had an evening at home where I didn’t have my laptop out. Sure, I can accept less work but turning down work once means that person may not ask again.
I’ve found that many people assume freelancing means I can take a break whenever I want and decide my own working hours and they’d be mostly right, but that isn’t a #humblebrag. What many people forget is that those working hours have to be made up somewhere else. Working from home isn’t all waking up at 10am and swanning off on daytime cinema trips
though that is exactly what I did yesterday because I then have to come home and work until 11pm. Setting my own working hours means I have no one to tell me ‘no’ when I want to sod it all off and go out which is difficult when you’re me and have no concept of telling people you actually have to work and can’t come out to play. If I was in an office all day I’d have a boss who would say ‘no’ to midweek shenanigans at 2pm. Sometimes I need that. Sticking to a 9-5pm schedule is pretty much impossible when you’re left to your own devices.
I’ve Been Up All Night, Tryna Get That Rich
This may only be true for me but I’ve found as someone who freelances it’s bloody hard not to work at the weekends. I’ve lost track of the amount of times I’ve spent my Saturday afternoons working and then rushing to get ready to meet friends, or the amount of times I’ve worked all day Sunday. In fact, I just spent three weeks in Bali and wrote two articles Monday to Friday for the entire time I was there. Sure, that’s only a couple of hours work a day and the extra money wasn’t half bad but I don’t know many other people who end up working when they’ve booked time off to go away. Of course, I know I’m fortunate that I can decide to take three week holiday without needing to ask permission but I find a lot of people think I can just up and leave whenever I want and don’t have to think about anything else.
Being ill when you employ yourself is a bundle of fun. I was ill for four days last week and that was four days worth of work, and money, I’m now without. There’s no sick pay. Actually, everyone I work for could turn around tomorrow and tell me they no longer need me. There’s no long term contracts, no four weeks notice and no permanency. That is something that is always in the back of my mind and I’m pretty sure anyone who does a similar job will feel the same.
Work From Home, Ohhh, Oh Oh Oh
I really do enjoy the work I do and most things about it, but that doesn’t mean I don’t work hard and it certainly doesn’t give anyone the right to assume I work a few hours here and there doing something easy. Please do however assume I go hours on end without talking to a single person and can go days at a time without leaving the house, because that is 100% accurate. Please also assume I spend 90% of my life in pjs and leggings, because I do. I’m not wasting a perfectly good outfit sitting at home, I’ve got no one to impress let’s be honest.
Of course, there are loads and loads of pros to being a freelancer and I would recommend it to anyone, but it does come with the preconceived opinions of others, and that can get irritating. However, I’m always in for Amazon deliveries, I rarely miss my daily dose of Holly & Phil and I get to choose the office music 100% of the time. Because the office is my house.
Where I work.