Whenever I tell someone about my freelancing career, I am met with one of two reactions:
- Envy for having the freedom to do what I want when I want; or
- Silent judging based on the common misconceptions about freelance workers.
Either way, these reactions are based on the generalised myths that people tend to believe. So, today I am going to try setting the record straight about some of these myths. There really are many, many more to look at. But these are some of the main ones I’ve encountered so far.
1. You can spend all day in pyjamas, or work from bed
When you’re at home all day, the urge to gravitate toward comfy clothes can be oh-so-tempting. Since pyjamas are associated with sleep, you (subconsciously) tend to stay relaxed and in a sleepy state.
No matter what our plans for the day are, I always insist on getting our girls dressed and ready for the day immediately after breakfast. Whether they’re going to school or just relaxing at home. I find that it gives us an extra boost of energy to tackle whatever the day may bring.
If you want to have a more productive day, dressing as if you’re going to the office boosts productivity and creates a professional image. I guess this myth is completely down to the freelancer in question and how productive they are feeling.
2. Freelancers can work whenever and wherever they want
Although most freelance work can be done remotely, freelancers should be available to communicate with clients during their (the client’s) regular office hours. When freelancers are too flexible with their time and cannot ensure availability for their clients, it can speak volumes about reliability.
For example, I recently worked with a client in a time zone 9 hours behind me. This meant that he could email an assignment to me at the end of his business day, which I got at 2 am. I had the whole day to complete what he needed done and send it to him. By the time he was starting his day, the work was done and I was still available to speak to him if he needed to call me.
As for the “work anywhere” part…within reason. Obviously sitting in the middle of a party with your laptop would not be very productive. As a freelancer, you have a bit more freedom with your time. But the income you make will reflect the number of hours you put in. Which brings me to my next point….
3. Freelancing is not a reliable income
As I said, what you get out is determined by what you put in and what you have to offer. Many freelancers choose to work with multiple clients as this guarantees a constant workflow and cash flow.
Freelancing as ABSOLUTELY NOT EASY MONEY but it does pay off at the end of the day. Another benefit of having multiple clients (as opposed to only one) is the rotation. If a client’s project is done, there are still others to work with. This allows for the appropriate budgeting to be done.
4. Freelancing is not a proper business
When you decide to work as a freelancer full time, it is actually advised to operate (even register) as an official business. Compared to an independent contractor, having an official business is actually better as it shows a more professional image to prospective clients. As with any legitimate business, there is a lot of legwork to be done to lay the foundation instead of just diving in.
5. It’s much less stress than a full-time career
The most popular myth is that freelancing is not as stressful as a 9-5 job. This is also THE BIGGEST LIE.
At most regular jobs you would be part of a particular team or department responsible for a particular aspect of having the business run smoothly. Accounts, marketing, sales, customer service, administrative tasks, are all handled by different people or departments. As a freelancer, ALL of these things fall on you and you alone. The entire business rests completely on your shoulders.
So yes, I believe this is just one big fat lie.
6. “You’re so lucky you don’t have a boss to report to”
I wish! That is a really fun idea but not entirely true.
Freelancers may not have A boss to report to, but we do however have MULTIPLE as each additional project brings along its own visionary.
Working from home actually requires a whole lot of discipline to maintain a certain level of professionalism and productivity. The simple fact is that what you reap what you sow. I do have quite a lot of freedom with freelancing, but the trick is to be smart with that freedom. It’s also a matter of making the best of what you have and always trying to improve.