The pros of a freelance job are many: work wherever you like and choose your own working time, no chiefs and no need to dress properly, just to name a few.
Doing the job I like and that I chose, and doing it my way, is personally the thing I enjoy most of my new freelance life. It makes me feel free.
Anyway, this freelance life has some cons, too.
The uncertainty about your monthly income, for example, is a critical aspect of a freelance job. However, and strange as it may seem, I got used soon to this problem. I was on some level prepared about it before I started my business.
But I found out other negative aspects that I had not considered:
I knew that I would have to find new clients on my own, but I had never seen it as a problem. My job consists basically of translating/creating marketing texts for my clients, and I thought self-promotion wouldn’t be a problem for me.
But I was wrong.
I soon found out that when I must write something professional about myself and my job, I completely freak out. As soon as I try to write something related to my job and skills, my head just stops thinking, ideas simply don’t come and I don’t know where to start, so I try to force myself to find something smart to say… and then I panic because nothing comes. And the more I try to find an idea, the more it doesn’t come, the more I panic, and this loop can go on forever, and ever, and ever…
2- Time Management
I have been working as an administrative specialist for many years, so I am quite comfortable with deadlines and time managing. At least I thought so. Guess what? I was wrong again. Managing established and imposed deadlines differs completely from managing one’s own time. This should be obvious, right? Well, not for me, apparently.
I naively thought I would easily have found time for all job-related activities (work itself, billing, training, marketing, etc.), and it shocked me when I realized that it was much tougher than I expected. Not to mention all the not-job-related activities that somehow one should manage (like housecleaning, to name one… if I hadn’t had guests for dinner lately it’s only for their own good).
And when I can’t manage my priorities and my time properly, I end up sitting at my desk, staring at the laptop and waiting for a magic wand to show me where to start. But the magic wand never shows up, and at the end of the day I have done almost nothing, and I feel guilty and frustrated.
Last, but not least. In my previous jobs, I always had colleagues who worked with me, and with some of them, I have built a strong friendship over the years. I used to share my working time with other people.
In the morning, I would have a coffee and a chat before starting my day. At lunch, I would eat with my colleagues, and talking with them was always a relief and a relaxing moment. And when I was in a bad mood, or if I was a bit sad, or even if I wanted to tell a funny thing, there was always someone I could share it with.
This is what I miss the most. I don’t feel alone; on the contrary, I have much more time to spend with my friends, which is something that has improved my lifestyle. But I miss that sharing feeling that I had while working, that every-day-life in the office, that chats that made a working day much more pleasant.
Lately, I have experienced several potential solutions to these little freelancer problems. I didn’t solve them yet, but I found a little help.
I manage my time with a free app called Trello, which allows me to organize all my activities in different tabs, and to sort them based on priority. It is very useful especially for managing teamwork (in fact, I started using it when I joined the translators’ team of Shopify), but also to handle anyone’s daily activities. It has really helped me organize my working tasks. Besides, I love the feeling of flagging a task as completed.
Marketing myself is still a problem, but I found a way to write down something when my brain stops collaborating and locks its door.
I write something unrelated with me and my job: a ghost tale, a funny story that I witnessed, a dream I had the night before or the detailed description of my body lotion – the subject doesn’t make any difference. The point of doing this is that I unlock the doors of my mind, and I can write, avoiding panic. After a while, I can start writing a few words about self-marketing. It’s a small improvement, but it’s better than nothing, anyway…
WhatsApp and Facebook groups can be very helpful to make you feel less lonely. Writing to colleagues from all over the world is amazingly beautiful. It really makes me feel better.
Still, the habit of talking to somebody while working is too strong, and I happen to say something loud and look at the printer waiting for her comment, or to have a coffee break with the lamp, or to ask the chair about that email I sent…
I will probably get used to working alone, or maybe I will rent a co-working. But for now, this is one of the hardest things to face in my freelance life.
A freelance job has many pros and also a few cons. Like every other job, indeed.
However, I think I have learned a lesson in the past few months: when you do a job you love, even the worst aspects of it can be easily bearable. At least, this is how it works for me.
If you can’t wait to tell me what you think about it or to give me your advice on how not to talk to objects, don’t be shy! Share your comments!