Freelance: 3 months in.
This month marks the end of the first 3 months of my life as a freelancer. I originally said I would blog once a month with my progress but to cut a long story short, I’ve had a bunch of work to do & no time to blog! So I thought I’d post a very quick summary of things I’ve learnt in the last 3 months and then follow it up with some more detailed posts when I get the time in the future, so watch this space! Here’s a few things that I’ve learnt in the past 3 months:
1. You’ll say that you’ll only work 9-5; you won’t.
The first thing I remember people saying to me before going freelance was “make sure you keep your work hours constant”, my reply being “ah yeah don’t worry, I don’t plan on working more than 8 hour days”. Realistically, there has not been one day I have worked 9-5 in fact most nights I work until at least 1am – a habit I definitely need to start trying to kick in the coming months.
No one is forcing me to work – so why have I been working such long hours?
- I don’t want to let anyone down. Since going freelance I’ve felt a lot more responsibility for the work I do, I’ve always put a lot of pride in my work and gone out of my way to do the best I can – but going freelance has amplified this for me. The only person standing in my way to be successful as a freelancer is me and therefore I find myself working 5x harder to achieve my goals than I did whilst working within an agency.
- Clients in other timezones. Sometimes I might be settling down to go to sleep and an email might pop into my mailbox, me being me – I can’t read it and then leave it until the morning – I sit up, my mind pings on and I reply and sort all necessary things in relation to the email there and then.
- Lots of exciting work that I’m loving working on. Something I never thought I’d be saying at the end of my 3rd month of freelance. This is definitely not a bad thing.
Basically, I’ve found that as a freelancer the standard “working week” has gone out of the window, I don’t find myself having a “weekend”, instead I have gaps between projects or waiting for feedback that sometimes fall at unpredictable times. That spare time tends to be filled with admin work, sorting invoices, planning future work and sorting emails.
2. Plan before you go freelance.
I went freelance in a pretty spur of the moment decision, and although I had some money saved (enough to tide me over for a few months whilst living at home) – in the first few weeks I found myself with a fairly minimal amount of work to do. Though I had freelanced for a while whilst at college, I had not kept up doing any freelance work in my spare time whilst working full time – and therefore didn’t have many potential clients as contacts. Fortunately, I was lucky and managed to pull in a few projects fairly quickly – but if anyone out there is thinking of going freelance… make sure you have your first few clients to hand before you make the jump!
3. Freelance is very rewarding
I’ve never had so much job satisfaction in my entire career as I have had in the past few months. Though learning the business side of freelance was a huge struggle for me in the first month (I will dedicate a blog post to this in the future), and though I have been very stressed out at times – I have to say I love freelance, I love the freedom, and in a weird way I love the uncertainty. I love the fact that I don’t know what I will be working on half a year down the line, and I love the fact that it’s up to me to decide on that all by myself.
In summary, the first 3 months of freelance for me have had their highs, their lows, and a lot more trips to the gym, much more quality time with my cat (again, will post another blog post about the insanity of not working in an office, and only being with a cat all day) – but all in all I’m a lot happier since following my gut instinct and going for freelance.
I hope I can say the same after the next 3 months!