When I became a freelance writer, I had no idea what to expect. I wasn’t someone who had planned for years to become a freelancer. I had taken redundancy the previous summer and decided I wanted to do something which involved two of my biggest passions – writing and helping others.
Since then, my freelance journey has been a whirlwind. I soon found some willing clients and, work started to land on my desk.
It hasn’t always been easy, and it’s been far from straightforward. But it has been exciting and immensely satisfying.
In this week’s blog post, I talk about the highs of being a freelancer. Although written from the perspective of a freelance writer, I hope that most freelancers will be able to relate.
To balance out the highs, tune back in in a couple of weeks to see some of the downsides I’ve experienced in my freelance career so far.
Flexible working is something we’ve all been adjusting to over the last 18 months. However, flexible working has been a benefit of freelancing for a long time.
I started freelance life trying to stick to a structured day. However, I always lost concentration mid-afternoon, even in my old 9-5 job. I realised I no longer had a manager breathing down my neck forcing me to work set hours, so I decided to jazz things up a bit.
On a typical day, I now tend to start work around 9:30-10 am and work through until 2 pm, when I’ll stop for a couple of hours, have a late lunch and get out for some fresh air. I then head back to my desk around 4 pm and continue working into the evening.
Flexible working has also allowed me to go out and meet friends during the daytime, which I wouldn’t have been able to do in my previous job. Whether it’s meeting friends for a walk or a coffee, it gives me a nice break, and if I plan things properly, I can schedule my week’s work around this.
Flexible working has given me a much better work-life balance. It’s also given me the ability to work remotely, not just from home, but from coffee shops, libraries, and hopefully, one day, I’ll be able to work from another country too.
A Variety of Work
I started my freelance journey labelling myself as a content and copywriter, which seemed like an obvious choice for somebody who loved to write.
When my first client came along, she asked me to write her monthly newsletter and manage her social media accounts. She also had a podcast she was about to release and needed somebody to listen to each episode and grab quotes from them that we could use on social media.
Since then, I’ve taken on a variety of different jobs which now resembles something like this:
- Creating and scheduling social media posts and stories
- Creating Audiograms from podcasts
- Listening to podcasts and picking out quotes for social media promotion
- Creating and sending out newsletters
- Editing and proofreading website copy
- Writing content for brochures
- Keeping track of social media insights using in-app insights and Facebook Business
- Social media engagement
- Managing traders for a Christmas Market
- Writing blog posts
This list is just the crux of my day-to-day client tasks and doesn’t include the other jobs you have to do as a sole trader to run your own business. On top of these jobs, I’m also Head of Admin, Head of Finance, and Head of Marketing, to name just a few jobs I’ve needed to get my head around quickly to make my business work.
Being made redundant gave me the push I needed to start my own business. Yet being a freelancer has allowed me to discover more about myself and what makes me happy.
I love that my role is constantly morphing and, I can’t wait to see where it leads me to next.
I have more energy and motivation than ever before
Freelancing is the first job I’ve ever had where I’m not counting down the minutes until the end of the working day.
I love my job so much that sometimes, I have to force myself to stop working.
In my old 9-5 job, I used to dread Monday mornings in particular. I never knew what I would find in my inbox, but I could almost guarantee it would be full of complaints, people moaning, and generally, a lot of negativity. Not because of how bad I was at my job, I hasten to add! Sadly it came with the nature of the job.
Yet now, I wake up every morning, eager to get up and get the day started.
My old job used to leave me feeling energyless at the end of every day. As much as I refer to it as a 9-5 job, I worked far more than these hours. I used to travel into the city, sometimes multiple times a week, for evening meetings, resulting in little or no time to exercise, see friends, or maintain hobbies. It also resulted in just wanting peace and quiet at the weekends to recover from the busy working week.
Thankfully, I now find myself with more time, energy and enthusiasm, and not just for my job, but for life itself.
More time to see family and friends
You could argue that this one ties in with flexible working, but I believe it deserves a special mention of its own.
The last 18 months have been tough for everyone spending so much of it, moving in and out of various lockdowns. I was lucky to be in a bubble with my boyfriend for most of it, but living away from family and friends was lonely and isolating.
In the last couple of months, I’ve loved meeting up with family and friends again. I’ve also started to make new friends in my local area, which has helped give me my mojo back. Seeing new faces has made such a difference to my well-being and has helped me feel less isolated.
Flexible working has meant that me and my cat have been able to pack our bags and stay with family for a week or two, rather than trying to squeeze in a rushed weekend visit. I might have to work while I’m there, but it’s been great to spend quality time with them, something I plan to do more of moving forwards.
As I said above, flexible working has helped me form some new friendships. Some of my new friends who live locally have other commitments at the weekends, so it’s often easier for them to meet in the week. Having a flexible job has meant I can meet up with them for a coffee in mid-week instead of not seeing them at all, without the guilt of skiving off work.
As life starts to return to some normality following lockdown, it’s also been important for my partner and me to find new ways of spending quality time together. He works a lot of weekends, so once lockdown restrictions started to lift, there was a period where we went from spending time together almost every day to barely seeing each other. To fix that, we treated ourselves to a mid-week spa break and a separate trip to the coast for a couple of days. Whilst it ate into my working days and not his, I was able to work my days around our plans. My laptop came with us on both trips so I could check in with clients. I pre-scheduled my client’s social media posts and scheduled my other work around our trips which enabled us to have a lovely couple of breaks away, and I got to spend some quality time with my partner.
Finding my network
In my previous career, I spent 14 years building up an incredible network of contacts.
Moving into the world of freelance, I had no one. Or at least that’s what I thought.
Soon after my freelance journey began, I realised I had more connections than I thought. They might not have been from the world of freelance writing, but they were freelancers nonetheless.
Outside my existing network, I also realised the importance of following people with similar businesses on social media, and I also joined various freelance groups on Facebook.
The Being Freelance Facebook group deserves a special mention. It’s always the first place I head to if I need some freelance inspiration. Steve Folland, who runs the page, also has a brilliant podcast for freelancers and has also launched an online course for freelancers, which has been beyond helpful in making sure I have all the right things in place to help me with my freelance career. Links to the Being Freelance Course and Podcast can be found here.
Sometimes, as freelancers, it can feel like we’re stumbling around in the dark trying to find the light switch. Connecting with other freelancers soon made me realised that we’re all pretty much in the same boat!
If you’re a fellow freelancer, how many of these highs can you relate to?
Are you thinking of becoming a freelancer? I’d love to hear from you! Why not drop me an email or give me a follow on one of my social media accounts?
That’s all for this week. I hope you’ve found this blog post helpful. Don’t forget I’ll be looking at the flip side of freelancing in a couple of weeks.
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