“What?! So you just hang around here until the school finish?” my friend, sits in front of me almost choked as I tell him how I spend half of my day every day. Yeah hang around from 8am to 1pm is too much of time!
His kids and my kids go to the same school. His youngest daughter is K’s classmate, and both of us were classmates in college. He has spared his valuable time to sit with me over coffee one morning after dropping our kids to school.
“Well..not everyday…” I tilt my head weighing whether or not I should tell him about the times when I have to go to the bank or to shop for my handmade planner stuff or to ship some orders. But it just sounds the same because those don’t take my time more than two to three hours max.
I glance my pink laptop bag and think whether I can tell him about what I actually do. But to many people, freelancer world is as far as planet Venus from the Earth. So I just point out that pink bag and tell him that I carry my laptop too, as if it explains the whole thing.
On another day…
My phone rings while I am squeezing my brain over few printable planner designs. I am also working on the blog and shaping up my social media plan. “Where are you dear?” I hear a soft voice asking for my whereabout on the phone. It’s my best friend’s mom who also work at the kids school and has helped us with the admission. “Sitting at KFC, having breakfast” I cheerily reply to her question with my eyes stuck on my laptop screen. The pancake is half eaten and the coffee is still full but cold. She laughs lovingly, “aah the joy of being unemployed”. Sure. When you hear someone telling you that she is having breakfast at a fastfood chain 9am in the morning you will think the same too. For office workers, mostly, 9am is the time for morning meeting, briefing, sitting upright in front of computer catching up with deadlines.
Being a freelancer and being unemployed are basically two things alike (or should I say the same?) in most people opinion.
As a freelancer who is currently working hard to catch my dream, I see the time I spend for designing, marketing, selling and networking as investment. To others, it’s a waste. Not that I care.
I know in my circle there are a lot of awesome freelancers and I am sooo thankful to know them and to be able to learn from them. There are probably some of you who are interested to taste the water too. Before you actually jump you probably need to know the 7 things most new freelancers don’t realize:
1. Freelance means hard work
You are on your own. From planning your budget, crafting your strategy, finding clients and to actually work for one. There is no one will boss you around but that also means you highly depend on your time management skill. You actually work twice harder than those who sit at the office do the work that has been assigned to them.
2. It’s not a holiday
People may think you have a lot of time. If you work on social media marketing field or online marketing in general, someone will take a peek into your laptop and think you are just playing around on Facebook. Friends will ask you to hang out as now they know you don’t have office hours that tie you down. Do understand that when you are not working for a client you should be working in getting one. So it’s obviously not a holiday. Never was. Never will.
3. You still need to wake up early and dress up
Even when your client is located at a place with 12 hours time difference you still need to wake up early and dress up. Being in pajama the whole day invites laziness. Remember, you have two important things to do everyday: work for your client and find new future/potential clients.
4. It’s better to work from home rather than in a coffee shop
Here’s what I always do: calculate the average of my income per day and then compare with how much I have to spend in a coffee shop to work for it. If the number is good (my income is bigger than my expenses) then working in a coffee shop is privilege. BUT, if it is the otherwise, it is always better and cheaper to work from home.
5. Sleepiness is tempting
When I work from home, I feel sleepy by midday. The bed is just on the next room. It would be easy for me to close my laptop and tuck myself in for a nap. The thing is, when I wake up later I will realize how much time I have wasted and regret my bad decision for giving in to the temptation.
To avoid the same mistake, whenever sleepiness sink in I think about my office days when midday is always about making a cup of coffee, walk around the room and small chat with a colleague. That is exactly what I do, what you should do when you feel sleepy during the day.
6. Your family and friends may not understand what you do
So forget about your good intention in explaining what you do in details. Just work hard. When the money comes in they will automatically understand.
7. Networking is one of important tasks in your job description
Freelance world relies so much on how wide and big your network is. From the precious network you will be able to find potential clients or have a good promotion for the service/work you provide. There is always an opportunity peeking from the crowd. Therefore even though you work from home you need to go out sometimes, hang out and be around new people.
In the end, I would say that being a freelancer is not everybody’s cup of tea. So do your homework, learn more about it before you take a leap.
Comeback every Thursday for Back to Work Guides for Moms with me