One of the key reasons I worked my backside off for several years to work full time freelance was because of the flexibility it offered.
Admittedly, when I did go full time freelance I wasn’t doing so just as a writer, but no matter how much my role changed, my reason for still wanting to be freelancing full time remained the same.
In my head, I was going to have all this time in the world. I’d miss out on all of the commutes, be able to work early mornings, late nights and have a lot of time during the day to do what I wanted.
The problem was, it didn’t work out like that. I basically ended up working a 9 to 5 job, just on a freelance basis from home, rather than on an employed basis from an office.
In many ways, I was bitterly disappointed. I’d had all of these high hopes and expectations and one of the key ones – in fact, the key reason I wanted to freelance full time – wasn’t coming to fruition.
However, after quite a while blaming others, I realised that I was actually the main reason why I wasn’t living the freelance lifestyle I expected.
In so many of us, it’s ingrained in our profile that we should work 9 to 5. Some will work earlier or later, longer or shorter days, but for decades now it has just been something that we all know and understand – an average, full time job is 9 to 5, Monday to Friday.
And coming from several years in a full time position, it was difficult for me to switch away from this type of working schedule, no matter how hard I tried.
I’d get up early, break for lunch, finish late afternoon and that would be it. I’d try to get out of this situation, but the more I worked freelance and clients realised I was available 9 to 5, the harder it was.
Reflecting back on it all, while everyone will deal with such a scenario differently, my one piece of advice is related to that last sentence – you need to understand the difference between being available when your clients expect you to be and working constantly during their day when they are.
Want to get up early and work? Go for it. Stay up into the evening and get ahead? Sure! Just make sure you have your cell phone on during the day and have access to your e-mails.
I’m sure there’ll be some people who disagree with me here, but I found that no matter how hard I wanted to work a particularly flexible schedule, the bulk of my client communication work was between 9am and 5pm.
You can of course send e-mails out of this time, but if they need a quick response and you want to be doing your utmost to satisfy them, a 10pm response to their 11am e-mail – a response they won’t get until the following day – wont do a great deal for your relationship with them, especially if it was relatively urgent.
The freelance writing career has a whole host of benefits, but many of them take time to be found and enjoyed. Often taking months – if not years – to fully get into the swing of things, think of your development as a marathon rather than a race and you’ll do a lot to see the most benefits possible over time.