So then. After all that is miserable and awful about freelancing, let’s look at the good bits! Because there are many.
I can pick my hours. Yup, if I want to start work at 10AM every day I can. If I only want to work 3 days a week that is my choice. If I fancy getting started at 6AM so I can have a POETS day of a Friday, no one to stop me. In fact, I can have one anyway, just because I say so! It is my choice how and when I work. Clearly, if I only want to work Tuesdays and Wednesdays between 11 and 2 then I’m going to be broke pretty fast, but the choice is mine to make.
And, I can change my schedule as I see fit. I always have a plan for a day, but some days the world screams “DUVET” and I can decide to change my plans. Or I can work in bed if I have a cold. I booked on to a networking thing the other night. It was cold and wet and I decided instead to stay at home, have a bath and read my book – my rules. If I want a day off, I don't have to fill in forms and ask, I just take it.
I can work in my PJs. Or a tutu. Or a bikini if there’s a massive heatwave. Video calls aside, the world is my oyster fashion-wise. Even if I am out meeting clients, I can wear what I want. Sure, they may never let me back on the premises again if I rock up in a penguin onesie but that is my choice to make. I knew a consultant who regularly worked for the top bods at a very conservative London bank. He would march into grey suit land to meet the CEO sporting wet look leggings, platforms and a pink boa. His company, his rules. They wanted him, they took him and his flamboyant outfits! (he did get thrown out of the Ritz though, the fedora was a bridge too far for them). If I can’t be bothered to get dressed, it matters not a jot and if I did feel the need to express myself in some bonkers way I could chose to do that and accept any consequences.
Because, I get to choose who I work with! I don’t have to say yes to anyone I don’t like the look of. If someone objected to my penguin onesie I could decide I don’t want to work with such bird-hating soulless folk and let them go. Just as if I start working with someone and for whatever reason they drive me crazy, I can ask them to leave. This is very freeing after the world of employment. And it is surprising how much more pleasant a relationship can be when you feel you have an exit if you need one (and it isn’t going to financially cripple you, which telling your boss to get stuffed might well do). There are always more clients.
I can offer what services I like. If I get bored of doing a certain type of work or I find something that I absolutely love I can change what I offer. I can be virtual or I can go places in person if I want to. I can work at home, in a coffee shop, with clients, at a mate’s house. I know one VA who has the brilliant system with her also self-employed husband of doing weekends away. They travel on a Friday and whoever isn’t driving works. They arrive at their destination without having lost a whole day of earnings. Personally, I’d throw up if I tried to type in the passenger seat but I love the concept. I could do the same on a train or a plane.
And working at home? It’s a joy. I can have pets and not leave them for hours. I can by and large keep on top of the washing pile. I can spend my lunch hour in the gym or the pub or anywhere else I want. I can have a 3 hour lunch if I want one. I can have an afternoon nap if I am feeling a little jaded – you can’t pull that off in a proper job (although I have seen people try!). I am almost always in for deliveries and I can do things through the week that other people have to do in the evenings and weekends. And, of course, I don’t have to sit on a train or in a car twice a day. No sweaty armpits in summer, no freezing cold and wet delays in winter.
What do you love about freelancing?