Debunking Freelance Myths
If I had a dollar…
Over the years, I have heard my fair share of freelance myths. Some of them are benign misconceptions, either of unawareness or they just don’t understand how it works.
Meanwhile, others are willfully ignorant or just plain condescending. At first, I used to be really offended at these comments but after a while, it really isn’t healthy to seethe in anger. And with some people, it’s not that they don’t understand, it’s because they refuse to understand.
Working from home must be awesome!
One of the best perk of being in freelance is working in your pajamas. You can just wake up, put your hair in a bun, fire up your computer and go to work. Simple, right?
Wrong. You’re actually more productive if you take the time to eat, take a bath, and get dressed (even in just regular house clothes and even if it is night time). It conditions your brain to get into work mode and you’ll be more energized and productive during work hours.
Also, working from home day after day gets tiring. Imagine staring at the same four walls for an entire month. Most freelancers consider coffee shops as their office. Fast internet + good coffee + comfy chairs is an irresistable combination to us. In my experience, when I find that my ideas are getting a bit stale, I usually go out for a coffee and try to work for a couple of hours outside. A change of scenery is always good for the creative. 😉
That’s not a real job.
This one really gets me. I usually ask them, “what constitutes a “real” job then?” And then they reply with offices, benefits such as insurance and healthcare, meetings, deadlines…
It’s all relative.
We have virtual offices, client meetings and rather strict deadlines too. Heck, some freelancers I know work more than 8 hours a day. When I started out, I certainly did. It’s very easy to be on-call since you’re usually just an email away. At this day and age, it is passé to make the excuse of not having read an email. Nobody does that anymore. After a while, you learn that billing clients for your time should include those moments when you’re typing up a reply to the sixty-seventh “urgent” email on your day off.
But I digress. More on that in another post.
Certainly you can say that a (successful) freelancer usually has multiple projects and clients going at the same time. This demonstrates an ability to juggle responsibilities and meeting tight deadlines. There’s politics too, clients can play favorites and there are some evil co-workers. Same things apply, albeit in a different context.
Anybody can do it!
“So and so needs a job, could you help them out and teach them how to do your online thingy?”
Sure, I offer my help freely. But ultimately, how it turns out will be up to them. I can help them build their profiles, write effective cover letters, teach them how to look out for shady clients and find their own unique niche. But I cannot do the job for them.
I always keep saying that not everybody is built for freelance. There are some people who totally fit the criteria: lone wolves, techies, self-motivated, organized. And yet, some of them flounder and get bored at the idea of not having any collaboration with people they can interact with, face to face, on a daily basis.
Like with anything else, different strokes for different folks.