Freelancing gives people the chance to work at their own time/schedule and pace. However, it comes with a price. Some feel bored working from the comfort of their homes as they don’t go out anymore. Also, others feel isolated for reasons only they know the answer to. But, here I share 5 of the things that I didn’t expect with freelancing at all.
Disclaimer: The list contains both positive and negative things that applies to me but not to you. Everything comes from my personal experience as a freelance (creative).
How did my freelancing start?
After graduation, I tried my luck applying to corporate/office jobs. I got into one (technical recruiter because of my HR background) however, it was not what I was looking for in the end. The environment felt different that won’t allow me to grow into the person that I want to be. After a month, I quit and filed my resignation. Then, I juggled and wrestled with the idea of pursuing further studies.
Here comes law school. With the forever pricey books and tuition, I told myself that I want to be a working student even if it will take me more time to graduate since I will be juggling a lot of things then. However, office-based jobs kept on frowning on my application just because I put in there I’m in law school. Then I had the idea of working from home. I researched where to start and what pieces of equipment should I have. After a while, I pushed on with being an online English tutor. School started and I scheduled my classes in the afternoon while I teach at night. Pay wasn’t great since you have to teach a lot also in order to gain a lot. Of course, I thought of finding another way of earning. So here I go to the freelancing world.
I explored different skills that I know and evaluated myself on how to earn from it. Luckily, when starting out you may apply as a virtual assistant (VA) that’s equivalent to the administrative assistant in most office-based work. Then I did, I got one however, the very first freelance work I had scammed me. Yes, that happens too. When you think you successfully scored a client but then he/she walks away without paying you afterward, it hurts. So, it motivated me to continue striving to find another client. Luckily, I did. She’s kind and taught me a lot of things when it comes to small businesses. With her, I learned to explore more of my skills in design, administrative tasks, and content writing.
Fast forward to now
I started way back in 2014 to make freelancing as one of my main sources of income. Again, totally didn’t expect with freelancing to stick with me. Aside from selling our products (postcards, crafted notebooks, stickers), I kept on pursuing further studies with it until I finally told myself to stop. It took a while before I fully turned my back on law school. But, I did not have any regrets at all. In fact, I’m happy that my books found new owners who will use them and benefit a lot from them.
Moving forward, during the course of my experience, it consists of mainly content writing & editing, virtual assistance, and tidbits of graphic design. You see, I graduated with a business degree and not with a creative degree. People who know me got shocked on how my career went out for me. They did not expect that I will make a move like this. Anyway, I don’t regret anything. Everyone I met and interact with helped me with my own journey.
The realizations that I didn’t expect with freelancing
Here comes the challenging part, recounting all the things you experienced. Truth be told, some gave me some negative outlook. Others gave me great experience and also helped me build good relationships with the people I work with. Some faded away however, I kept in touch with some too.
Now, I start sharing the realizations. Again, these come from my personal experiences and may not apply to you. So, I request everyone who reads this to keep an open mind and avoid attacking people for expressing their thoughts and feelings.
#1 You face numerous risks
When you plunge into the world of freelancing, you give it your entire effort. Though, I advise differently from this. Slowly transition into doing it full-time. Of course, exploring a new area lets you find a certain level of courage that pushes you out of your comfort zone. At some point, as an extrovert (ENFJ) myself, it helped learned more about communicating with other people even though virtually.
Some other risks that you encounter in going through this path:
- Loss of a stable source of income as it differs from the usual corporate jobs. Income from freelancing depends on the client you work with. Some pay at once, others after the project. Then some just don’t pay at all. Recounting my experience then, I didn’t expect with freelancing to happen.
- Learning a lot of skills that seem new to you. You got used to writing for so long, however when you try out freelancing for the very first time you get asked if what other things you do. This calls for the time to try out learning SEO which helps a lot with content writing.
- Investing in your machine. Freelancers or remote workers use their laptops or desktop computers their entire lives. We always fear that our machines may break if we stop upgrading or buy a lower version.
- Availing a high-speed internet connection. A risk that every remote worker or freelancer faces as the internet in a third world country always disappoints us in so many ways. Different internet service providers always promise people like me but never delivers fully.
The list goes on and you go along the journey. It challenges you to manage your time depending on the deadlines and the work load given. Of course, a number of tools help you with it.
Some of the tools to help you:
#2 Meet a lot of people from different points in the world
Freelancers meet a lot of people from different walks of life. Clients meet freelancers through portals such as Online Jobs PH or even Upwork. When freelancers start working with their clients, they get in touch through different communication apps. They share their lives may it be personal or professional. At some point, it helps them to overcome social awkwardness and build their confidence among themselves.
#3 Rude work ethics and poor treatment
Meeting different clients both in the real and virtual world lets you observe how people treat other people. Some undermine the skills of people like me who live in a third world country. They get the image that just because some lives in a third world country, they don’t get access to education.
I encountered two (2) companies who hire freelancers who treat people differently. These two emulate a corporate setting which most freelancers carefully analyze. Some went freelancing to avoid or get away from the toxicity in the office. However, that toxicity now lurks in the virtual world. A number of clients rudely talk or treat their freelancers, however, some build really good working relationships with them. My latest work experience made me hate a portion of freelancing. I didn’t expect that they would treat someone like that. Imagine, you filed properly for resignation and abided with the rules and regulations. However, in just a snap like Thanos, you get removed and you still made the first the move. The toxicity stemmed from who knows what. So what I say to you, don’t sacrifice your mental health for shit like that.
So, save yourselves when you feel something wrong going on!
#4 Some just really haggle your fee
Some foreign companies or clients find freelancers to do the work for them. This becomes great for us because we get work more and also develop our skills. However, one of the nasty realizations I have is some clients haggle or give you low fee. Of course, you want to earn enough so you continue learning and developing what you know. Some just don’t see it that way. They will tell you that the pay will only be like this because they are a small company. Now, some are being truthful about it others are not. Make sure you know how to differentiate and to read the signals about this.
Fight for what you know should be your salary range. If one work isn’t enough, find other sources of income! Create a multiple income stream!
#5 Liberty of managing your time
When you go freelance, you get the chance to manage and work at your time. However, some clients or employers set a fixed shift for you and you adjust to it. Most of the freelancers I know usually work at night because their clients are abroad. Others work during the day. However, some clients let us work at our convenience as long as we produce what’s expected of us.
The challenging part of it comes from pushing yourself to be productive as most of the time you work from your home. It feels so comfortable just sitting on your bed or even working in the kitchen. I get tempted every single time to just work from my bed. However, that just makes me unproductive. One of the ways to beat it, create your own workspace or office in your own home. This beats the lazy bug and helps you start your day and accomplish your tasks. Plus, it helps you feel legit if you make yourself your own desk. Right?
Freelancing doesn’t have a one size fits all formula. Things differ depending on the person and how do they deal with things. Remember to find your own formula and from there, everything just grows. It takes perseverance and also a lot of work to flourish in the field but remember to satisfy yourself too.