Does the ‘Free’ in Freelancer Mean True Independence?
Looking for more freedom and independence in life? Make sure you set the terms in your freelancing career
If you’re considering making the jump from employee to freelancer, are you looking for more freedom and a better work/life balance? Greater control over your life is certainly enticing, and freelancing appears to offer exactly that.
After all, as a professional freelancer, don’t you set the rules of how, when and where you work, which jobs you take on, and how much you get paid?
You don’t work as an employee anymore, so surely the ‘free’ in freelancer does mean true independence.
Or does it?
No more bosses?
If you’re not careful about how you set up your freelance business and deal with clients, you could simply swap one boss for a multitude just waiting to tell you how to operate and when to work.
If you take on clients who treat you as an employee and expect you to constantly be available at a moment’s notice, you might as well rejoin the ranks of the employed.
To make sure you benefit from the freedom freelancing offers, you need to be clear in your own mind about how you’ll run your business.
Once you’ve decided that, you can educate potential clients and customers by letting them know:
- Your office opening times
- The hours you’re available for calls
- How long you’ll take to reply to emails
Do this by putting together a welcome pack when you start working with them, including any information that helps you work on your terms whilst also being responsive and providing an excellent service.
Make freelancing work for you
Build in some space during your working day or week so you can respond to clients rather than react — your blood pressure, digestive system, and nervous system will all thank you.
Effectively you’re setting the tone for how you’re treated — in other words, as a professional person running their own business, and not a member of staff.
The problem is that sometimes clients don’t understand or acknowledge that their work is only part of the big picture for you.
As a freelancer you also need time for marketing, invoicing, networking, and all the other minutiae that running a successful freelance business involves.
Freelancing as a way of life
Some freelancers prefer a strict working routine similar to that in the workplace, staying focused and motivated from 9–5.
This is great for some, but doesn’t work for everybody.
The beauty of freelancing is that if you want to, you can make your work more of a way of life.
Whether that means burning the midnight oil or starting work early every day, you’re no longer completely restricted by someone else’s schedule and can work when you’re most productive.
One of the downsides of a being a freelancer is the difficulty in switching off — everyone you meet becomes a potential client.
But that’s a small price to pay for the extraordinary freedom and independence this lifestyle offers to those able to take the jump from employee to freelancer.