There are a lot of myths about freelancing. Most centre around the idyllic lifestyle us freelancers are supposed to enjoy as we drift from coffee shop to coffee shop. Hardly any mention that most of us work extremely hard to sustain that lifestyle (and that it doesn’t always include coffee shops, boo!).
Here are five myths that I sometimes wish were true…
Freelancers don’t have to answer to anyone
Working on your own doesn’t mean you work in a total bubble. I may not have a line manager to report to, but I do have clients. The relationship may work differently, but those clients set deadlines, require work from me and hold me accountable in a very similar way.
Freelancers watch TV all day
Erm, no. Sorry. Though we freelancers do have more freedom to set our own breaks (and better access to the TV during them) we do actually have to get our work done. Though in theory it’s nice to imagine sitting on the sofa all day and marathoning Nashville/Game of Thrones/Scandal, in reality I imagine it would lose it’s novelty pretty quickly, especially when the work stopped coming in.
Freelancers have some magical way of motivating themselves
When I talk to employed people about being self-employed, many of them assume I must have some huge secret that keeps me motivated. The truth is that my motivation comes from pretty much the same place as theirs: a) I love what I do, and B) if I don’t work I don’t get paid. Sometimes I like to turn this one around and point out that their motivation seems pretty impressive to me: ‘you mean, you actually make the effort to leave the house in order to go to work?!’
Freelancers are desperate for a chat during the day
Yes, it’s nice to have colleagues. Yes, it’s nice to have a chat now and again during the working day. Most freelancers, however, are not sitting around feeling lonely during office hours. Instead, you’ll usually find us getting stuck in with whatever project we’re in the middle of. Let me tell you: chatting may be fun but you get an awful lot more done without it.
Freelancers earn a lot more money
Though freelancers definitely have the potential to earn more than their employed counterparts, sadly there’s no guarantee. Many of us are able to command a higher hourly fee from clients than we would from an employer, but it’s key to keep in mind that not all our work is billable. We have to find time for tasks like administration, finances and marketing on top of our client work and we don’t get paid for any of that.
Better go, I’m off for a TV session in my pyjamas. Oh, wait…