Five popular myths about freelancing debunked

Considering going freelancing (or been put off the idea) based on things you’ve heard about it? Here are five of the most popular myths about freelancing debunked.

When you tell people that you freelance for a living, you usually get one of two responses. People either envy your perceived freedom to do what you want, when you want, without a boss breathing down your neck.

Or they come back with a common misconception about freelancing; one that’s probably stopping them from seeking the same freedom you’re now enjoying.

The reality is that freelance can be the perfect work arrangement, especially for a mum who wants to fit her hours and commitments around her family. But it also has a number of realities you need to be aware of before resigning from your secure job.

So, in case you’re put off freelancing by an inaccurate myth, or considering embarking on a freelance career for the wrong reason (see ‘working in pyjamas’), here are some of the most common statements I’ve heard in my first two years of full-time freelancing – and the realities behind them.

1) Freelancing isn’t reliable

Although this tends to differ from person to person, the majority of freelancers that I’ve spoken with have extolled the benefits of freelancing for the opposite of this! Because, while it depends on your field of work, freelancing can usually be very steady in an unsteady work environment.

As a freelancer, you can work for multiple clients and multiple contracts. All seasoned freelancers will tell you that by having multiple clients, it makes it easier keep the work flowing and keep the money coming in, giving you some peace of mind over your finances.

In fact, most freelancers are able to take on multiple projects at once. And while it’s true that projects come and go, if you work at building a consistent roster of clients, it’s extremely unlikely that all of them will go a in different direction at the same time.

The trick to making your freelance career a success is to always remember that you’ll have periods of ups and downs, but as long as you have saved and planned accordingly, you’ll be fine.

2) You can wear pyjamas to work

The struggle is oh-so real. If we’re being honest, sometimes the urge to not even get dressed in the morning is strong. When you’re getting up at your own pace and going about your day, especially if you don’t have to leave your house, it’s easy to gravitate towards comfy clothes.

I’m very much guilty of this. However, pyjamas are associated with sleeping and lounging, so it’s no surprise that wearing them during the day keeping you in a relaxed and sleepy mood.

While there is nothing wrong with wearing your pyjamas all day, most freelancers typically get dressed for the day as if they are headed to an office, because this allows them to feel more productive and professional.

Working from home is a luxury, but sometimes it requires discipline to maintain a professional work environment.

3) Freelancing is lonely

Another aspect of the freelancing lifestyle that draws so many people in, is the idea that you can work from home.

And while this is certainly an amazing perk, sometimes it takes a bit of effort to be social. Unlike a regular office setting, where you’re surrounded by co-workers and clients all day, you may find yourself spending more time in solitude than you may have been accustomed to in a normal 9-5.

But the truth is, successful freelancers know that networking, keeping in touch with former colleagues, working from coworking spaces, and even spending the odd morning working from a cafe if you’re craving company, is an important part of being a freelancer. As a freelancer you can be a social as you want to be.

4) It’s less stressful than a full-time career

While working for yourself comes with loads of perks, it is a common freelancing myth to think that it is LESS stressful than your normal 9-5 desk job would be.

Freelancing can be super stressful. When you are a freelancer, you are in charge of everything from marketing yourself and closing contracts, to doing the actual work and changing late payments. You are a one-woman show, and there is a lot riding on your shoulders.

5) You don’t have a boss

“I’m so jealous that you don’t have a boss!” This is one of the most common things that people say to me when they find out that I’m a full-time freelancer.

While it’s a fun concept, it is, however, not entirely true. When you work for yourself as a freelancer, you often find yourself working on several different projects at the same time, for many different people.

And while you may not have one single boss, you’ll soon notice that with each project you’ll have a handful of people with very specific ideas of how the project should be carried out – and deadlines they need your work completed by.

While it may seem like YOU are in charge, at the end of the day, your clients are still calling the shots. Juggling all these relationships can be challenging, but if executed properly it is more than worth the additional effort, and it really pays off in the long run.

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Photo by Brooke Cagle