It’s crazy to think that it’s been a year since taking the leap into becoming a freelancer rather than pursuing a traditional office job. Granted, it was more out of necessity than anything, because I knew that in a few month’s time I would be moving to London and would need some sort of work to sustain me while I was there and found a different job. I was dead set on getting back into an office job for the sake of a steady paycheque, but even just the process of looking for one was making me so incredibly anxious that I knew I wouldn’t last going to one every day and taking on the burdens of someone else’s business. I tend to take things personally when it comes to success and failure and realized that I would much rather have those emotions directed to a business of my own.
In the past year, I’ve had a lot of emotional ups and downs when it comes to my freelancing business and I’m still constantly coming across something that I didn’t know before. Here are a few things that I’ve learned having worked for myself for 1 year and what I think other freelancers should know:
It’s better to learn the intricacies of filing your taxes sooner rather than later—I’ve spent way too many nights worrying about this
Prioritizing has never been more important than when you don’t have a boss breathing down your neck to get things done. I’ve had to learn to respect myself as a “grown up” and recognize that I am now the authority when it comes to the work that is produced and received by paying clients.
Finding a routine that works for you is key. Some work better in the early mornings, others in the late evenings—I work my best in the late mornings/afternoons, so I’ve learned to harness my energy and productivity for those times to get the most done.
Don’t take critique on your writing personally. While it is, technically, about your writing, clients are mostly trying to curate the tone of voice they want for their brand, not out to tear you down for your creativity. It’s important to remember that what you are producing isn’t for you, but for someone else with their own creative vision; you are merely the catalyst they need to get things going.
Days off are still important, even though you can work whenever, wherever. Having that time to spend with friends, family or your partner without having to worry about getting home to work is vital in maintaining a healthy relationship with your business and your personal life.
Get out of the house! I was initially so excited at the thought that I could just work from home everyday, but now I realize how necessary it is to experience fresh air and the energy of others around you. Isolation isn’t always the best for creativity, so take some time to leave your “office” and experience the real world.
Don’t get too comfortable with making your own schedule. There were times where I knew that I could work whenever I wanted to and kept procrastinating, saying I would get to the work at the last possible moment. That only caused more anxiety than necessary and didn’t help in producing the best work that I could.
Being open to new opportunities is important. As a freelance writer, you can write for any industry that needs someone who has a way with words, so don’t turn them down because they aren’t what you envisioned. There is always the chance to hone your skills in a different way and find what works best for you, even if it’s not what you initially thought you’d be doing. Never in a million years did I think I would be writing for a software company and an apartment letting company, but I’m glad I took the opportunities because they have helped grow my business.