By Karin Beery
When you tell people you do freelance work, they usually have one of two reactions—jealousy (because you’re free!) or pity (because you can’t find a real job). Regardless of how they react, most of the time it’s because they don’t really know what it means to work freelance. Here are a few misconceptions about freelance work:
- You’re your own boss. Technically yes, but honestly you work for whoever will hire you. You want to make sure you have your own set of professional standards and guidelines, but if push comes to shove, it’s sometimes worth it to let your clients boss you around (a little).
- You can make your own schedule. Again, technically true, but not always. My clients are all over the world. Sometimes I need to speak with people on the West Coast or in Europe. Since I’m working for them, I’m the one who gets up early or stays up late. So yes, I make my own schedule, but it’s not usually a normal schedule.
- Anyone can do it. Anyone with a will to do it can do it, but it’s not as easy as getting a client’s file and doing the work. You need to find that client (and others), write a winning bid, work them into your schedule (because you’re often working with one or more person at a time), check your deadlines, track your invoices, collect your payments, organize this, organize that—there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work involved. You can do it, but you have to be dedicated to make it all work.
- Freelance work is easier than a “real” job. First, re-read #3. When you’re just starting out, you probably can’t afford a marketing team, bookkeeper, and blog writer. You’re doing it all, and very few people are talented in all of those areas. That means you’re doing what you love, but you’re also doing the necessary things (which you may hate). It’s all on you. That’s not necessarily easier.
- Freelance work isn’t a “real” job. Just because I can set my own hours and work from remote locations doesn’t mean I’m not working. And, frankly, to imply otherwise is both arrogant and ignorant. “Real” jobs are not Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. jobs. “Real” jobs are where you do the work and get paid. Location and hours don’t matter.
- Freelance workers can’t find “real” jobs. On the contrary, many freelance workers quit their office jobs to pursue freelance work. With the freedom to work from anywhere, accept or refuse jobs, and work during whichever hours are most productive for you, why chain yourself to someone else’s routine? It’s not that we can’t—it’s that we don’t want to.
Owner of Write Now Editing and Copywriting Services, Karin Beery specializes in fiction and professional business copy. She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the American Christian Writers Association. A Christian Proofreaders and Editors Network member, she is the Substantive Editing for Fiction instructor for the PEN Institute. Karin is represented by literary agent Steve Hutson at Word Wise Media. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, or at her website, www.karinbeery.com.