Freelancing for me isn’t just about looking for short-term work. There’s a whole lot of adventure down the freelancing road, a journey that only a true freelancer can endure and understand: battles against distraction, the hunt for unpaid invoices,etc
For me the freelance lifestyle is built on the idea of having more time to do what I love. It is about freedom to work from home, be your own boss or to have the flexibility to travel when I want.
As a freelancer I try to create a work life reality that fits my own expectations and unique circumstances.
1. My new office attire
The temptation to not get dressed can be huge when there’s no dress code to adhere to and no one to get dressed for. As a freelancer , I burnt My suit, briefcase and even my shoes, all I need now is a laptop, an endless supply of coffee and the same pajamas I slept in last night.
But I like to be causally dressed while working as the clothes I am wearing has a huge impact on the way our brains perceive the role that we’re filling. So I like to wear colourful clothes which I am comfortable in. During client meetings I am formally dressed. For all the other times I like to be casually dressed.
2. Work on the go…
The best part about my freelancing is that i have combined multiple businesses together. I try my level best to interweave them into each other. I take care that none of them get affected because of other.
My laptop and other gadgets are always with me when I travel, thus I can manage having a right balance of work and pleasure.
3. Salary increases and everything is taken care of…
I had to build up on my experience, my networks and my client base before I could even think about being a freelancer.
It’s hard work, and in the beginning it used all my energy but I had to stay afloat and keep the work coming in while I got my name out there.
I didn’t start making money from the very beginning, so one has to ensure that they have savings to cover at least a few months or more as a precautionary measure.
4. It’s less stressful than working for someone else
As a freelancer I am running my own small business. This means I am my company’s accountant, sales person, project manager and CEO.
5. I am the BOSS….
I am a freelancer – I am my own boss now, right?
I may not have one single boss anymore, but I have soon noticed that instead I have a handful of mini-bosses – my new clients – each with a very specific idea of how that project should be carried out.
The only privilege that I have is that if I have a particularly unreasonable client then I have the absolute right to turn that project down. This is a definite privilege of freelancing that can never be enjoyed when working as a regular employee
6. My time is my own
Working for myself can mean that I am never going to be able to fully switch off from work, which could mean my work eats a lot more of my personal time than an office job might without me even noticing it.
I have realised that there is no going home at the end of the day and I can’t just work ‘normal hours’ but it’s 24-7 at times.
Just because I work from home doesn’t mean I am open 24 hours a day. I try and set up reasonable expectations that I can live up to all the time with my clients.
7. More time for my friends
I am a freelancer but my friends are still in their office jobs and the only time that I can catch up with them is holidays or after work. But due to uncertainty of work, I cannot actually know before hand about the work that I may get.
I end up spending a lot of time with freelancers or my pet as they are the only people who are available.
8. Charge less to win over clients
As a freelancer I am competing against other freelancers for jobs. Over a period of time I have realised that customers pay for and look for quality.
Another good method which I followed was during my corporate job – I worked on small projects for my friends and relatives so they had an idea about my work.
9. My movable office
I had the option of renting an office but then I thought otherwise. I made a promise to myself that I will not get myself trapped in between office walls for the rest of my life. With this in my mind, I started finding my own space where I was comfortable working. I started meeting clients in cafeterias, restaurants and added a new outlook to the meetings. In return got to visit new places and travel a lot.
You will see that my office can be anywhere possible where I feel comfortable and can get my work done.
10. Automation, a MUST
Being in the field of web development, it’s no surprise that I have to be highly automated to keep track of my work, schedule, deadlines, projects, communication, etc. You will always find me with my laptop and other technology gadgets which keep me connected to my work.
I like to detach from them from time to time so that I do not become a slave to technology and work.
11. More time to cook
I love to cook and try new dishes every now and then. Freelancing has greatly helped me develop as a better cook than before.
From making salads, starters, main course dishes and lot more. I love spending some extra time in the kitchen.
12. More time with family
The biggest advantage of freelancing is that you get to spend a lot of time with your family. I love being pampered by my family as I end up spending lot of time with them.
13. Stress-free travelling
I love travelling but traveling to work during peak hours was my worst nightmare. But now, I have got the flexibility of travelling to places which are less crowded for a meeting and arrange the timings of the meetings so that I don’t end up being stuck in the traffic.
Being in Mumbai and having the choice at most of the times to avoid getting stuck in traffic during peak hours is one of the greatest boons.
After a while, if you’re good, the work will find you – but in the early days I had some horrible gaps during which I felt the cold breath of unemployment at my neck.
A freelance programmer’s life can be a hell and a heaven, it depends on how well you manage it.
So, now you know the truth about freelancing which I am personally undergoing! Think you need some more advice on getting that career off the ground? You can drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for any inputs and suggestions.
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