As I type what would be later fleshed out to become this post, my desire is to be as sincere as possible, to represent freelancers’ thoughts and mindsets.
The truth, is that cash, or should I say cashflow… is very important. If you are a freelancer, who gets paid solely when work is done and not necessarily at the end of the month, you’re probably nodding your head as you think about the importance of cash(flow). I tell you, we are no strangers to the concept of working really hard to make more money as well as all other things associated with this.
Just yesterday, I was already out on what was supposed to be a ‘fun date’ when an ‘urgent’ job came in. After I had grumbled for a while, the businesswoman in me made a few calculations and discovered that taking the job would be worth it! Don’t forget I said I was on a ‘fun date’. I had to bribe my date with… (no, I’m not gonna tell you what I bribed him with) while I brought out my laptop and began to type for a while. Turns out we were in a cool location so I could do that without getting vibes of being a ‘wierdo’ from passersby.
Why did I launch into this story? Well, because I want you to know that we are in this together. We sometimes choose more work and more money over other important aspects of our lives and I tell you, it can be a real battle. While battling these sorts of choices, here are a few tips I have found to help:
1. Remember that you are a person first, before being a freelancer
Yep, your job is very important, but have you heard about work-life balance/ work-life integration? This tends to be a problem for freelancers because many of us are super-passionate about what we do (at least, I can say this for myself and a couple of freelancers that I know), unlike in other careers where you can ‘fake’ passion to get into the profession and then lose that fake passion after a while.
This advantage/strength of being passionate can actually become a weakness when we allow ourselves to be lost in freelancing for so long that we forget one vital thing: WE ARE ALSO PEOPLE. Yes, freelancing is deeply woven into the fabric of your life, but before you became a freelancer, guess what? You were a person. And you still are a person. Why is an appreciation of this fact important? First off, if you don’t reiterate this fact to yourself, you might find out that you are losing a chunk of your life to freelancing, you no longer know who you are and all you now do is eat freelancing, drink freelancing, dream freelancing, and then some more! While this is truly cute to know for those who would hire you to create the magic that you’re known for, how cute is that for those who surround you- your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse (if you have one, otherwise get one!), your friends, and other people who are important to you?
I often think about how my kids would react to a freelancing mother who can’t get her eyes off her PC long enough to attend to their needs and instead, makes them do things by themselves all the time. I hope I never get to be that kind of mother. The concept of freelancing is for you to be FREE to choose what to do and what not to do, not for you to get more bogged up with work than someone who is in a traditional work setting.
2. Stop telling yourself that it’ll be your last time; it won’t
How many times have I told myself that I’d shut down my PC once its 11pm, or that I’ll never give into the urge to open it as soon as I wake up every day? Seriously, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve done that. Each time, I tell myself the same old story… “Hey don’t worry girl, this is definitely going to be the last time you do it”, but just like someone who’s addicted to cocaine (Ehm, I hope you aren’t), it never is the last time. You just go on and on, doing it over and over again.
You know, I think it’ll be sad for us to look back and discover that all we ever did was make a living while freelancing. That’s one of the reasons people leave their regular jobs right? We can’t afford to fall into that same trap as individuals who mostly decide our own work hours and everything in between, because then, we wouldn’t have the boss to blame, we would have ourselves to blame.
Raising a glass to finding that balance between work and life!
P.S: Freelancers, any tips for doing both: making a living and having a life simultaneously? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section.