Today I woke up around 9:30 am. I sauntered downstairs, made a cup of tea and went to my laptop. I wrote a couple of lines, answered some emails and then continued to waft around the house watching daytime television, had a couple of naps and helped myself to a few gin and tonics in the afternoon as I sat in the garden, sunning myself.
This is the life of a freelance writer. This is a complete lie.
I have survived my first week of work as a freelance writer. It's early days, but the reality is very different from the preconceptions I and others hold.
I'm not going to commence with a diatribe about how tough my life is. I'm lucky. I love my job, I love the freedom of working from home and being my own boss. It works well for me and I have found myself asking - why didn't I do this sooner?
There are many reasons why I could not have survived as a freelance writer until now. I've also received quite a few contradictory comments about being a freelance writer. Let's go over them now:
1. I should have done this years ago
No. The years of experience I have built up as a research scientist, science journalist, a technology writer, and web developer give me a strong skill set and extensive contacts list. If I'd tried this track any sooner, I would not have had the know-how, confidence and stability to go it alone.
Every individual is, erm, an individual so it depends on your business model and level of experience. Now is the perfect time to start my business. Find the time that works for you and run with it.
2. I'm a lady of leisure
This one does make me laugh. The concept that setting up your own business, finding work, maintaining that business and doing the odd bit of writing takes time and commitment.
If I did just sit on my bottom all day then I will fail. It can be difficult to resist the urge to switch on the television, pick up a book or do a little DIY. I have a rule: 'if it's unacceptable in the corporate office, it's unacceptable in the home office'.
3. I will be rushed off my feet
Yes, I will - and that's what I'm working bloody hard to achieve. One of my primary motivations to set up as a freelance writer is to spend more time with my family and have a better work/life balance. Goodbye to the commute and hello to a more flexible way of working.
But I want to be swamped with work and for my business to go as far as is possible. I want to have a busy business and to be rushed off my feet - that's a sign of success, not a sign of failure.
4. I will struggle to find work
This was one of my biggest fears when shifting to freelance. I'm happy to say that the opposite has been true so far.
The freelance life is very much one of famine or feast. I am in the honeymoon period. I'm at the feast and stuffing my face with interesting work - it's brilliant. If I do struggle to find work I have a number of contingency plans in place and I am building up a cash reserve for those rainy days.
What comments and bizarre assumptions have you heard about freelancers? I'd love to know - please share in the comments below!
Hello. I'm the freelance writer who gets tech. So, I blog on three core topics:
Science and Technology
And I explain science with Lego in Sunday Science.
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