Self Employment - Lavish, Lucrative, and Lonely.
‘Ding Ding’, goes my phone.
“Hey Elliot, can you do me a favour tonight?”
“Hey Elliot, let’s hang.”
“Hey Elliot, come to that thing you said you were definitely coming too.”
“I’m super sorry, I’m working.” — said every message in my sent box ever.
You probably don’t need to carry on reading this if you’re self employed. Infact, I’m 90% sure you’re chuckling smugly to yourself knowing how it feels to let almost every member of your social group down 99% of the time.
Since the year 2011, I’ve been solely dependent on a self-employed living. A living that has a Hollywood ring to it. The end goal, if you will.
Ups, yes. Downs, yes. Stability in between, absolutely not.
Yes ok, so technically I can get out of bed on my own terms. I can start work on my own terms. I can go to bed, take time off, party, holiday, and all that good stuff on my own terms. Right?
You’ve probably guessed where I’m going with this…
We freelance initially because we decide to work on our own initiative. We have dreams of perhaps one day running an entity of our own, and sometimes freelancers just freelance to allow themselves a certain quality of life that removes them from the restraints of payroll.
But to really excel in the profession, to really get the frequent work, the money at the end of the month, we have to retain a level of consistency in our day to day. After all, our clients are likely to be businesses with workers on payroll, attending their offices during working hours. So the freedom of the kingdom myth, FALSE. Well, much of the time it is.
Let me iterate words that you probably didnt expect to read after the above, I absolutely, positively, LOVE freelancing. I was born to be my own boss, and I have learnt a multitude of practices that I’m certain I would never have learnt working solely for a company. And yes, this is regardless of the getting up early / late to accommodate clients in Australia/Canada/America, regardless of the complete lack of social life, and regardless of the not knowing where you’re going to be in a years time. It’s a brave old leap, but the end goal is the wind in your sails.
One of the cruel parts of it is your social life.
Your freelance sector may completely differ to mine and others, but I can sure as shit guarantee your social life as a freelancer will be hurt. A lot.
The novelty of going out on the weekend has especially effected me. Living close to London, I’m often invited by clients and friends to join group events in the City, which I can’t remember the last time I was able to do. And the horrible thing is even after their ability to give you so much of their time, the gruelling task of explaining to your friends and family why you’re slowly but surely disappearing from your social circle because of your dedication to your work, and not able to return the novelty.
It. Is. Lonely.
The drive? Simple.
As a recently married man, I deem myself at the very stage of grasping my long-term future by the horns. I want to create a world in which I can see my unborn children grow up, and my wife and I enjoy a comfortable lifestyle. Holidays? Yes! So long as I book them months in advance, a thousand times yes!
I believe that my complete social negligence will effectively guarantee a work / life balance when I’ve hit my light at the end of the tunnel. Like most, I didnt learn to code and design products just for a little stability. I want to be at the top, and of course believe I can be at the top. I’m starting to draft time into my schedule to help introduce a healthy lifestyle into my day to day (desk belly has been knocking on the door for some time now), and I certainly plan to try and make time to be socially active with my loved ones. The alcohol and pub trips every so often I’m considering quitting altogether, but we’ll save that for another jaded narrative.
Freelancing isn’t a walk in the park. Whatever your direction, be the best. And if it reduces time spent with your social circle, the goodun’s will respect your reasons.
Laugh, Cry, Create. Dance the freelance.