Everytime I meet some one and they ask what I do, and I say I’m a freelancer. The usual reply I get were.
“Oh My, so shiok, you get to wake up any time you want right?”
“wah. shiok la.. no limited number of leaves”
“wah no boss breathing down your neck…”
Or when I complain about work, they will be like.
“wah liao.. you work from home also got things to complain…”
It’s a bit sad as people who are not freelancing will not understand.
1. We get to wake up ANY TIME we want.
I wake up when my clients start working… Which is roughly about 9am. The only upside is that the time I take to wash up and travel to work is about 2 min?
And I don’t have to shower.. But anyway, as I was saying, I don’t wake up anytime I want. And I will need to work about 7-8 hours a day, with 15 min lunch break in between. I do know some other freelancers who work at night and have a more flexible schedule, but having a fixed schedule helps to keep me disciplined and organized.
Having a regular office hour timing makes me somewhat more dependable as well. For example, If my client has some urgent job that they need to do, they will be able to find me. Because if they can’t find me, they will look for another designer and I would have lost that business.
2.We get to travel ANY TIME and AS MANY TIME as we want.
Well, I don’t print money, so I can’t travel “as many times as I want” and secondly, I need to be accountable to my clients. I can’t just DISAPPEAR anytime I want. I will need to notify my clients about my travel schedules. For short travels, like 3 -4 days, usually I will have to inform my clients 3-4 weeks in advance. And longer travels like a week or more, usually I will inform them 2-3 months in advance because people tend to forget unimportant stuff. Me going overseas is not important to them until they need me to work on something urgently.
Plus, because I work by myself, I can’t just “switch off” my work and not check emails, especially on long trips. As Singaporeans have a saying, I don’t have anyone to cover my backside. Whilst this can prevent you from having a relaxing getaway, it’s sometimes nice to take your work and do it somewhere else. However, it isn’t easy to switch off on holiday.
So usually I would like my vacation to fall on long weekends or the Christmas season, where everyone is on holiday mood. So the number of emails and phone calls I get will be at its minimum.
3. I am my own boss, nobody breaths down my neck when I work
Sure I am my own boss as I set the price and deal with the clients directly. But I am accountable to all my clients, THEY will breathe down my neck from time to time, they will ask things like what your boss will ask.
“Is the brochure done?”
“How long more you need to do this?”
“would you be able to do this faster?”
comes to you at 6pm and ask you to work on a brochure which they need by tomorrow.
So pretty much it’s the same as having a boss.
4. I can choose to work for 3 hours, and then go to the gym or shopping during office hours.
Again, I don’t print money. I work for a living. Assuming I really do work for 3 hours a day, and maybe 4 days a week, that would only be 12 hours for a week. Which means the number of projects that I can take in is VERY limited. And if I do that, I will not be able to survive…
It is just common sense, If I want to earn more money, I would need more working hours.
5. I get to choose my clients
This is true, and false at the same time, depending on your situation.
If you are just starting out, seriously speaking, take in what ever jobs that you can, even if the project (or client) does not inspire you at all. Cause you will need all the experience AN MONEY that you can get. “One must understand the meaning of business, which is an organisation or economic system where goods and services are exchanged for another or for money. Every Business requires some form of investment and enough customers to whom its output can be sold on a consistent basis in order to make a profit.“
taken from: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/business.html#ixzz4COAeTkZS
But if you are already busy with work, then, of course, don’t overwhelm yourself.
All in all, working freelance has its perks of course. Like, if you need to visit the doctor regularly for some health issue, you can. you won’t have to worry that it will max out your leaves and have the best health care that you can get for yourself. Or if you have aging parents who need you to bring them to the doctor, you can. Or if you have kids at home and you want to be around for them, you can. Of course, there are some companies that promote work-life balance and have some sort of flexibility when it comes to applying for leave, but not all companies are like that. Which kind of sucks when you really need to take more than 14 days of leaves a year.
So, never assume that a freelancer’s life is easier than yours.