Real Talk: Why I Wouldn’t Go Freelance

I’ve really been umming and ahhing about creating a post about freelancing, but a few of you have requested that I talk about my experience so I wanted to outline the negatives and positives of my time freelancing, and why I’m back to working full time.

freelance advice 3Jacket: Zara
Jumper: H&M

*UPDATE*
I just wanted to re-iterate that my experience freelancing was purely freelance writing/editing. It’s all I have had experience in, and I’m not saying all freelance experiences are bad, or it’s not worth it, but I’m describing what went wrong with me and how you could do it better.

Just to paint a picture for you guys— back in May I was unhappy with my job, feeling pretty unfulfilled and just a little stuck really. I felt like my job was having a negative impact on my mental health too, and made the decision to leave without having a job to move on to (you can read about my experience HERE) I’d talked to several people who were working freelance about what it was like, and what was the best course of action, and in the end I took the leap.

Immediately afterwards I felt super liberated and excited to start a new chapter of my life—an increasing number of us are really affected by the stresses of working so many hours with little to show for it. We’re quite often just working to pay the rent.

freelance advice 6Beret: Aliexpress
Wig: KoKo Couture

Why I Went Freelance
I was living back at my parents when I decided to go freelance (otherwise I wouldn’t have dared taken the leap!). I had a brilliant support system and didn’t need to worry about bills, and I had spoken to my parents about what I wanted to do beforehand, to make sure they were comfortable with it—all of these factors hugely influenced my largely spontaneous decision.
Another problem arose with my writing career in general: the fact that no-one outside the fashion industry wanted to employ me because they assumed that was all I wanted to do/was interested in talking about—I thought by going freelance and tackling different topics, I’d be able to show my range as an editor.

freelance advice 4Trousers: Topshop

The Good Bits
Freelance was incredibly freeing, as it’s name suggests. I could choose what time to get up, where to work from, whether to get dressed (all day pjs was a situation for a while). The time I’d spent travelling to London was suddenly spent writing on my blog, taking pictures and generally chilling out, it was amazing. I felt less tired, I could control my diet. I suddenly had time to go to the gym, meditate, go for a walk.

The Not-So-Good Bits
I’m not going to lie, I miss freelancing every day. The amount of free time I had meant I could fully focus on my blog and my Instagram come Halloween-time, I definitely wouldn’t have been able to do all those looks otherwise… but there were downsides. The biggest thing was the lack of work. Maybe I was looking in the wrong places, or wasn’t prepared enough, but the summer was sooooo slow for work— I rarely had more than three clients at once. I’m not trying to say this will be the same for you, but I didn’t have too much dollar to fall back on, so found the warmer months a bit of a pinch.

freelance advice

Loneliness was another issue. I felt like my day consisted of waiting for everyone to get home from work! I had my cat and even though I didn’t miss the office environment, I don’t feel like it made me feel better to be alone. Another preconception I had would be that I thought all that extra time would make me more sociable—I kinda didn’t want to go out at all a lot of the time, and although I attended blogger events, I would largely be alone and go straight home afterwards.
When you’re not working from home, there’s a lot more of structure too. If you have your own office then brilliant, but I had to use my parent’s dining room table as a makeshift office which often made it super hard to switch off.

One last thing (and probably the most important thing!) was pay. A lot of different clients had different time periods they would pay you. While some had a standard 30 day-period before pay, others took up to three months, and one of my clients paid me on the day!!

freelance advice 2

How You Can Do It Better Than Me
I don’t think I can put it more bluntly than this- you HAVE to save. Having some spare cash (or a lot of spare cash) can really help out with those slow months where there really isn’t much work. Put yourself out there, apply for jobs each and every day, and build up a client base. Be outgoing, believe in yourself, and persistence is key— having those reliant clients that come back to you time and time again makes for more stable income, so show them you care.
When it comes to pay, be vigiliant. Establish that you want to be paid within 30 days, or at the end of each week, and make them sign to confirm. Always send them what they owe you in a tidy invoice and an extra tip would be not to give them a Paypal account over your bank account—I’ve been caught out a few times with Paypal taking a percentage of the money that’s being transferred.

Another bit of advice would be that if you have multiple talents, utilise and advertise them. You’ll have a better chance of succeeding if you’re not only a writer, but have worked in marketing, social media, etc. I was only really looking at writing as I felt I was a little behind with my knowledge on current social analytics tools— this could have also contributed to my failure!

In hindsight, the thing that scared me most was failing, and that’s why I’m back working full time. I grew afraid when I ended up sitting indoors day in day out, staring at my inbox with no replies from the 50+ freelance applications I’d sent out. Kayle and I are saving, and I felt it incredibly unfair that while he was putting money away, I was unable to give the same because I wasn’t earning nearly enough.

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I will never rule out freelance and would love to do it again at some point in my life, and I definitely know how I could do it better. I really hope this post has helped you guys realistically weigh up pros and cons of taking the leap. Let me know if you have any other questions.

Pictures: Emilina Love

 

 

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24 Comments

  1. November 17, 2017 / 1:16 pm

    I really enjoyed this post Maria! I see people talking about freelancing all the time and always feel a bit jealous but this post has shown me that it’s not always greener on the other side!

    Jess
    alrightblondie.com

    • lifewithmariaeva
      November 17, 2017 / 1:56 pm

      Thanks Jess, definitely not. I wanted to highlight the good AND the bad. A lot of people think it’s the dream and it is if it works, but sometimes it unfortunately doesn’t.

  2. November 17, 2017 / 1:27 pm

    I’ve just started freelancing two weeks and I can safely say I’m experiencing all of the same issues, only I have a mortgage to pay for so the pressure is on that little bit more. The heat is something that will force me into getting clients, so sometimes the stress can push your boundaries a bit which is happening to me and I’m finding it liberating because I’m learning so much! But I’m just going to stay persistent with it because blogging is ultimately what I want to do so it’s good to have a clear end vision to get you through! I need to give it a good few months to see where it leads me.

    • lifewithmariaeva
      November 17, 2017 / 1:55 pm

      Yas Kumba! I actually put your latest blog post into my newsletter because I found it so refreshing and honest- loving your blog! I feel like it also depends on what you’re doing- so say for marketing you might find a lot more than I did for just writing- might add that in actually as I realised I didnt specify it was just about freelance writing, hehe!
      thanks for the comment Kumba x

  3. November 17, 2017 / 2:54 pm

    This is a really useful and helpful post! I’ve never considered freelance, but I use to put so much effort into my blog getting opportunities etc, but then for me personally I realised working and studying is what I need to do for my future and my blog is my hobby. I think for me it’ll stay this way, not everything works for everyone so I totally understand you going back full time (even if one day you might freelance again).

    Thanks for sharing xx

    sophieannetaylor.com

    • lifewithmariaeva
      November 20, 2017 / 11:08 am

      I think it’s amazing in itself that you are studying AND running a blog. When I was in uni blogging with monetary gain was literally unheard of and it’s so amazing how many opportunities some guys and gals have now!

  4. November 17, 2017 / 4:49 pm

    This was a great post, and I would honestly love to get more information. Where did you get the jobs that you did get? Did you use a specific website? I would love a more in-depth post on this! xxx

    Melina | http://www.ivefoundwaldo.com

    • lifewithmariaeva
      November 20, 2017 / 11:06 am

      Hey Melina, I know what you’re trying to ask, but just wanted to re-iterate in the post that although I looked on sites like Indeed, there really wasn’t much work in the UK. I saw a lot in the US so it will probably be more viable for you- but I’m defos not an expert as I didn’t succeed. I just kinda wanted to put a more realistic spin on the experience 🙂

  5. November 18, 2017 / 1:14 pm

    Great post Maria, Its good that you knew what you wanted to do & had the courage to leave your job & do it. I would ideally like to eventually get to that stage but think I am definitely along way off x

    • lifewithmariaeva
      November 20, 2017 / 11:04 am

      Thanks for reading Mariah- I think it is possible, you just have to prepare, and take everything into account.

  6. November 19, 2017 / 10:42 pm

    I completely agree with the loneliness factor. I run my own marketing/content development business from home and there are weeks that I can go the better part of the week without seeing anyone but my husband when he comes home at night lol! I have to make a point to go work in public places like coffee shops or the library some days just to get out of the house.
    Britt | http://alternativelyspeaking.ca

    • lifewithmariaeva
      November 20, 2017 / 11:03 am

      Ah so glad you agree Britt, it’s like I had more time, but was even less inclined to go out, haha!

  7. Debra-Bow Clarke
    November 19, 2017 / 11:22 pm

    This is such a great post and I found it really interesting. I would love to go freelance one day but in the mean time if you ever wrote any more in depth posts about what you did and how you did it I would 100% be down for that. I think if I lived at home I would have 100% been giving freelance a chance a long time ago but with bills I can’t chance it 🙁

    • lifewithmariaeva
      November 20, 2017 / 11:03 am

      Exactly, I think financially its fab if you can try it, but a lot of the time it’s just not viable and although I loved it, I wanted to be real about my experiences. Do hope you get the chance to do it at some point though!

  8. Terri Heckley
    November 20, 2017 / 8:24 am

    I’m self employed and work from home so I totally agree with you on the loneliness factor. However, I do find it very rewarding knowing I am my own boss and my achievements have all been made single-handedly. I totally understand it’s not for everyone though x

    • lifewithmariaeva
      November 20, 2017 / 11:01 am

      Hey Terri, I wanted to make this post as I’ve seen a few which make people seem like a dream when it really isn’t for some, especially if work is scarce. I’m obviously only talking about freelance writing here, and the difficult environment we’re in right now. I think everyone would loveeee to be their own boss, but sometimes it’s just not possible

  9. November 22, 2017 / 12:44 pm

    I’m debating on free-lancing between April and September (aka between my degree ending and possibly starting a masters or internship, or something along those lines) luckily I have a little bit of money saved up now but I still wouldn’t want to be working unless I was earning at least £250 a month from it, which I could use to replace any savings I use at the start.
    Alicia x
    http://www.aestheticobsessed.co.uk

    • lifewithmariaeva
      November 23, 2017 / 10:38 am

      Alicia I would say this is a perfect time to freelance, especially as you have a blog which you can basically use as a CV- hope you try it, it’s definitely worth it 🙂

  10. November 23, 2017 / 2:01 pm

    I love your honesty here! This really is a great helpful read

  11. November 23, 2017 / 11:34 pm

    This is a very eye-opening honest post, really enjoyed reading this x

  12. February 28, 2018 / 2:42 pm

    I’m SO glad that I found this post! I went freelance at the start of December and after one of my main clients fell through last month I’ve been left with a LOT of time to fill!

    The loneliness and lack of structure has definitely started to get to me too and I’ve started looking at full time jobs again. I can’t help but feel like this means I’ve failed but seeing your similar experience has made me feel a lot better about it!

    Jess x

    • lifewithmariaeva
      February 28, 2018 / 4:17 pm

      Hey Jess, you defo haven’t failed! I felt like this too, but whether work picks up again, or whether you decide to go full time, it’s all an experience. I feel like sometimes freelance life is glamourised and I just wanted to point out that sometimes there are negative bits about it 🙂

    • lifewithmariaeva
      March 6, 2018 / 11:11 am

      Omg yay Jess! Yes it can be so daunting and lonely. I totally get that it works for some people but for people like me it just ups my anxiety!

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