The Easy Road?
Whatever the case, it is very common for people to approach freelancing with the expectation that it represents the easy road. They think that waking up at noon and working in your pajamas is the easiest job in the world. And then, it hits them: this is a real business. This is a real job. And doing the freelance thing isn’t actually any easier than holding a conventional job. In fact, in some respects, it can be quite a bit more challenging. Perhaps that was part of the appeal in the first place.
Now that I’ve been freelancing full time for a few years, I’ve also come to another realization. When I first started, I understood that I would have hurdles to overcome and I would have goals to set (and achieve). At the same time, I understood that things would likely get easier over time, because the hardest part is getting started. As with anything else, the early stages are the most trying.
Changing Gears on the Go
That may be true, in part, but it is also very misleading. The truth of the matter is that freelancing doesn’t necessarily get any “easier” the longer you do it. Yes, you may have a better understanding of how to deal with difficult clients, how to attract new customers, and how to manage your finances, but you will face a whole new set of challenges each and every day. The job doesn’t get easier, per se; rather, it evolves with time.
It is not uncommon for me to still struggle with a lack of motivation from time to time. It’s also easy to struggle with the lack of in-person interactions that you would normally have with co-workers. And making your income goals each month can still be quite challenging, especially when outside factors are working against you in some form. You can get into a groove, to be sure, and some aspects will be easier, but others will not.
What’s Your End Game?
That’s where another big question arises for all the freelancers in the audience, whether you’re a freelance writer, freelance coder, or freelance designer: is freelancing really your endgame? To some people, the goal is to own and run their own business and this business happens to be in the realm of freelancing. The genres they approach and the clients they gain may shift over time, but the core business remains largely the same. Income can improve with adjusted rates and greater efficiency, but the work remains mostly similar.
For others, freelancing will ultimately become an intermediary toward a greater goal. That’s why it may be worthwhile to consider shifting from services to products. Writing books and e-books, for instance, may be a better way to generate passive income than writing blog posts for clients at a set pay rate. This is a personal decision and, at the same time, you have to realize that writing, marketing, and selling e-books probably isn’t any easier than writing for someone else.
And that’s really the big take-home lesson: don’t expect life — whether it be in the personal realm or the professional realm — to get any easier. Nor should it. If life were easy, it wouldn’t be nearly as interesting and fulfilling.