Some people imagine working from home as a dream, especially full time blogging. I see bloggers starting up every day with the pure focus of turning it into a career. Well I wouldn’t want to do anything else at this moment in my life, I can also see how this type of lifestyle might not be suited to everyone. Even for me, who I think is suited to it, there are moments where it can all get a little overwhelming and stressful. I guess that’s the nature of any job at some point or other, but when you’re self-employed and freelancing these moments can be really scary. When you’re freelancing you don’t have time to take off work with stress. You won’t get paid and your business won’t run. You just have to keep going and try and problem solve if there are changes that can be made to better your work life.
I hit this breaking point last week. Yes I love blogging as a job and it’s a dream come true, but sometimes when you’re overloaded with work, feeling stressed, the kids are messing around constantly, you’ve got no time to work and you’re worrying about money, it suddenly can hit you and the overwhelming feeling that you can usually handle becomes too much.
Thankfully, as I already figured, this blip in my emotional and mental state only lasted a week, or just under, and I’m feeling back to my usual self this week. I’m also putting some plans in place for some extra childcare so I can tackle my workload in the day times as much as possible and stop working with the kids around or in the evenings. I really need to find a better work-life balance and with Reuben’s free 30 hours coming into play after the Easter holidays I’m going to take advantage of 9 hours extra childcare per week. I think this will really help.
You’ll find plenty of blog posts on my blog highlighting the many benefits of being a freelancing blogger, but here I want to share some of the things I sacrifice to fulfil this role and therefore why it might not be everyone’s dream job:
There are no set hours or set wages. Freelancing often comes with negotiating pay on a case by case basis and often only working once with a client. I do have some regular work, but it’s still not contracted so there’s the fear it could stop at any moment. The freelance life is working for various clients and never having a permanent contract in place. This means wages fluctuate each month, as do hours. Usual payment terms are 30 days from completion of work, but sometimes 60 or even 90 days, so planning is key. If you need a guaranteed wage and set working hours, then it’s probably not for you.
Since becoming a mum I have fewer friends anyway, but I have no social life at all. I devote all my spare time to working. I work evenings and weekends, though I’m hoping to try and get a better work-life balance with some extra childcare in April. Getting projects finished on time and meeting urgent deadlines means you may have to forgo drinks in the pub, coffee meetups and social gatherings. If you’re building your business empire, then you may need to make social sacrifices every now and then.
I also give up evenings with my husband and time at weekends to work. If I have lots on then I need to work. My husband is used to it now, but it was difficult at first. He gets 40 hours kid free a week to work, whereas I’ve only been getting 20 so I’ve had to squeeze another 20 in whilst he’s here. If you have no kids or they’re in full time education you can work out a better balance. In the early days of building a freelance business you have to put in the hours and may have to work late. If you get a load of projects at once, then evenings and time as a couple may have to be sacrificed sometimes.
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In the early days I had to stay up until 12am and 1am regularly to work. Or alternatively get up before my husband and kids are up to work. If things need doing, then it’s all on you. There’s no team or person to cover or pass a project onto. Perhaps when I’m more successful I’ll use a virtual assistant to help tackle the load, but when it’s your own business it’s hard to let go of the reigns!
As much as I never have much time with friends or my husband, I also never have precious me-time. I always have a to-do list and I’m always thinking about it! Even if I’m on top of paid assignments, there will be work to search for and apply for, website tweaks to do, accounting and all the general admin. My work is never done, so I find it hard to sit and relax and do nothing if I could be doing something work related.
Time off work
You’ve guessed it! There’s no time off. My laptop will even come on holiday with me, which I know my mum will be horrified about! But there’s no one else to run my business when I go away. Not only will I lose precious work that has short deadlines of 1-2 days, but I’ll lose out on future work if I stop applying for it. There could be a problem with a client and I can’t just ignore them for a week in case it’s an emergency. I won’t work as much on holiday, but I will check in every day and keep on top of emails. I’ll postpone as much as I can for when I return, but I still need to accept jobs and apply for them so I don’t lose half my earnings for the month. There’s no holiday or sick pay when self-employed, so that’s something people might not be able to deal with. The beauty of running an online business though is being able to work from anywhere with WiFi.
It’s not all fun and games living the freelance life and I wanted to show you another side. It’s certainly not for everyone, but if you can cope with the negatives or find a solution, then it could be the perfect role.
Now that's all off my chest, read why blogging is brilliant!