In Part One of this post, I discussed all the good things about my first year of freelancing full time. While I’ve mostly enjoyed myself this past year, there’s definitely been a learning curve to going from a full-time office job to a freelance career. So, it would be disingenuous not to discuss some of the challenges that I’ve faced this year as well.
The Hard Parts
1. Money Stuff
The most obvious change that came with my move to self-employment is finances.
I’ve had to figure out invoicing, business expenses, and taxes. Luckily, I’ve got some support and things have gone well, for the most part. Still, there’s a lot remember to do, and I’ve had to make sure I put admin time aside to track it all.
I’ve also had to be more aware of my personal spending, since my income isn’t the same or as steady as it was before self-employment. In the full year, I made about half of what my salary was at my old job. So, I have to think about money more now, which isn’t always fun.
Still, I made enough to pay my rent and regular expenses (and even some other expenses), so I can’t complain too much. I just try to think of the difference between my old salary and my current income as the cost of setting out on the adventure of running my own business.
When you’re employed by someone else, the work just comes to you. It’s very different to have to find potential clients and convince them of your worth. It’s been a bit of a challenge for me because I’d rather do the editing work than the marketing side of things.
I’m also not the best with rejection, so it’s scary to put myself out there, especially when it’s a project that sounds really interesting. But, I’m learning and I want to do more going forward. Fingers crossed, that’ll mean more posts here in the near future.
3. Time Management
Remember how I said having freedom was a highlight of going freelance? Well, freedom is definitely a double-edged sword. I find it easier to work with solid deadlines and external pressures, and while clients can put that pressure on me, I’m largely the one who has to set hours and delivery dates.
I also thought setting my own schedule would mean that I’d have more time for personal projects, like my own writing and artwork, but it hasn’t quite been like that. Sometimes it’s hard to get out of the feeling that I’m always “on call” or to give myself real time off (I worked every day for a two to three month period last fall).
So it seems I’ve still got things to learn when it comes to finding the right balance between productivity and relaxation. I’m making it work, but with only myself to be accountable to, it’s definitely a challenge.
The goal of this blog was to acknowledge how far I’ve come, evaluate my strengths and weaknesses, and start making plans for how to keep growing my business.
At this point, most of my freelancing goals focus on “more”—more clients, more work, more money. I’m still figuring out the steps to reach these goals, but for now, my efforts include:
- continuing my publishing certificate
- using social media to listen to and participate in editing/writing/publishing conversations
- being more active in my local Editors Canada branch
- blogging more
- doing more independent professional development (working my way through all my editing/writing/business books)
I hope that putting all this down motivates me and that the energy I feel from realizing I’ve made it through my first full year of freelancing drives me forward.
It’s been a strange, amazing year full of new things. Here’s to hoping all the good continues and all the rest works out in time.
Let the adventure continue!