My decision to leave behind a reliable 9-5 job in pursuit of the freedom offered by freelance life was a relatively spontaneous one. I’d been working largely remotely for some time and figured, ‘how different could it be?’. Well, three months on and I can tell you that some of the things I have learnt have surprised me
I am not as motivated by money as I once thought
When working a 9-5 job I found myself obsessed with working my way up to the next job title and achieving the next salary promotion, constantly comparing myself to my peers and feeling that in some way my own success and self-worth as a working individual was entirely defined by the money I earnt and the title I could attribute to my name. The day I walked out the door of my previous office leaving behind my 9-5 job for the last time, that feeling literally dissolved… Titles were suddenly meaningless, I could give myself whatever title I wanted, after all, I worked for myself now. The way I felt about what I earnt also changed, I no longer cared about an annual salary as a means to benchmark myself against my peers, and instead money became a reward for my time and the quality of my work, the fact that it was directly linked to my input made it so much more precious but at the same time, I felt a need to chase it less, I felt liberated from conventional career pressures.
I am still a morning person
Although I had been fortunate enough to work largely from home for almost a year I still had the pressure to be up and contactable by 9 am every morning meaning that for the most part, my morning alarm remained the same. Freelancing dissolves many of the time restraints imposed by a full-time job and all of a sudden you find yourself able to truly listen to when you are most productive and to make the most of those hours. I’d be lying if I said that there haven’t been days when I’ve lain in bed well past midday enjoying the simple pleasures of undisturbed sleep, but for the most part, I find that getting up at 6.30 am when my partner’s alarm goes off for work is what’s best for my own productivity.
I may not be as self-motivated as I’d like to believe
One of the things I heard almost daily when I worked remotely was that I must be so self-motivated to actually get any work done, in fact, I’d heard it so many times that even started thinking it must have been true, but boy was I wrong. Becoming freelance gave a whole new meaning to the term ‘self-motivation’ and other than the needs of my clients (which I always endeavour to meet without fail) I found that my self-motivation to market myself, seek new opportunities and continue my personal development was somewhat lacking. I felt less motivated by making lots of money, I was happy revelling in my new found freedom and I had lost that desire to constantly push myself. This sudden lack of motivation really shocked me and I remember turning around to my partner sometime in month 2 and wondering whether freelance life was really for me, would I feel like this forever? Recognising that my self-motivation was not as strong as I was led to believe was the turning point for me and it enabled me to put measures in place to ensure that I kept momentum and continued to push forward towards my goals.
People subconsciously don’t recognise freelancing and working from home as still working
In my first few months as a freelancer, I found that I was somehow expected to pick up a lot of the housework, and those general chores that would usually be shared between two working individuals on the weekend. I could see why this had started to happen, after all, I had more flexibility with my hours and had the luxury of making anywhere my office for the day but the freedom I had found in freelancing seemed too easy for people to abuse and in some cases, it felt as though they didn’t really recognise it as working at all. Very quickly I realised that this needed to change and in order to feel like an independent professional rather than a housewife, I needed to have a sit down with my partner to discuss the subtle changes to the dynamic of our relationship. Having explained how I was feeling it became apparent that my partner was simply completely oblivious to the ways in which he had started to subtly alter his behaviour and through open and honest communication we have been able to rebalance our responsibilities.
These are just 4 of the honest observations I’ve made during my first three months as a freelancer, what did you notice when you made the change?