As we approach 2024, I’m proud to say that I’m about to celebrate four years of going it alone. Becoming a freelance copywriter based on the outskirts of Bristol in January 2020 just before Covid hit, was one of the biggest decisions I have ever had to make. There have been ups and downs along the way, but overall, it was the right choice for me and here’s why.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss being part of a team. The ability to bounce ideas off each other, check each other’s work, have a giggle throughout the working day, and the general sense of camaraderie through the good times and the bad are important. But in my case, the benefits of being my own boss far outweigh the disadvantages or the things I miss about being employed.
What was I thinking?
Looking back, I can’t really believe how hard I pushed myself when I was employed. It was all me – my employer certainly couldn’t have been any more understanding of my desire for a greater work/life balance as my young family grew, but that wasn’t good enough for me. I had to push myself further and harder. When I had too much to do and was asked to do more, I said yes. When I was going through personal crises, I didn’t want to let the team down so carried on regardless. I can even think of a time I put my personal safety at risk to do right by the company. What was I thinking?
That’s the thing about being a people pleaser. Who’s with me?! It’s not just that we find it almost impossible to say no if you add something to our ‘to do’ list even though we’re already drowning in work, although that’s in the mix too, we also put an inordinate amount of pressure on ourselves to get the job done and done as perfectly as possible. At any cost to ourselves. If other people are piling the pressure on you too that can be catastrophic, but in my case, it was mainly down to me. I would often put that responsibility or burden on myself.
On the flip side of this though, I suppose it’s this ridiculous level of conscientiousness that is well suited to a freelance career. You need to be driven and disciplined to work for yourself. You have to motivate yourself to do the right thing for your customers and your business on a daily basis because there isn’t anyone else around to do it for you. Yes, you can join communities to keep you company and share ideas with along the way, but ultimately the buck starts and stops with you.
Grit and determination
I am as determined if not more so, to work hard and make my freelance business a success, but being in charge of my own destiny allows me to create a balance that is far more sensible for me. Life is constantly changing so who knows what the future holds, but for the here and now, I love what I do and I’m so glad I made the decision to go freelance.
What is your biggest driver for choosing to freelance or not to freelance? And is it everything you hoped it would be?