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About 2 months ago I quit. I’d had enough. My freedom had been on hold. Waking up to someone else’s schedule sucked. I only seemed to have seconds to myself. And it just took the cake how little I was compensated for the stress I felt.
What did I do? I escaped to Australia for 2 weeks and BOOM! I caved. What was the worst that could happen? Belly flop? Out on the street? I’d probably end up borrowing money from my dad yet again. It would hurt my pride but little else. In the end, I decided it couldn’t be terrible to test it out.
[Insert two months freelancing]
Several people have commented that freelancing is worse than having a full time job, but I disagree. I’m fully in charge of what happens to me. I choose carefully who I work with and the opportunities haven’t stopped coming. It’s been a mammoth learning trajectory but here’s some key things I’ve learnt and adopted so far.
1. Treat yourself like a business. It’ll set the tone for all of your client relationships. And it’ll be easier to make decisions. No one likes to keep reminding people to pay; no one likes to ask for 50% upfront. But hey, this is business, stand firm, know your boundaries, know why you’re freelancing, know your end goals, and stick to them.
2. Take days off. Your brain might be a sponge – I know mine is. But it isn’t when you’ve been working for 12 days straight and was scrounging about in the kitchen for food because you haven’t had the chance to get to the supermarket! Please rest regularly; a cheeky nap in the middle of the day can do wonders for brain recuperation! Your business doesn’t survive without you at your best.
3. The start is the hardest. Expect this. You’re learning your process. You’re learning how you work best at home. You’re learning how to be productive. You’re learning how each of your clients works best with you. You’re learning how to do this thing. Be kind to yourself. And do keep and emergency fund in case you’re not paid exactly on time…
Despite the slog, I’m happier than I’ve ever been. My day is my own. I can work at night if I want to sunbathe during the mid-afternoon slump. I stay out till 3am mid-week and still get my stuff done. I can focus for 3, 18-hour days and take the next 2 off. And the best part? Job satisfaction. I work harder than ever and it pays off, literally. I can’t wait to raise my rates. More importantly, my clients are happy, which means I’ve really helped.
Freelancing. It’s not for everyone, but if you’re on the fence about it I say go for it, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Here’s to the next few months of learning!
Image cover credit: RaceTalkBlog
Guest post written by Abby Lo
Creative, determined, fun – that’s Abby. And unconventional (strange = cool in her book). London was her universe before she moved to KL in 2011 to – unbeknownst to her – emerge as an entrepreneur. Now that she’s released herself from the windowless 9-5 rectangle, you’ll find her freelance copywriting for health and well-being related websites, products and services. She also moonlights as a researcher and editor for the social policy specialist at UNICEF Malaysia and twilights (?!) to plot her first creative venture. You can connect with Abby on Linkedin.