I’ve talked before about misconceptions that people have about freelancing, but I think it’s worth bringing up again. Just this week I was at the doctor, and the receptionist asked for my work phone number. I told her it was the same as my home number and she said, “Oh, so you don’t work.” No, I told her, I’m a writer. She looked at me like that was the same thing.
But it isn’t just other people who have these misconceptions. Writers themselves have them before (and sometimes, even after) they start freelancing. I had one girl at a networking event tell me that she couldn’t understand why I was always so busy because she was constantly “looking for something to do.”
***Pardon me while I shake my head.***
It’s not that writing in comfy clothes and drinking coffee at a leisurely pace doesn’t happen in the freelance writing world, but there are several realities a writer should know before becoming a full-time telecommute worker.
Freelance Writers Do Nothing But Drink Coffee, Look Out the Window, Watch TV, and Mess Around on Facebook
While it’s true that freelancers can make their own schedule, many of them us work eight hours or day or longer. My first years as a freelancer I worked ten or twelve hour days six or even seven days a week. Now, I work a full-time schedule, but still go over the traditional 40 hour week occasionally.
I do have flexibility, and as a freelancer you will too. Your days can be broken up into smaller blocks of time so you can accommodate other life events (kid’s ballgames, working out, meeting with clients), but nevertheless you probably will still log a hefty amount of hours, especially in the beginning.
How many times have we said it? Running a successful freelance writing business is no different than running any other small business venture. Writers need to put in the amount of hours needed to make their business profitable, and this usually means working quite a bit, especially in the beginning. The difference is that most freelancers enjoy their work immensely, and working from home does change the pace of their day.
Not all the misconceptions about freelancers are centered on their schedule, however. Some are on other things, and one is that once you leave the corporate world you never have to deal with negativity. Many freelancers leave the corporate world with the idea that they will never have to work with another unpleasant person again.
Unfortunately, the reality is that freelancers sometimes do have to work with negative people. Writers always have the option to end a client relationship, but when the bills need to be paid, writers need to take the work they can get.
Freelance Writers Sit in Coffee Shops All Day
Many people envision a writer as someone that sits at the coffee shop all day and pounds away at their keyboard. That’s true for some people, but many freelancers work from home in a room somewhere in their house all by themselves. In other words, the freelance life can be a lonely one.
However, this is one misconception I actually hope comes true. I think more writers should get out more and socialize, even if it’s just working at a coffee shop to see other humans during the day.