6 day weeks and no holidays? Bollocks to THAT!

“It’s 11pm on Friday and instead of spilling out onto the pavement outside a pub in east London with a large glass of white wine in hand, my only tonic is filtered water and my whirring laptop my only company. Welcome to the world of freelancing. […] While a few still perceive a freelancer as someone who sleeps in till 11am and sits in their PJs all day until they meet up with friends for coffee, the truth is they’re probably working all kinds of unsociable hours to sustain their business. The lifestyle isn’t healthy, but the demand of paying stifling London rents and not knowing where your next paycheck might come from means, like many freelancers, I regularly have to skip hanging out with friends over the weekend in favour of editing copy, emailing and drumming up fresh pitches.” 

Nighttime, close up of chain fence.

Don’t trap yourself into an untenable business model. Be free to do what you want to do.

I read an article a little while ago about freelancing, and it simultaneously made my heart ache and my eyes bleed.

It gave me heartache because I remember living the life described in the article… And it made my eyes bleed because the writer presents that life as if it’s a done deal. As if you have to accept that shitty lot if you want to be a freelancer. That pissed me off, because business owners – all business owners, not just freelancers – have a choice.

You can choose to carry on living like that, hand-to-mouth, feast-to-famine, in a little ball of stress or… you can choose to put aside time to discover how to build a business that brings you a steady stream of leads. A business that allows you the freedom to do what you want.

After all, isn’t that what running your own business is all about? Freedom? The freedom to choose whom you work with and when you work and how you work?

I think so.

So let me present a different view of freelancing: It’s 7pm on Thursday and I’m off to my gymnastics class. I’ve spent today working on my own marketing systems so I can build up the side of my business that will allow me the freedom to choose whether I work with private clients at all. When I get home, I’ll eat dinner and have a chilled glass of wine with Joe.

Then tomorrow I’ll be up at 6am to spend a couple of hours working on my own marketing again. After that, I’ll be dedicating the day to a client.

At the weekend, I’ll do a little writing because I choose to, in between running a 10km race in an elephant suit, then going to a friend’s 40th birthday party. I’ll be doing all this because I’ve learned from my mentors how to build a freelancing life that doesn’t involve late nights (mostly) and chasing invoices (extremely rarely).

Don’t let anyone tell you the life of a business owner has to be fraught and stressful. Of course it is sometimes; of course things occasionally go wrong; of course this isn’t always a bed of roses (on occasion I hate everything!). But that shouldn’t be the norm.

It is possible to build a stable business with steady leads, working with clients who treat you and your time with respect.

Of course, if you enjoy the lifestyle described in the article, that’s all cool and groovy. Carry on. I just wanted to show you there’s another way to run a business.

TTFN,

Vicky

Vicky Fraser is a copywriter, author, and entrepreneur. She really did run away with the circus… but when she’s not swinging from a trapeze, she’s showing other copywriters and small business owners how to work with better clients, make more money, and stop missing bathtimes, first words, and dinners with angry partners. In fact, she wrote the book on it. Get your copy here.

PS Is my business “perfect” yet? Of course not. It never will be (there’s no such thing). At the moment, though, I’m loving my life – and I’m loving the challenges building my business is throwing at me. There are all kinds of ways you can choose to run your business. Just make sure you are choosing and that it works for you 🙂

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