By definition freelance means: A person who sells services to employers without a long-term commitment to any of them. Now that we have that covered, a freelancer can be involved in virtually any industry doing almost anything. But for the sake of this post, I’ll be talking about freelance writers. Believe it or not, the writing industry is incredibly vast and there are so many avenues one can take. No matter which niche you decide on, writing as a profession takes some serious commitment and is not as easy as one might believe. With that being said, I’ve heard from my peers some of the most unintentionally ignorant remarks about freelance writers that tend to make my blood boil. Without further ado, here are 5 things you shouldn’t say to a freelancer.
“I wish I could sleep in”
On the contrary, freelancing has made me more punctual than I have ever been in my 24 years of existence. I have a set morning routine in which I wake up before the sun (early bird over here), get coffee, walk a few miles with Abbey, shower, and get ready to start working. I find that mornings are best for me when it comes to working. In addition, besides doing actual work, I’m always reading up on brushing up my writing or looking at new projects. Since you’re getting work from companies, it’s best to keep normal business hours. Most successful freelancers take their work seriously, thus have set hours in which they work.
“I’d love to work in my pajamas”
To be honest, I’ve never worked in my PJs. I do have an aversion to pants, but most times I am fully dressed. Freelancing is different than the traditional 9-5 but it still is work, so I treat it as such. By getting dressed I set the tone that I am in “work mode”. Plus being in your PJ’s 24/7 just doesn’t sound appealing to me.
“Must be nice not having a boss”
While I do not have a “direct supervisor” I do have editors to please and it can at times be a bit trickier than your traditional boss. Editors that I have worked with come in all different shapes and sizes. Meaning to say some have given great direction and communication and others… well, might as well be speaking in a different language. Having the same boss would at least give you the ability to understand their expectations. Don’t get me wrong, I like it this way, but it’s not all sunshine and daisies as some might believe.
“You must not like people, or you’re anti-social”
Just to clarify antisocial is a term that is supposed to be used for the likes of Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Bundy. I assure you, I am not a serial killer. I do like people though that can be debated from time to time. Some think that freelancers are by nature hermits. That is totally not true. Sure, I have to make more of an effort to socialize, but it’s something that I try and keep up with. Not having coworkers was one of the hardest adjustments I had to make. I have had some interesting times with the help of Meetup.com (more on that later). Plus I’m sure my dog only listens to me for Dentistix so for her sake and mine, I make time to hang with friends.
“When are you going to get a real job?”
The biggest and most common insult of them all. I get this a lot from well meaning friends who do not understand what I do. While the human side of me wants to point out that I make more per hour than they do, I simply smile and say I’m happy with where I am. I suppose to the outside world, I get to sit on my bum and ponder life’s mystery while magically getting paid. I get that it’s hard to understand the ins and outs of freelancing, I’m still figuring it out myself really. But seriously, it is real work in exchange for real money.
To be frank, if I worked the way my peers thought I did, I’d be broke living in a van down by the river. I am not an existential hippie smoking peyote while doling out philosophical advice to the masses. Sure it’s not the traditional method that most people are accustomed to, but there are guidelines that I adhere to in order to be successful. So next time you want to ask your friend, neighbor, cousin, or whomever about their freelance endeavors, it’s ok to be inquisitive, just don’t be a douche. 🙂