Being Freelance Doesn't Mean You're Not Employed

in freelance •  last year

I think if I were to have a dollar for every time someone ‘joked’ about that, I wouldn’t actually have to work. What those people seem to think, is that because I do not have a permanent position on someone’s staff I must not have a real job. To those people I say this – come try my world for a while before you say that I don't work full time.

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Freelance comes from the time period where knights and mercenaries were around defending strongholds and kingdoms. While some knights were on the landowner's payroll, there were a few that roamed around from place to place as a lance for hire or as someone who was ‘free’ to work for whomever needed the help. For a price of course. {A big thanks to my dad for reminding me this is where it came from. He’s a smart guy, but don’t worry I checked and this story pans out.}

As a freelancer we are often lumped in with the self employed, which in many ways is similar, but most of us are not actually self employed. For someone who is self employed typically there is a business or company attached to them; their own. A freelancer is someone who is hired for a specific length of time, for a specific amount of money. Once the terms of the job are complete we move on. A lance for hire.

There are many wonderful things about working as a freelancer.

For one, we are able to pick jobs that interest us. We are given specifics on the project and we can decide whether or not we want to be involved. There’s a lot of freedom in that. Of course, choosing which jobs to take normally comes after the period of taking any job just to pay your bills! Another great thing about being freelance is that we are able to set our own schedules. Because we don’t necessarily have a boss (it’s a client) we are trusted to know what the best schedule is in order to complete the task. (This can vary from profession to profession and can be on a job to job basis as well.) This kind of freedom allows for us to take on multiple projects at once, work from many different locations and gives us access to tons of different people with every job.

Perhaps my favorite thing about working as a freelancer is the fact that no matter how bad a job may seem, there’s always an end. I work in television and film so our projects are extremely intense and we are expected to get things done quickly in order to save money. I’ve always said that what we are able to accomplish in one week’s time takes other’s over a month to do the same thing. It’s not a matter of talent – though I’ve met some amazingly talented people – it’s actually that we don’t have any more time than what we are hired to do. If you don’t get the job completed you will not be hired again and you will not be recommended for future projects. That’s a major motivator to someone who doesn’t get paid if there isn’t a job.

While those are just some of the good things that come with being a freelancer, there’s also the long list of terrifying factors to take into account.

There is no guarantee of work. We are not given a job by someone else. We have to find it – enter in the work that other’s don’t see us do. We are constantly looking for the next project, the next source of income. We don’t work, we don’t get paid. It’s really that simple. And really that terrifying. There can be long stretches of time, especially in the beginning, of jobs that come in few and far between. We have to be able to manage our time and our money in order to get through those stretches. There is no payday every other week. The payday comes at the end of a job. No job, no payday. I’ve repeated myself here I know, but it’s a biggie!

It takes a special kind of person to be freelance. We need to be able to manage time and money. We need to be able to constantly network and research in order to find that next job. We have only our own reputation to get us work and therefor get us paid. We have to remain calm in the times of slow work flow and we need to have the drive to find the next project.

I’m not saying that there won’t be times even for the most seasoned freelancer where a bit of panic sets in and you wonder if you will ever work again. I’ve been doing it for over 13 years now and I can honestly say that about twice a year, I have sleepless nights wondering if this is the year that I officially can’t pay my bills. Will this be the year I have to move into my parents basement with my two cats?! But I work hard and I’ve been lucky enough to always find more work. And the cycle continues. It’s gotten easier as time has gone on. I’ve more clients that are looking for me versus me looking for them. Word of mouth has allowed me to find new clients and my reputation has helped to bring my name to the top of the list when projects come up. I’ve had to work constantly to make that happen. Even when I wasn’t being paid. Sink or swim as they say.

For those of you that are considering going freelance I hope this helped. It’s not an easy road, but it is fun. And there are so many benefits to working like this, that this hasn’t even begun to scratch the surface. But it’s hard work and there a lot of people out there that won’t understand that just because you aren’t being paid that day doesn’t mean you aren’t working.

You are not unemployed, you are freelance!

And like the knights and mercenaries before us, we soldier on in an unpredictable field with many challenges that most others are unable to do or understand. And to me that makes us kind of badass just like those who came before us.

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Follow me @ekpickle

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freelancing is a better place to make some money.

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I ask you to also follow me to grow together in steemit

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Freelancing certainly allows for a lot of money to be made. But as I said, only if you work for it! Kind of like steemit...

Oh may, this is totally true :) And people think that you have always time and tons of money :D Well the best thing definitely is: every job is once done and you don't have to work with same people again. I totally cherish this!
After 2 years of freelancing, I went to work for few days a week in a company and it killed me. I felt like trapped in a cage. It's hard to search for job and manage all the things, but still, I love the freedom, even if I don't sleep sometimes :)

I can relate much here hehe being as a freelancer you can enjoy anything in your comfort :D

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So true! I'm so glad you found this relatable.

I'm in a moment in life where I have some cash saved up and might jump ship to freelance and do what I want. Scariest thing to think about ever.

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Totally scary! The great thing about going freelance though is that you can always go back to being full staff somewhere else and truly with the contacts you will make you might find a better fit somewhere you hadn't even imagined. It's definitely not for the faint of heart but it can be super rewarding. Good luck with whatever you decide!

being freelencer then we can earn dollar every is very interesting then being a staf..now I'm a staf then sometime I'm thingking "It's better to be a chicken's head than a dragon's tail"

Probably when one is single, being a freelance is still feasible. But when one has a family and various commitments, then have to weigh if being a freelance is worth sacrificing the minimum safety net a normal job brings. But having said that, sometimes when you give yourself no road of return, it could spur us to do things we never thought we could.

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Just would love to add that I've been freelance most of my adult career. Married over 20 years, with two kids and a dog 😊. As with any career path, it's the effort, attention and consistency that brings success. Love the blog and all the fantastic replies... interesting to see how different everyone's opinions are.

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Great points. Being single and freelancing does have its advantages, but so does having a supporting partner when you are making the leap. As with any job, there are no guarantees so in that sense it's very similar. And even though I am currently not married, I still have other commitments that weigh heavily on my little freelance heart (and pocketbook)! haha. I know what you mean though.

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Yeah do agree with you that even in any job there is no guarantees. Since as an employee, no one is irreplaceable.

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Exactly. I think the bottom line is that if you can, you should do what makes you happy since there is no guarantee in any situation.

A Glorious

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Thank you!

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my dear, word thank you is looking awesome, but i need your intension on my personal posts, thanks

People and groups who see freelancing as you being lazy and owing a debt to society:

  • Government Tax Agencies
  • Your significant other
  • Your parents and extended family
  • Your health insurance company

The game is rigged against you.

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Oh hm well I suppose that at times it could feel that the game is rigged as you say, but I've personally found that if you are patient with the people that support you they will come around to at least understanding you work hard. Most of the time it's the people that are not informed or haven't been exposed to freelancing that tend to comment about not working full time. If you work hard, others will see it.

Very informative. I knew there was a difference between freelance and self employed but I guess I didn't know the specifics. I love the background info on how the term came about as well.

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Thanks for reading! A lot of people don't understand the difference, but really it's because they are so similar.

Don't you have problems getting loans or renting an apartment because some people think freelancers don't have a real job?

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I think it's more that they don't think my income is steady - which I guess it's not always! But they do have issues with me proving I have a job. I cannot prove employment because I don't have an employer. Many hoops have to be jumped in those situations

upvote and resteem ekpickle

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Thanks @semre for your support as always! Glad you enjoyed it.

I'm in an in-between kind of situation. I take freelance jobs because writing is easy for me, I have a fucking degree in it, and I kind of enjoy doing it. I also have a website where I hock certain services to the locals, who call and book said services. Minute-for-minute I make just as much on the web as I do in real life. But fuck, I hate computers and doing work on them. I'd rather dig you a fucking ditch than write you an article or web copy. At least at the end of the day I can point to the ditch and the salt on my skin and say "I did something today." When I write, I don't get that feeling. We live in a global freelance economy though. It might not be like it was, and maybe it was better back then, but this is what we have to work with TODAY. Lots of people out there aren't really working at it. They think the world is as it was, which it's not. Jobs are a joke. Make your own damned money anywhichway you know how.

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Well I'd say this also helps to showcase a point of freelancing allowing you freedom. It gives you the chance to be able to go out and dig a ditch if that's what you so choose. I hope you find something that you truly enjoy!

Very inspiring.

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I'm glad you think so! Thanks for reading.

Also can combine a job with freelancing. I combine my job as developer with freelance as Trainer. :)

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It's true. Being freelance allows for the freedom to do things that we love while still doing our jobs! A definite bonus.

People still misunderstand the concept of working as freelance. Some 10 years back, I had to get my first payment from a freelance job for him to believe that it was a real concept! Resteemed :)

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Ha! It's true, so many people just can't even wrap their heads around it. But paycheck proof certainly does quiet the cynics ;)