The flexible working is a dream. Office politics is a distant memory. Being able to say no and have some control is empowering.
The freelance life.
But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. A few months ago, I updated my LinkedIn profile with a status which said:
I received a lot of supportive comments, which I didn’t really expect. I didn’t write the status to provoke a reaction. I wrote it because I wanted to show the rough with the smooth.
Over the past 18 months since I made the jump into self-employment one thing is abundantly clear…. there is no safety net.
The fear of where the next job will come from, to replace the one that’s about to finish, is always going to come back and back again. And it’s up to me to find the next project. There’s no line manager anymore to provide the next task. And that creates an element of fear.
Will I make enough to pay my mortgage this month?
Can I really afford to go to that networking meeting next week?
How will a two week break over Christmas really effect the bank balance?
These are all questions I’ve asked myself. Some thrive on the fear of where the next thing is coming from. I don’t. It doesn’t terrorise me like some people. But it is something I constantly feel. And that can be exhausting.
To mitigate this fear, I’ve tried to so a few things that will help.
Retainers – ideally, I want to have a couple of decent retainers that ensure a minimum amount will come in every month. Thankfully I have this at the moment. But there’s still the fear that they will go one day.
Plan ahead – I try to make sure I know what work I’ve got over the next 6 weeks and try to get new work to fill the gap when it finishes. Networking is key to this.
Hold my nerve – I have to be brave. I’ve had a few wobbles since I started my freelance journey. A project finished, and nothing was there to replace it. The gap only lasted a few weeks, but it was long enough for me to contemplate whether I needed to go back in house.
The fear will come and go. The safety net will feel close and then far away. Accepting that and knowing how I can deal with it, is what counts and what will ensure my freelance career is a success.