In a world of 9 to 5 jobs and routinary schedules, the fluidity and unpredictability of freelance life looks like a bright and shiny ideal life. In truth, freelancing is so much more of a discipline than most people think.
The common misconception of freelancing is composed of a series of “hustle” posts on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, random photos of coffee art from the next wifi-ready work spot, and an endless supply of vacation leaves. Freelancers get this reputation of always having the freedom of working on their own time, which often to the non-freelance world, it appears that we’re always traveling or “living easy.”
To an older generation, freelance is best described as “raket” or sideline.
Understandably, there are freelancers that work alongside their day jobs and use the term loosely for their passion projects or alternative income, but as far as professional freelancers go, it’s an uphill battle of breaking the stigma. Often, walking into a room full of people thinking that your chosen profession is a “raket” means there’s not only a pricing battle, but a “madali lang yun” mentality as well. Living the freelance life means choosing to get into the ring with these kinds of personalities and schools of thought.
What many don’t understand is just like any job, a typical freelance day is composed of accomplishing everyday tasks, producing work, and meeting with clients.
For the average freelancer, the day starts with a 6/7am wake up call to send out emails before clients get to work. 8am, make or start tackling those to–do lists! 10am, (if you’re lucky) there’s some time for self-care, a trip to the gym, or a bit of meditation before the whirlwind really begins. The rest of the day often feels like your time is spent running from meeting to meeting, catering to client availability, and adjusting through scheduling conflicts, while also trying to get in some time to get your own stuff done without having a permanent spot to settle in.
As much as freelance is an uphill battle, it’s a trail riddled with victories of all sizes. It’s in the incomparable feeling of seeing your work finally taking its final form, after weeks or months of working on it. It’s in the warm fuzzy feeling of knowing that your client fully trusts you, and cannot wait to see what you create for them. It can even be in the simple knowledge that you’ve made yourself proud with the work you’ve done.
Freelance is the meeting point of passion, talent, discipline, and freedom. Without one of these, the system falls apart. It’s about finding a balance between all of these in the field or fields of your choice. After all, one of the advantages of being freelance is being able to do as much or as little of it as you choose.
The magic of freelancing lies in the choices available to you every day, being your own boss, and being answerable to yourself. It’s a test of discipline and time management—because as much as we’d love to spend the day in our PJs, binge watching shows, and eating Cheetos, the pull of the work we love is just as strong. It’s about enjoying it so much that the unconventional struggle of creating the work is just as rewarding as seeing the final product.
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