I enjoy it whenever I have a chance to have in-depth conversations with regular people. By regular people I mean people who are not entrepreneurs. Obviously I often get along the best with my fellow freelancers and entrepreneurs but talking with regular people gives me perspective and appreciation for what I have.
As a freelancer it is often too easy to take this life I have for granted. I can work from anywhere, set my own hours and at times I even get to pick who I want to work with. These are things that most people don't get to experience in their professional life. To me they are however quite normal and I hardly think about them.
I wish I had some kind of automatic mechanism to remind me every now and then that I'm actually very lucky. The kind of "problems" that I face and ponder about fall short almost instantly whenever I'm reminded with this other perspective. Some problems are real though.
I feel that many non-freelancers only see those few benefits that I mentioned and fail to realise one of the most grim realities of being self-employed: if you have no work money isn't just magically going to appear. It is always up to you to find your way to the next paycheck. One month you'll make nothing and the next month you might make a ton. I believe these cycles, which I like call this rollercoaster rides, happen to all of us and over time it does get easier to deal with them.
Photo by: Scott Ableman
One of my struggles is when the rollercoaster takes me off my path. I know that I want to work for myself, build my own things and be in charge of my own destiny. I also know that it is going to be a long and tough road but I feel like the journey is totally worth it and will eventually lead to great things. However when things get tough it can be easy to get sidetracked and start saying "maybe" or even "yes" to things and opportunities that I know aren't really for me. The fact that someone recognizes you and gives you some sense of validation can easily lure the mind.
That's why I feel like I need this reminder because it would help me to get back on track and ignore the distractions. Reminding me that it's just another bump on the road and I should keep on going.
There's precisely two times in my 8 years of freelancing when I let the bump take me off my course. In my case by off course I mean working for someone else. The first time I managed to go on for 3 months until I felt like I could not work this way any longer. At the time I didn't fully grasp what was the issue though. I blamed how I was feeling on the job and the commute. About a half a year later I did another short lived stint in a different company. That's when it finally hit me that I just need to do what I feel like is right for me, even if that means that it will be difficult at times.
Fast forward two years and I almost fooled myself again. Thinking that since this position that was presented to me was such a fluke opportunity it must be the right thing to do. However through conversations with friends I managed to remind myself that I know who I am and also know that this is not for me. Not now or in the future.
Until I have a better mechanism this post shall work as my reminder.