Freelancing and Reality

When you tell people you want to go into business for yourself, they often respond one of two ways. They either wax poetic about being able to work from home and your own hours, or they get a look on their face like you’ve got cancer. Why would you want to do such a thing? Isn’t that risky? Wouldn’t you feel safer working at a real job? You have to be realistic! Now, if you’re faced with this kind of reaction, you can tell them this:

I’m not doing this because I get to work from home. I’m not doing this because I like taking risks. I’m not doing this because I think I will make more money. I am not following my spirit. I am not “finding my true self” under the auspices of a self-help guru with a “Phd in Pain”. I am doing this because I am realistic. I want to take control of my own income. I will not leave my employment up to the byzantine policies of unions and human resource departments. I will never stop looking for work. Doing that is the very heart of freelancing. But if that plum government contract job dries up, I want to be ready to sit back at my desk and keep providing for myself and my family.

I can believe there was a time where you worked for one company all your career, where you could start in the mail room and work your way up.  It was also a time of pensions, extended medical benefits and a General Motors that wasn’t bankrupt. That time has passed. Although I’m now responsible for all my marketing, production, and billing, this era is still my home. It’s going to take all my strength, tenacity, and ingenuity, but in the end, I will be a better worker for it. And I will be just fine.