Why Freelancing Wasn't For Me
I never really spoke about my leap into the freelance world, when I left my full time role last July. Often I’d have DMs and emails asking me to lend advice on how I went from working a fairly hands on job, to being my own boss - and as much as I tried to help others out, I couldn’t help shake the feeling I was a fraud.
You see, back then, I wouldn’t say I was seen as a successful freelancer. I always thought I just got lucky, having a client before I left my previous role, and having a great network around me of people who knew me and how I worked. But now, I realise that I worked for that. My working career so far, had brought me to this time in my life. I’d networked in previous roles, and I’d shown my passion in whichever job I was in, and kept that up with everyone I met. And even though I’ve never been career driven, I was always dedicated to what I did.
And that continued when I had my own limited company.
I would often question why I hadn’t taken this leap sooner, because I loved the flexibility to plan my own schedule, which made me work even harder for my clients (sometimes more than I should), and I thoroughly enjoyed the networking opportunities and support of fellow freelancers. I loved the lunch dates I could have, and the fact I could be choosy with what and who I wanted to work with. But with all of the ups, comes a few downs.
The downs where you’d constantly question if you were doing a good enough job, if you were actually living up to how you sold yourself, and if you were really making a difference. And of course, that pit feeling when a client doesn’t work out from either side. Those were tough, but I acknowledged and knew that this was part and parcel of being freelance.
However the one thing that stuck with me, day in and day out, that I couldn’t shake off - was the loneliness.
I really struggled with working on my own.
And it’s taken me a long time to really and truthfully admit that, and I don’t feel ashamed to say it anymore. I’m a people person, and I always have been. I thrive off others, and I enjoy being around likeminded people. I think I’m pretty friendly, and I know I’m super chatty. So waking up every morning, and only having myself for company was testing, and of course, I learnt a lot from that, but debating whether an email sounded professional, or if anyone else liked my images, alone, was hard.
I truly never imagined that I’d feel this way.
Searching online, I didn’t see it talked about that much, and instead all I saw was everyone appearing like the ‘girl boss’, or nailing it, and loving their time and space just for them. So I started to doubt myself, like I hadn’t succeeded, or that I simply couldn’t handle this work.
But looking back now, I know, and I can see that I’ve had an incredible year. I had clients every month, and some months I made more money than I could have asked for. I’ve met some truly inspiring people, who have been nothing but supportive and warm, and most of all I’ve got to travel a huge amount as well as spending more time with those I love.
And whilst I loved the flexibility and opportunities to travel, my mental health, confidence, and people’s company is much more valuable to me. That is ultimately where my happiness lies, which is why I decided to head back into the full time working role. And I can’t wait to be around people, sharing ideas in the team, and feeling like I’m truly part of something. Of course, I’ll miss those afternoons with my cat (and the cat that is not mine), and the freedom of being able to jump on a flight whenever I want, but deep down, I know I’ll be much happier all round.
So success might be a girl boss company for some, and heaps of money for others, but success to me, is just being happy in my every day life. With other people.
“Joy is really the simplest form of gratitude”