+44 7879 440170 helen@unlikelygenius.com

Freelancing has been a revelation for me as I can fit the work to my lifestyle, my work style, and has allowed me to forge my own path. It has developed my confidence and given me control back.

But there are also tricky, slippery little pesky niggles that I have had to deal with. Late or cancelled projects, contract restrictions and areas where I lack confidence.

I have previously reflected on the myths surrounding freelancing and working from home but this time I am making it personal. Why this has been such a good move for me, and what have been the highs and lows this last 16 months?

First, let’s look at Side 1: the positive peaks in my journey.

 

Flexibility for appointments and insomnia.

As an insomniac, the freedom to be able to lie in to catch up on the elusive sleep, and start the day later is so valuable. It means I am a much more productive worker than if I had been forced to get up at 6am, commute for an hour, and drag myself zombified into the office to stare at my screen for hours whilst trying to stay awake.

Due to being some kind of medical marvel with the number of things this broken body has wrong with it, I also have a constant barrage of appointments to go to.

This last 2 weeks alone I will have had 6. To not have to beg for the flexibility of time off to attend them, and the associated guilt I always felt (even though I always made up more than the time I owed), it is now so much easier, and one less pressure on the noggin. I can go to, and concentrate on, the actual appointment without getting stressed about the inevitable delays and what time I will be back in the office.

I do what I need to do and make up the time later in the day, over the course of the week, or even the weekend. Whatever works with the project and deadlines.

 

In charge of my own development

I love learning as I covered in an earlier post. I now have the freedom to now pick and choose fully what I want to do, when and what conferences I want to attend, and how much time to dedicate to it.

Marvellous.

I don’t have to justify my choices and justify why it is 100% relevant and fight for funding. If I want to do it, I can do it.

I get so much motivation and confidence from learning and development, and this has been magnified even more since I can fully choose for myself and decide what will benefit me at any particular time. The challenge for me is to not take on too much and focus on one thing at a time.

Hmmm.

 

Stepping away from office politics

I was never great at this and found myself entrenched in the regular office goings-on, but now I am removed from it and it really does do wonder for the head.

I don’t have to worry about who said what, who dropped a clanger, who is friends with who this week, hushed conversations, and what you are not to let slip in front of certain people. Not to mention the ulterior motives of others, competing, backstabbing, an unjust balance of work, or people cheating the system when you are working your butt off.

Since working for myself from home, I don’t think I have once uttered “I don’t know why I bother”, which became my mantra for a while there.

Bliss.

 

In charge of my own career

I always wanted to progress. I thought one day I would be a manager of some sort, or in some semi-elevated position. Society tells you you should be. That’s what you should aim for.

It took me a while, but I came to realise that I didn’t want that at all, and in particular I didn’t want to manage others. I was happy to train them or be some kind of mentor or lead a project. But I didn’t want the crap that comes with managing others. I had enough of that when I just had one (gorgeous, glamorous) assistant and her see-through tops to deal with on a daily basis — whilst batting 14-year-old boys away with a stick. She was like the Pied Piper walking through that school I tell you.

Anyhoo, running my own business has given me a whole different sense of progression, and one that I am very happy with. I learn new things every day.

Being successful doesn’t have to mean working your way up a ladder. I am not safe on ladders anyway, my sister says I am not allowed on them.

My progression now is about developing myself and the business, sourcing a range of projects to suit my varied skill set, enhancing my skills further, finding opportunities to try something new, and helping others where I can.

 

I am thriving at home

Despite being someone who can usually get cabin fever, I am actually thriving working from home. I have managed to create an environment that works for me and helps me to concentrate. I do think this has been massively helped by the house we now live in. I could never have worked from my old house, I would have been climbing the walls after a week, or have turned into a snowman it really was that cold. But our ‘new’ house (can I still call it that after 2.5 years?) has given us the extra space to turn a room into my office and the man has actually said I can ‘do what I want with it’.

Good grief.

That is a miracle in itself.

​It was worth becoming self-employed just to hear that. Bring on the rabbit print wallpaper, multiple cushions and uber amounts of cosy fluff.

Speaking of which, pets can really help. Though I don’t exactly get any conversation out of the bunnies I can witter on at them and going to see them makes me move about.

There is a sense of having company without hoomans. Whether they like it or not.

Turn in for side 2 next week, looking at the things that have been more of a challenge and how I am overcoming them.

In the meanwhile, why does freelancing work for you? Or are you full time perm thinking of breaking out on your own?

​I’d love to hear your plans or the things that you find fabulous in the freelance world.

 


 

Write 52: Week 23
Theme: A few of my favourite things