As a freelancer, I hear a lot of strange things about the world of freelancing! There are some common misconceptions rolling around, which I’m going to call freelance unicorns. Of course, every freelancer is different, and your freelance life really depends on what type of freelancing you do and how you manage your work. But there are some common misconceptions that apply to freelancing in general. So let’s banish those unicorns.
#1 Freelance unicorn: You’re not your own boss
I hear so many people saying “as a freelancer, you’re not your own boss”. By definition, you are. If you look at what it means to be a boss, it’s about control. When you have a boss, you’re not in control. As a freelancer, you are in control. You control your own time, workload, priorities, environment, working hours, and everything else.
Yes, you might work through a freelancing platform and yes, you want to please your clients. But neither of those things mean they’re your boss. They don’t have control over you. They don’t tell you when and where to work, how to do your job, what to wear, when you can have lunch, what tasks are important, and so on. If you go into freelancing with the mindset that someone else is your boss, you might as well work in an employed job and save yourself the hassle.
#2 Freelance unicorn: It’s an overnight thing
Lots of people seem to assume that you can become a successful freelancer in a short amount of time, but freelancing is a long game. They get frustrated with how long it takes to find clients, build a reputation, and earn a decent amount of money, and they give up on it or switch from platform to platform, assuming that the problem is the platform, instead of realising it’s their lack of perseverance. In reality, it takes a lot of time, effort, and patience to succeed. If you want overnight success, freelancing isn’t the way to go about it.
#3 Freelance unicorn: It’s not a real job
Yes, there are still people who roll their eyes when you say you’re a freelancer. Because they think it’s not a real job. Just because you work from home and don’t suffer the 9-5 doesn’t mean it’s not a real job. It’s just not a job in the sense that most people are used to, because there isn’t someone else controlling your time and your actions, and because you can work in your PJs if you want. Freelancing is a real career path that many people can and do make a living from.
#4 Freelance unicorn: It’s the easy option
Freelancing certainly isn’t an easy option, and it’s not the fall-back option when you couldn’t get “a real job”. It takes a certain skill set to be a freelancer, because you have to find work, market yourself, manage your workload, keep your clients satisfied, solve your own problems, motivate yourself, be disciplined, stand out against the competition, use your initiative, and so on. Not everyone could be a freelancer, because it’s not that easy to manage your own work.
#5 Freelance unicorn: You’re available 24/7
Just because you have non-standard working hours, it doesn’t mean you’re constantly available to clients. If you are, you’re doing something wrong. You don’t have to be accessible 24/7 and reply instantly. You set your working hours—the ones that suit you—and you tell clients when you’re available. You set the boundaries for your clients, so you’re not at the whim of their every request. This all goes back to being your own boss.
What common misconceptions have you heard about freelancing? Comment below or get in touch.