Oh, to have the life of a freelancer! Working whenever you want, wherever you want (hello sunny beach!), and having unlimited time to spend with family and friends. It sounds amazing…but it’s not 100% realistic. Keep reading to find out what a day in the life of a freelancer actually looks like.
Working remotely and creating your own schedule are possibilities, but freelancing is much more than just having increased career flexibility.
So what does it actually mean to be a freelancer? Glad you asked. Essentially, a freelancer is someone who does work for a client, but is not employed by them. Freelancers generally work offsite and contract their services to various clients, while employees and contractors often work onsite. Since freelancers are self-employed, it’s important they set aside money for taxes — having a separate bank account can be helpful.
But while a freelancer may not head into an office or keep traditional 9-to-5 hours, there are other factors that make freelancing different than working full-time for one employer.
Those who thrive as freelancers have some distinct habits and traits, including a willingness to learn and take action. While from the outside it may seem like a freelancer’s day is full of freedom, this is often not the case.
Since their day isn’t dictated by the office schedule, freelancers need to stay organized and on top of their to-do list. Going off on a tangent can be surprisingly easy!
Successful freelancers spend time regularly researching and contacting prospective new clients. Depending on the type of freelance work, this may very well occur on a daily basis to ensure the next job is lined up …otherwise the next paycheck won’t arrive!
They also need to be meticulous about tracking their income and time, stay on top of deadlines, and make themselves regularly available via phone, Zoom, Skype (or whatever program the client prefers).
Remember: You’re still working for someone, even if you aren’t working for a “boss.”
Curious about what a freelancer’s day looks like? Instead of rolling out of bed when they feel like it, they likely set an alarm like everyone else, get dressed, eat breakfast, and get working.
Depending on the type of freelance work, they probably spend the morning dealing with emails, client requests, and addressing any urgent matters. If they focus best in the morning, they will likely work on a project until midday.
They may take a lunch break, or they may eat as they work. Midafternoon tends roll in with a slower pace, and depending on their schedule, they may take a break. Keep in mind — if they break to nap or walk the dog, they will likely work into the evening.
Afternoons and evenings are generally geared towards prospecting new clients, and perhaps catching up on other work. What about working at night? It can happen — especially if they have a last-minute job request and want to keep their clients happy.
Contrary to popular belief, freelancers often work as much as—if not more than — those in similar office positions. Being on-staff means you aren’t spending time finding new clients, whereas freelancers usually have multiple clients and potentially conflicting deadlines that they have to make work—even if that means wrapping up a project at 5 PM on a Friday.
All said and done, though, as a freelancer you can have more flexibility with your schedule and location. You get to choose what work you accept, which creates variety. And you can choose when you make more and when you make less by taking on more or less work.
Does freelancing create complete freedom? No, it doesn’t. But does it represent a different kind of freedom and fulfillment? Yes, it does.
Freelancing has its challenges, but it also has significant benefits. Your day might not be quite as toes-in-the-sand, glass-in-your-hand as you’d hope, but for the right person, the rewards are almost just as good.
Your turn! Have more freelancing questions? Want to share what a day in the life of your freelance life looks like? Comment below!