The Ugly Truth: When It's Time For a Freelance Hiatus
I remember the first day I started freelancing full time. It was back in 2014, and I was living in an apartment with my best friend.
I remember waking up to my alarm and jumping out of bed for the first time in years. I made myself a strong black coffee and muesli for breakfast and sat down at my desk in a little nook in our cosy apartment.
I felt absolutely free.
Fast forward four years, countless clients, projects and invoices, and I’m feeling unsettled. In fact, I’ve been feeling unsettled for a while.
How can something that felt so freeing suddenly feel so limiting?
A recent study found that a whopping 91% of millennials see career progression as their top priority. And I tend to agree.
But, here’s the kicker, career progression is a really difficult thing to achieve as a freelancer. There’s no ladder, there’s no promotion, there’s no yearly salary increase, there’s not KPI’s and bonuses. Nada. Zilch. Nothin'.
As much as I pushed to create those things for myself, I never felt as though I was growing as quickly in my career as my friends were. Suddenly, I felt left behind, and ‘working for myself’ wasn’t enough anymore.
Don’t get me wrong, I love working for myself. But I’ve hit a wall. I no longer learn as much as I once did, and so, I feel stagnant.
Then, out of nowhere, I was offered a 3-month full time position for a lot (like a lot a lot) of money. And I took it.
Why I’m Quitting Freelancing (For Now)
That sounds pretty dramatic. I’m not totally quitting freelancing. I like to think of it as a hiatus. Like the kind of hiatus smack bang in the middle of a bloody good tv show.
The main reason I took this position is to learn and grow. I’m going to be writing for one of Australia’s biggest corporates, alongside user experience experts. My theory is, although the content is going to be dull, I’ve got a helluva lot to learn in a short amount of time.
The second reason, I’m not so proud of – money. My main goal at the moment is to save enough money to borrow (way too freaking much) money from the bank, to buy land and build a house with my main man. #dreams And with this job, and the money it brings in every week, that dream feels a little more possible.
I mean, I can always go back to freelancing. It’s not like this is my one and only chance. Truth is, I know I will go back. So, I may as well make the most of my last few years of living in the city, to learn and grow my skills as much as I possibly can.
At the end of the day, if my goal is to move out of the city, I realistically only have a few years left of working for big companies and learning as much as I can. Once I'm in the country, I kind of have no choice but to freelance full time.
So, What's My Plan?
I’m a planner. Josh always teases me about my love for lists, but I can’t help myself.
So, since I was offered this job, I’ve started thinking about my life back in the daily grind. Scary, I know. But, if there’s one thing I learnt from my recent trip to Nepal, the best thing to do is to focus on the positives.
I’m excited for the training and skills I’m going to learn. I’m excited to work around people again – I mean common, gossiping in the kitchen and Friday night drinks are pretty good work perks. I’m eager to get some regular reading in on my daily commute. And getting a pay check every week – seriously, if you’ve never freelanced before, you’ll never fully appreciate how damn good regular pay is!
To tell you the truth, I’m actually kind of excited to take a step back from my business. Shocking, I know! This doesn’t mean that this space is becoming redundant. Actually, quite the opposite. I can’t wait to just start creating content for me again. No business pressure, no strategy, just me creating.
With money in the bank and not having to worry about signing new clients, I plan to spend more time away from the screen. I want to bake and cook more often. I want to spend more time (small scale) gardening. As well as exploring more of country Victoria with my hiking boots and 2-person tent.
I Am Not Ashamed
I felt compelled to write this because I don’t want to be ashamed. I don’t want to live a lie through my Instagram. I don’t want to pretend I’m a full time freelancer living an incredible life. One of my biggest values in life and work is transparency. So here I am, being transparent with you.
So much of my online world is of people telling me to seize the day, quit the daily grind and go travel full time. And the funny thing is, as a freelancer, I could actually do that. I’ve certainly been tempted!
But the truth is, that’s not who I am.
And that’s totally okay.
I’m a nester. I love the comforts of home. I’d never be able to travel full time. That’s not to say that I don’t like travelling. Of course I like travelling. Half of this blog is dedicated to travel. But I like home life just as much – and I’m not ashamed to admit it.
Although I don’t believe the traditional 9-5 is right for me, I do believe I can get a lot of it. And if it funds my down deposit for a farm along the Victoria coastline, I’m happy to give up some of my freelance life for that.