It’s important to me, in sharing my journey to freelancing and the work I’m doing now, to paint an honest picture of what it’s like after escaping the nine to five. I am always thankful to be able to work where I please, when I please, and to choose the clients I work with, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy.
Some days are rough. As motivated as I can be, I still have days where I just don’t feel like it. I don’t want to answer the emails or be creative or code for hours and I miss being able to just show up and get paid anyway. Now, if I don’t do the work there is no money.
I’ve had to dig into my savings, over Christmas when I spent a little extra to visit my brother in California and last month when the projects I was counting on to pay my bills took longer than expected. Those are the reasons I built myself a safety net before I left, but it’s still scary to see it shrink by any amount.
I’ve also been struggling to nail down a sleep schedule. It’s 1:30AM and I’m inspired to write, so I’m just doing it. I’ve gotten very bad about sleeping in until 11am and staying in my pajamas all day. I’ve realized that if I get up and get dressed I do feel more productive and being productive helps keep me in a positive mood. (Though I, like Mandy, have grown to hate wearing a bra and there’s generally a pile of them on the end of the couch.)
I have that feeling that I think most freelancers struggle with for a while of constantly needing to create and build and update and promote and if I stop something is going to fall through the cracks. But I know that if I don’t slow down and focus on the things that provide the most value I will be what falls through the cracks.
It’s becoming more and more apparent how important it is that I make time for my workouts, give myself a decent amount of time to unwind at night, leave the house at least every other day (I’m a mega homebody), make plans with friends, take my vitamins and eat well.
I am the product and the producer, the designer, the developer, the accountant, the marketer, the administrative assistant, and the caretaker of me so I have to put extra effort into keeping my shit together.
But I am reminded that it’s worth it on days when I get a call for a huge show (seriously, my 8th grade self is so stoked) and I can say yes immediately and not worry about an afternoon rehearsal or a 6PM call. I love that I can cook myself breakfast, lunch and dinner or take a break in the middle of the day to walk Slayer or workout.
For those of you who are working to make the escape, know there are still a ton of bumps in the road and you will work your butt off more than you every have before, but the bad days will be matched and hopefully outweighed by the days that you go to sleep feeling really damn lucky.