I’ve never been a great employee and I was once told that, trying to manage me, is like trying to baptize a cat. One could say that I have an aversion to authority. I also really don’t like being micromanaged or have someone breathing down my neck while I am trying to get things done. I have had some bosses who handled this well, and they would let me get on with what I needed to do, but I have had others who simply couldn’t handle the way I worked and tried to get me to conform. Our relationships didn’t last very long.
I work smart, I work hard, and I work fast. So, if I am finished for the day, why force me to sit at my desk until 5pm when all I am going to do is use your WIFI to scroll through Instagram? It’s absurd.
In my life, I have never missed a deadline but somehow felt the need to apologize every time I got back to the office late after a meeting because there was traffic. My anxiety over a certain employer’s expectations brought me back to work 4 weeks earlier than I should have after a horrific car accident. A phone call from a boss at any time would make my heart jump into my throat and immediately make me feel guilty for having done something wrong. This is no way to live.
I finally decided almost two years ago, to go at it on my own and make a living as a Flexy worker. The idea of working from anywhere and not always having to wear pants to do so, really spoke to me. Not having a boss was also a big drawcard, obviously!
Finding suitable #Flexy working places can be tricky
Finding a good location is about more than just coffee and free WIFI. I believe that desks are where dreams go to die and have spent the last two years looking for great places to work from that cater to my specific needs. There’s a coffee shop I love to go to, but I can’t sit for long at their workbenches because the barstools are uncomfortable and give me back pain. Some places are too noisy to concentrate or too dark to see the notes in your notebook. I’ve found a couple of tables that are too high for the chairs, meaning my forearms rest on the 90-degree corner, it stops the blood to my hands and could, in time, cause carpal tunnel syndrome. Maybe I am very fussy, but you’ll know when you find the right place for you because you’ll do great work and want to return there again and again. That’s why we chose this life, isn’t it? To have a choice.
Sometimes it’ll get lonely
Without a consistent team or even a dedicated place of work, you might find yourself lonely at times. This is par for the course when choosing a lifestyle like this. The hardest part for me, was not always having someone to bounce ideas off. There are days when working from home or alone at a coffee shop just won’t cut it and so I go to the ‘office’. I rent a small area at a company with extra desk space and go there. I need to see other humans and interact with someone other than my bulldog, Steve. It’s also a good place for me to leave a lot of my stuff, carrying files around everywhere I go is not an option. I still love working alone for long periods of time but having a safety net like this works for me. It may or may not work for you.
Your work is never done.
Looking back, I was blissfully unaware how great it was to earn a solid income. If I had a bad day or week, I would still get paid at the end. Going alone will teach you some tough lessons but in turn, will toughen you up. Retainer clients are great, and I have managed to find a few of them but a lot of my current work is project based so income varies from month to month. When you’re finished working on a project, you’ll need to invoice and often, chase the money. While this is happening, you’ll be hunting for new work, continuing with existing work and trying to plan 3, 6, 9 and 12 months into the future. When you go #Flexy, the end of the month will no longer signal payday to you, it will give you shivers because another month’s expenses are due. I decided at the very beginning to #Flexy my way as a Pty (Ltd) and hired a tax accountant to help me manage everything properly, and by the book. Now when a month ends, I have to do month-end. It sucks but someone must do it. You become the janitor, the CEO, the CFO, the salesperson, the skivvy and the receptionist. It’s SO worth it though.
It is a 25-hour day
Inspiration doesn’t only arrive between the hours of 8 and 5. I’ve learned that #Flexy working is not-only never fully done, but that the full daily cycle is available to me to use as I wish. There are days when I literally do nothing until 6 pm. I’ll fart around on email and finish up some admin but for some reason get a wave of a drive just before dinner and work well into the night. Other days, I might wake up early and feel inspired and push out great work. At midday, my brain will switch off. Sometimes, I act ‘normal’ and work from 8 to 5 in the office and get stuck in traffic on the way home like everyone else. There are many blogs out there telling you the key to success is to meditate every morning at 5 am, write 1000 words before breakfast or switch of all electronic devices an hour before bedtime. I call bullshit. My body clock changes with the moon and I listen to her. It’s worked for me so far.
No one will value you unless you value yourself
I quickly fell into the trap of undercharging my first couple of clients. I think I was terrified they’d go somewhere else. I was afraid to charge what I thought my decade of work experience in this industry was worth. It can be tough, and clients’ perceptions will be difficult to change. They won’t realize that although you’re either a lone ranger or a small team, electricity, food, and data costs the same to everyone. They might even ask you to do work for free because of the great exposure you’ll get, walk away. Once you figure out what you’d like to charge clients (without being a complete rip off obviously) I suggest adding 10% to the total before you hit ‘send’. If they don’t think you’re worth X plus 10%, they don’t think you’re worth X. In two years, I have fired two clients who completely took me for a ride and wanted me to let them do it for chump change. I lost the business, but I grew some hefty balls and kept my reputation intact. Quality over quantity might be your savior here.
I chose my #Flexy life and knew it would come with its own set of difficulties and lessons, but I will never look back, and you shouldn’t either. Life’s too short to work for the man. The future is female, after all.
‘Freelance Copy Writer’
This article and all the wisdom in it was contributed to the Flexy community by Sabrina Forbes. Delivered with Joy and received with Gratitude. Want to share your story? Send us your experience with the subject “I want to share my story”.