By Lynne Gowers on 18th February 2015

Freelance expectations vs reality

Thinking about becoming a freelancer? Well, it is all great fun, although as those who have already been living the self-employment dream for some time already can testify, some of the expectations you had when starting out may have altered a little.

With this in mind, here are some of the freelance expectations vs reality.

Your office will be wholly professional

Ah, the home office issue. It’s all well and good when you are first planning how to turn the spare room into your own little professional hub. Buying your first desk, chair and various prints to decorate it with can be so exciting and the chances are you have a vision as to how classy it’s going to look – think what Don Draper would be looking for in Mad Men.

The reality is that about two months into your new career, the desk is covered in coffee rings and your bookshelf is starting to look a little bit more like a teenager’s room and is filled with magazines, and fun little books that are perfect for those who enjoy a bit of procrastination.

Working hours will be a doddle

One of the greatest aspects of becoming a freelancer is the fact that you can be flexible; it’s up to you to decide what hours you want to work.

Even if you have other responsibilities to attend to, chances are that you will aim to work a set amount of hours and only between certain times. You’re an adult right? So of course you can organise yourself in such a manner!

Well, try as you might, the chances are that despite your best intentions, you will end up working late at night and probably start your working day a little later than you planned. After all, the office is only a mere 30 seconds away, so what’s another hour or two in bed?

Your computer/laptop will be used for work purposes only

You spent so much money on a state-of-the-art, brand new beast of technology, with so many wonderful specs that you would find it hard to find anything better to upgrade to.

Of course, you will only be using it for work purposes, right?

Wrong. Yes, you’ll mainly use your new laptop or computer for professional reasons and you will be glad of all the extra memory it can hold and the fast internet access when it comes to submitting your tax return an hour before the midnight deadline.

However, you will also find that YouTube soon becomes your number one bookmark, closely followed by Buzzfeed (is there a better way to procrastinate than to take part in a quiz to find out what kind of pizza you are?). Netflix also now has the full series of The Office available and Better Call Saul has just started on it, so maybe that’s worth a download too, just for when you deserve a half hour break. Or an hour, or two…

You will use your time to develop your skills

Imagine that once you become a freelancer you will use your flexible time to take a college course and learn a brand new skill? Envisage yourself sat at your new desk (free of any coffee rings), spending your evenings reading through guides on how to create websites or how to become fluent in French?

You’re not alone. Personal and professional development is a common dream upon sprightly new freelancers. However, the reality is that once you get going with your new professional role, you will be so busy that when it comes to spare time, you will just want to either sleep or catch up with friends.

One thing’s for sure though, you won’t ever regret making the move to the world of freelancing!

Written by Lynne Gowers
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