Freelance Is Not A Synonym For Slacker

Everyone wants time freedom, but we turn our nose up when we see freelance life in action. You smirk at the 10 am yoga class on Tuesdays. Who is going to that? Or the folks who are buying all their groceries at the Farmers Market before 2 pm on every third Thursday. Must be for people who don’t have jobs, work at home types, the ones who couldn’t hack it at a job. Slackers.

Running a business/being a freelance anything is frustrating because so few people understand it. The lesson I want to share today is that an entrepreneur, and their schedule have to be so disciplined that it will boggle the mind of your average employee. Freedom of time is not equal to free all the time. Freelance does not mean I do nothing all day.

when you email me at 2pm asking if I want to have a meeting at 2:15, the answer is not only no, it’s also, “what the *%$# do you think this is?

Every second of my day is allocated, often weeks in advance — carefully drafted so I can reach my big hairy audacious goals AND live the life I want as a badass mom, wife, friend, and businesswoman. Shout out to my fellow BHAGgers out there! This means that when you email me at 2pm asking if I want to have a meeting at 2:15, the answer is not only no, it’s also, “what the *%$# do you think this is? You think I’m over here glued to my computer waiting for you to email me?”

The View From The Solo Side

I can think of at least half a dozen freelancers/solopreneurs in my network who have returned to working a JOB. The most challenging transition is the notion that having meetings = working. In 9 to 5 world, you get paid to think about/talk about/muse about being productive.

Stop thinking about it and do the damn thing.

Solopreneurs have no such luxury. Stop thinking about it and do the damn thing! Like yesterday. I challenge every employee reading this to act like your next meal depended on you making something happen. Because if you were a small business owner, a freelancer, your life would depend on it. That’s where employees could learn a lot from their freelance friends. Get some urgency in your flow. Act like the money being spent were yours, like the time spent in a meeting was taking away from the rest of your life.

Stay Hungry

Folks who have to produce to live are what you call hungry. I’m talking about the kind of hungry where you get up at 5 am and go to bed at 3 the next morning because you have to finish this blog post, budget for the week, write a proposal for some of that city contract money. . . because you know if you don’t do those things, you won’t be able to buy food next month, or next quarter — that kind of hungry.

When I was a kid I used to think adults had it so easy. They went to work and came home. Adults don’t have homework. My parents got to relax all night. No extra-curriculars, or term papers, or reading things you don’t want to read. But then you become a grown up and you realize, that working all day and then giving it all away so you can subsist is way worse than being a kid and going to school. And like most things in life, it comes full circle for some of us when we (some of us) decide to strike out on our own and create that dream life that our boss seems to have. You know the one where he goes on vacation and still makes money? She takes a month off and her dreams of changing the world are still happening? But what no one wants to talk about is how she got there.

The Myth of the Overnight Success

No one is an overnight success. Most entrepreneurs who have “arrived”, got there by way of many sleepless nights, all nights and through the night sessions, before they found a groove or rhythm, that led them to success.

only the strong survive and only planners can thrive.

Sticking to what you love and turning it into your life –you don’t do that work because it pays. You do it because it feeds your soul. And when you are gutsy enough and persistent enough and hungry enough, it starts to pay off in big ways. But in the meantime, no I can’t meet with you in the next fifteen minutes. Because my life is not built on meetings thinking about doing, and planning to do, or wondering what would happen if I did.

Because when you have to keep moving to feed your soul, and to feed your belly, the idea of stopping on a dime (for anyone) is blasphemy. So stop judging the people who are able to take a 10 am yoga class on a Tuesday. If I work from 3 am to 7, drop my kids off at school, write a blog post, and can make it to a workout where there’s no line for the showers, I think I earned that.

I’m not hating on anyone who is an employee, but it is different out here. Call me a contractor, a freelancer, a solopreneur, a small business owner. But don’t call me a slacker. I’m self-employed. And while yes that means I can make my own schedule, don’t think that means I have no schedule. Because to make it out here, only the strong survive and only planners can thrive. Stay hungry.

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