After more than 20 years running my own business, I’ve encountered a lot of lies (okay, myths) about those of us who live the independent life. Here are 10 of the silliest, oddest, most common wrong impressions about our day:
1. Pants are optional. Seriously? Who doesn’t wear pants??
2. Or, we work in our pyjamas /pajamas. The only time this happens in my house is when I’m sick, or I check email before starting my day. Otherwise, I shower, dress, do my hair and put on makeup, THEN get to my desk. I’m mentally psyched to work, plus I’m ready if called to a surprise meeting or Zoom chat.
3. We don’t work very hard. Um, no. It’s true we may have quieter times in between projects, but you can bet we’re spending that time looking for more work, updating our website and social media accounts, networking and otherwise tending our own businesses. We’re not napping or reading novels.
4. We get distracted by housework. Ha, ha! If that’s you, you’d better learn to focus or you won’t get your work done. I might throw a load of clothes into the washing machine on the way to my desk, and then into the dryer at lunch, but I don’t spend my work day on housework. I have the dust bunnies to prove it, and am okay with that.
5. We’re tempted by the fridge and spend half the day eating. Again, focus. Eat decent meals that will hold you until the next one. Allow yourself a tea or coffee or small snack in between; otherwise, stay out of the kitchen.
6. We’re at home, so we have lots of time to run errands for friends and family. Sorry, no. We may run out to do our own banking and other errands at a quiet time of day, but then we’re right back at the desk getting work done.
7. We can pick and choose our clients. In theory, this is true; in practice, we usually find it hard to say “no” in the interests of cash flow and keeping busy.
8. We say “yes” to everything. If we did that, it might be hard to finish everything, and on time! I’ll accept projects as long as I can juggle the work and the deadlines. If offered a project that isn’t up my alley, or I don’t have time to do a good job, I recommend a colleague who is better suited or has the time for it.
9. We’re alone all the time. Not exactly. We may work alone, but most freelancers make a point of getting out and networking with colleagues, partnering on projects, meeting with clients. It offsets the alone time, plus it’s good to show people that you can look presentable (see #1 and #2).
10. We had all the stars aligned before we started our business. Nope. Ideally, you have a client (your former employer, maybe), a nice office setup, the right equipment and so on. But if you wait until conditions are perfect, you’ll never launch. At some point, you just have to leap. The net will probably appear.
If you run your own business, what other myths have you encountered? If you’ve had any odd ideas about what a freelancer does, what are they?
Image: Suat Eman and FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
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