When you mention to people you are a freelancer, do they think you roll out of bed, work a few hours and have no structure to your day? Do they think it is an easy gig? Ahh, if only they knew! There are loads of weird and wonderful myths and misconceptions out there about freelancing. Here are just a few that I will set straight

  1. Freelancers sleep in every morning. I wish! I can’t even remember the last time I slept until then. We need to be up and about and ready for clients – they contact you at all times of day and night.

  2. People only freelance when they can’t find a ‘proper’ job. Freelancing is like any other job – except you are your own boss. Many opt to become a freelancer by choice. I did and I am happy with that decision.

  3. Freelancing is for those who hate working with people. Just because you work alone, does not mean you are anti-social and unable to work with others. You have to be personable with clients at meetings and over the phone / skype. Also, you need to network for business all the time – that takes a big smile and a lot of friendly enthusiasm!

  4. Freelancing is an easy way to get an income. Freelancers can only rely on themselves to get business and therefore money. We have to put in a lot of effort into our freelancing business.

  5. Freelancing is a romantic lifestyle. What? Really? Yes, in the movies or on TV maybe but not in reality. The truth is that freelancing means you are running a business and there is only you to do it, so it is hard work.

  6. Anyone can be a freelancer. Actually, you need a marketable skill before you can freelance.

  7. Freelancer are mind readers and know what you want without you telling them. Communication is key to a successful client/freelancer relationship. We are not mind readers. The more communication between the client and freelancer, the better the results will be!

  8. Freelancers always charge more. Most freelancers underestimate the amount of work a project requires and under quote on projects. They also often work all hours for clients. In the long run, it is often cheaper for a client to hire a freelancer than having a full-time staff member.

  9. You can’t trust a freelancer. Trust and reliability are what freelancing relies on. You have to have a good reputation in order to do well.

  10. Freelancers have to be specialists in their field. Not necessarily. Some may like to specialise and be very successful in doing so whilst others are generalists and can also do very well. It depends on the freelancer’s skillset.

  11. Your office can be absolutely anywhere. In theory, it can be with the world so connected, but I have had times where I have had to move from a noisy café. That said, I am then just able pick up my laptop and move to a quieter place. There is a lot of wifi out there and I have had many a holiday with laptop in hand, which is a good and a bad thing!

  12. Most freelancers spend most of their time surfing the internet and watching Netflix. No work, no pay – enough said!

  13. You’ll need to work 24/7 to succeed as a freelancer. Like any business what you put in, you get out. Yes, you need to work hard to establish yourself and your business but work/life boundaries are important and should be implemented.

  14. To succeed, you need to be cheaper than all the other freelancers. Never market yourself on the basis of having the lowest price. Focus on your skills, the quality of your work and the value you provide. If clients think you are worth it, they will pay!

  15. You shouldn’t charge a client for meeting time. While it’s okay to provide some meeting time in your estimate, if a client requires you to sit in on meetings that don’t directly impact your project you should charge the client for your time. Your time is a valuable and you should not work for free.

  16. You don’t need a written agreement with your client. A written agreement or contract at the beginning of a project is a good way to protect yourself.

  17. The more clients you have as a freelancer, the better off you are. You can overcommit. If you take on more work than you can handle, it might negatively affect your work and thus impact your freelancing business.

  18. Never turn down paying work. Some paying work isn’t worth your time. Or you may be so busy with other clients that you simply do not have the capacity for any more work. Never hesitate to turn down a project is something feels “off” to you or you are simply overloaded.

  19. Freelancers are more available for volunteer work than traditional employees. Some people think that as I work from home I have more time on my hands, this is not true. Freelancing is a real job and it takes real time to do it.

  20. Freelancers having a quiet period must be bad at their job. Many experienced and successful freelancers go through a famine period. Like in any other job there are peaks and troughs. Use the time to research, network, update your website and collateral or try a new marketing strategy. Don’t stress, enjoy a little bit of calm before another work storm!

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