Monday, June 23, 2014

Freelancing: Is it a Real Job?

Did I hear you right? Did you ask if freelancing is a real job? Well, yeah. Okay, it’s more like lots of jobs, but still . . .

I happily spend most of my time as a freelance editor and writer, doing work I love, in a home office with a window and my own chair, and only the occasional meeting. Being my own boss and setting my own rules, I can even work outdoors or in a coffee shop if I want to. And I do, of course, have schedule and workload flexibility I didn’t have in the corporate world . . . that is, as long as I maintain quality work, meet deadlines, and stay reachable to my clients during normal business hours. 

Doesn’t that last part sound like a real job?

The thing is, this really is a job, a career—and, for me, it’s a full-time endeavor and blessing. But some people have the impression that freelancers are pretty much all stay-at-home moms (though many are), or retirees who want something to do (though they might just have no intention of ever “retiring”), or are only freelancing until they can find a “real” job. In other words, freelancing is work—here and there, part-time at best—but it’s not a job.

Well, not so much. Here, for example, is my agenda just for today, a Monday:

  • write a blog post for a client
  •  complete a PDF proofreading of a full-length novel
  •  begin a novella line edit
  •  make a 5:30 p.m. business call and immediately draft an article

In between, I will:

  • check and update my scheduled projects spreadsheet
  •  acknowledge an editing project due to come in today 
  •  field and care for any small, quick-turnaround projects 
  •  manage all other incoming and outgoing communication 

Other days I update my website, do sample edits for potential private clients, discuss business needs with my business manager (yep, my husband!), catch up on industry news, consult with editors about upcoming projects . . . you get the picture.

Because I know other freelancers, especially in publishing, and I follow still others on Twitter, for example, I can tell you that lots of us are full-time, empty-nester, not-“retired,” gainfully self-employed, hard-working people. Fortunately, I am quite good at juggling balls and getting a boatload of work done, even if taking a Wednesday off means working on a Saturday! Well, as long as I have coffee.

For freelancers (writers, designers, marketers, editors, and so on), do you have anything to add?

For readers, do you know how many editors it usually takes to bring a traditionally published book into the world? (I’ll tell you in a blog post sometime, and this is not a lightbulb joke!)

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