If you asked me two years ago, I probably would have told you to quit the 9-5 you are so over, follow that sweet business idea you have and work for yourself. With the rising popularity of freelancing, starting your own business or other forms of self-employment, it's becoming sexier and sexier to leave your so called 'day job.'
I'm not writing to tell you that leaving your full time job isn't a good idea, in fact, I know enough people who would never go back. When I first started freelancing, I think I was naive to the challenges. Since then, I've had a few experiences that have changed my view of encouraging others to carve their own path. It's easy to glamorize starting a business and freelancing and the titles that come along with it. Doing work on your own time. Not having to answer to a boss. Taking vacation when you feel like it. Things like that. Truthfully, I think it's become trendy to go off on your own.
But like almost all forms of work, there are realities that don't get talked about a lot. In my experiences, there is the mental load of running a business and the stresses it can cause on my life. There are times when it can be an isolating and lonely experience. And It can be challenging to create space to be 'away' from your work. One of the biggest lessons I had early on, was that became a business owner.
Yes, your title might be graphic designer, writer, or photographer. But that's just a small piece of the share of work. It's the balance of art and commerce that allows freelancers to make a living. Fortunately for me, I also happen to also love running a business. I probably spend 25% of my time behind the camera and the other 75% of my time is spent working on the business...managing clients, producing shoots, editing, emailing and marketing, building new clients and relationships, accounting (the baine of my existence) and the list goes on. The realities of running a business are often overlooked by the appeal of being a "freelance XYZ." The idea of being a "freelance XYZ" is often bigger and more beautiful than realities of how much effort, desire, and luck needed to make a living freelancing.
This post isn't meant to dissuade you from starting your own business. It's a check point that I sat with as I decided to freelance. For those of you wanting to quit your job and start your own business, I encourage you to do two things. First is get really clear on your 'why'. That has helped me get over the shitty days. And second, hire a good accountant.