1. You chose your own clients, so sometimes you get to work on really cool projects or find yourself doing really awesome stuff.
2. But since practically everyone is a freelance something, and because its your job to find your own clients, well, good luck finding work!
3. You constantly feel like you’re either waiting on checks that may never come or harassing people for your coins. A friend calls and asks if you want to meet them at the bar: “I can’t, my damn check from _____ still hasn’t come.” Until that glorious day you stay inside sitting in a corner in a ball, crying.
4. You may or may not have health insurance!
5. When you go freelance, it’s all too easy to slip into a pile of laziness and stay inside and watch movies all day, putting your freelance design project or reading that script off until the very last possible second. But you’re good at what you do, so everything will be fine.
6. Freelancers usually have multiple sources of income and lots of different balls in the air. At parties or other social functions, when people ask what you do for a living you’re kind of like “Well…I do a bunch of different stuff,” / I’m completely broke at the moment.
7. People think your life is glamorous when really it’s a constant sea of pitching stories to people and getting no response or rejection notices and generally feeling broke a lot.
8. You know what it is to procrastinate on something for so long that you get check-in messages from your agent, project manager, editor or what not that are like, “You’re past deadline. Where is the project?” And you respond, “Uhhh, I’m working on it right now and will get it to you shortly,” whereby “working on it right now” means “I ain’t done SHIT!”
9. But at least your job isn’t as stressful as the people who work for the company full time. You hear stories about how they are losing their minds, but you? You have your stressful days but overall you’re doing just fine!
10. You know what it means to send out pitch after pitch only to be told that your idea is “good” but “not for us” or “interesting” but “not timely.”
11. On the plus side, you get to work from wherever, whenever!
12. On the downside, you sometimes have to deal with people who have unrealistic expectations. “I need you to do this crazy ridiculous task that would take a normal, sane person 28 hours to do, but since we’re paying you, can you do it in 35 minutes?”
13. You will sometimes have to work for free, at least until your game gets tight. But it’s an awesome client and at least you’re getting exposure, right?
14. Or you will work for someone who basically wants to do your job for you. Paul wants green but Megan wants orange, Michelle wants purple and Chris says white is the best way to go. Well just fuck everything.
15. Wifi cafés, where you can commiserate with other freelancers, can sometimes be the worst place on earth, especially if there is no wifi, or the wifi is down, or slow, or there are no outlets, or the place is always too packed and you can never get a seat.
16. Depending on your industry, you get invited to cool company-wide parties or get put on the guest-list for free concerts! I once did a story that got me invited to a secret show in a celebrity’s fabulous Tribeca loft!
17. Pitching stories or ideas to places and not hearing back from the project manager is a total blow to your self-esteem. Like, are they purposefully avoiding you? Do they actually hate you?
18. Sometimes, dealing with people’s people is the worst.
19. If you work freelance consistently, there’s a joy in deciding to take a month or two off from work if you can afford it. Not knowing, of course, if there will be work when you decide to come back.
20. One day you will get a check in the mail for a job you did so long ago that you completely forgot about it. Receiving a check in the mail is always a glorious moment, but really? You did this job a year and a half ago.
21. Your tax situation is always a mess. But that new computer you just got? Tax-deductable!
22. You’re either really busy — business is great! — or you’re doing absolutely nothing.
23. You are forever hawking people your business cards or tweaking your website or trying to make new connections on LinkedIn. It’s part of the game! If nobody knows about you, how will you get work?
24. Wondering if your work is good enough when you do turn it in.
25. You’re frequently broke, which is what happens when you spend most of your time hassling people for checks or waiting for them to come in the mail.