To Freelance or not to Freelance? That is the question!

I have noticed that whenever I work in a department store setting the full time employees always ask me a thousand questions about my life as a freelancer.  They then often go into a story that I have heard many times unfortunately.  They are mothers, wives, girlfriends, and have no work life balance.  They are tired of missing their children’s basketball games, dance recitals, and plays.  They are tired of missing the family reunions, birthdays, and Thanksgiving dinners.  They are tired of canceling weekend get a ways with their husbands because something happened at work forcing them to have to cancel.  They are also tired of old systems and old rules that only are concerned with money and not people which leads to high turn over and poor brand representation.  I totally understand their plight.

While I understand, I also know that the way I must make the freelance thing look must be way better and easier than it actually is! I jumped off the cliff of having a secure full time management position with great benefits for a retail store at the end of 2010, after having lost 20lbs because of stress from my job and my boss.  Luckily for me, I have not had to look back.  Included in me not having to look back there are a few things that folks wanting to jump off of that same cliff need to know.

  • I am a super grown adult with a roommate.  I live in what is now one of the most expensive places to live, and for most of us folks that do not have the luxury of our parents still financially supporting us or a significant other paying our bills, we have to live with other people to make it work!  I would love to have a cute little studio or one bedroom apartment, but I have chosen the life of an artist that wants work freedom.  One sacrifice that I have to make is not being able to live alone…yet!
  • I never say no to work which means I hardly have days off.  Yea so for all of you folks complaining about your full time retail jobs with your guaranteed two days off, please know that as a freelancer, you never know when your next job will come so you have to work every one!! You will realize that as a freelancer you may have less time to spend with family, friends, and loved ones because you will become a workaholic!  On the rare occassion when I just wake up and am not feeling it, I can call out with out worrying about my district manager threatening to kill my unborn son because of a $5,000 goal that I may or may not have been able to make anyway!
  • Benefits?  What benefits?!  As a freelancer, I have one word for you. Obamacare!  Listen, work out religiously, watch your diet, take your vitamins, and floss, brush, and use mouth wash daily because your doctor and dentist visits might become a figment of your imagination once you become a freelancer!
  • No hours!  When I first became a freelancer, I also taught dance.  If I didn’t teach dance, there is no way I would have made it. Companies typically have tons of freelance hours from September until January 1st.  After the holiday season, the hours are few and far in between.  You will not have 40 hours a week as a freelance make up artist unless you work for a zillion brands at one time(which I have done), have tenure with a company and have proven yourself(still nowhere near 40 hours), or have an amazing clientele.
  • You have to be agile like a cat!  In the freelance world, things can change at the drop of a hat! This week you can have 20 hours with a certain brand and a few weddings on the weekend, and next week crickets! Guess what? That is totally normal, and if you are used to getting a certain amount of money every two weeks so you can do what you need to do, keep your day job!!

All in all, I was born an artist to two parents that are artists.  I have an arts degree, and was trained in college to hustle!  I have always known that I would have to work for myself and make sacrifices that others may not be able to make.  I am ok with my choices, but I urge every person thinking that the freelance world is the answer to think critically before jumping off the full time job cliff!

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