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Note from Lisa: Wondering about some of the challenges of freelancing? In this guest post, Christina is here to talk about the freelance blues and how to overcome this common struggle.
Take it away, Christina.
Ah, the life of a freelancer. It sounds so glamorous, you can be your own boss, and travel while working from practically anywhere. But as with anything dreamy, freelancing has downsides that no one ever talks about.
It is the elephant in the room that we all ignore. I lovingly like to call this Freelance Blues.
“The best thing about being self-employed is that when you talk to yourself, you can call it a staff meeting.”Somecards
When I first thought about becoming a freelancer, I immediately thought of those people who sit at coffee shops all day and, aside from taking up space and only ordering one cup of coffee, always looked happy and busy.
I would often daydream about what it would be like to be one of them.
And who could forget the amazing and talented Lois Lane?
Her career, while totally fictional, is an exciting one. She is an investigative journalist always in the know and first to report anything exciting.
Her career is full of adventure, romance, and danger- she never gets bored or has to deal with the loneliness that is freelancing blues.
Now, I know she isn’t a freelance writer or even a real person, but who doesn’t want to be just like Lois Lane?
FYI-she was who I wanted to be when I grew up and the only reason why I picked up any Superman comic books.
So of course, I had to figure out how to create the freelancing life I dreamed about. One that would rival Lois Lanes and be just as fulfilling.
Now, what kind of well-intelligent person would I be if I just jumped into the deep end without thinking? I put on my thinking cap and did my best Lois Lane-type research.
However, unlike Miss Lane, I don’t have to go very far to get the information I want or need. These days it is as simple as opening an app and flipping through social media. What could go wrong with doing some research on social media?
For one thing, it blurs reality.
Not only does social media show all the things that “could be possible” through the lens of a filter, but it also makes freelancing seem as though it’s like being a part of Cher’s clique in ‘Clueless’.
Just imagine your favorite characters all glammed up and living their best life. That is the image I got from social media.
In fact, many of the freelancers I follow on social media seem to spend their days frolicking on the beaches of Spain or tanning in Greece, and freelancing part-time, all while making six figures.
Just by looking at their pictures, you would think that they never encountered any challenges of freelancing. Or even know what the term freelance blues means.
The reality of course was much different.
According to the 2020 State Of Remote Work study from AngelList and Buffer, remote workers ranked loneliness—alongside collaboration and communication—as their biggest struggle overall. As remote work becomes increasingly common and leveraged as a tool to retain quality talent and offer greater flexibility to employees, workers should have transparency into some of its challenges, and be primed with ways to navigate them.
Working alone has its ups and downs. As humans, we all crave some kind of connection and we forget how much we rely on collaborating with others. Until we are without.
For example, my husband who is also a freelancer, likes to call me his rubber duck. He bounces ideas off of me but doesn’t require or expect me to answer him. He just needs to think out loud.
For him, this is good enough, but for me, I need more.
And since my other coworker is my six-year-old-there isn’t much conversation beyond Lanky Box and Ninja Turtles.
That was when I realized that I was a bit lonely and felt like I was stranded on my own island.
With my entrepreneurial spirit, I decided to figure out how I could tackle the freelance blues.
Keep reading because I am going to lay out the details for you to overcome this freelancing challenge.
Ways to Overcome This Challenge of Freelancing
So now that we’ve defined the problem, let’s talk about practical ways to overcome one of the biggest challenges of freelancing: the freelance blues. Here are four tried-and-true tips for building a community and feeling less isolated.
1. Join a Facebook group.
Regardless of how you feel, networking is essential as a freelancer. I have found the best way to do this is through Facebook groups. If you’re going to join one, really join it.
Think of them like the chat rooms of the nineties where you sit around and gossip. Really interact with group members. There, you will find the support and colleague accolades you are looking for. Plus, whenever you end up stuck on a project, they can help you. Or if you need a virtual assistant, you already know a few.
2. Change the scenery and not a coffee shop.
3. Meet people in person:
Try attending networking meets, conferences, or wherever. While you learn a new skill or build upon your skills, reach out to those in similar niches.
Connections can be important, not just for your mental health but also for your business. When you don’t feel alone, the challenges of freelancing don’t feel as overwhelming.
4. Get a hobby outside of your work.
Work-life balance is a hot topic right now, and having balance is healthy.
Taking time away from your job to go to the gym or do yoga with others in your neighborhood is such a good way to beat the loneliness associated with freelancing.
For more hobby ideas, read this post: 10 Simple Hobby Ideas for Busy Work at Home Moms
Final Thoughts on Overcoming Some Challenges of Freelancing
The challenges of freelancing aren’t easy to deal with, and at times when it is just you and your computer, life as a freelancer can be so lonely. But you don’t have to struggle with the freelancing blues on your own.
There are ways to prevent freelance burnout or wishing that you were back in that cubicle working 9-5. With the tips above you can create your own healthy, glamorous Instagram-like freelancing dream that beats the freelancing blues away.
For more tips on building a freelance business, try these posts: