For most people engaged in creative activities, you know, people commonly defined as “creatives”, “unconventional”, “outside the box thinkers” or “foreign to the concept of a hair salon”, the nine to five life is commonly associated with a feeling of being trapped or the feeling a person experiences when said person watches other people having fun in the sunlight while he/she is behind a glass window. So close and yet so far.
Not that a full-time job is inherently incompatible with the aspirations of the common creative, but it’s more about knowing that you could be doing literally anything else but you are wasting your talent. As a creative entrepreneur that could be working on something more meaningful you instead toil away in a circle of self-administered guilt over -what’s the term- unfulfilled potential. Regardless of other facts of course.
So you rationalize a decision you’ve been chewing for a while and quit your stable job after overselling yourself on the “free” in freelance and decide to be a freelancer. Ah, and what a life it is! A world where you work on your own schedule and, depending on your field, where you could make a shit ton of money. But… as you’ll soon find out, freelancing, unlike your regular job isn’t as comfortable as you’d like it to be. So you go through the phases that will soon guide you to a huge realization that we at GETZ like to call the freelance grief. This is where you mourn and abandon, for the better, all notions and ideas you’ve had about freelancing to accept what it actually is.
1) FREEDOM! (BRAVEHEART VOICE)
You’ve put in your resignation letter, you’ve had your polite but awesome and badass (whatever this means) I quit moment with your supervisor (they often get a bad rep) and it’s your last day at your job. To you, this is a concept that no longer applies, j-o-b is an acronym that spells Journey Of Boredom (hey you’re creative come up with something better). You are now an adventurer in the unknown, a sailor ready to conquer the world with your talent. You have a plan and it will work.
It seems crass to say shit on the title of a section no? Anyways, you’re outside of your office and you’re about to pay for that freedom macchiato and realize… “will I get work…enough work to enjoy my freedom macchiato with my freedom tekorach?”.
Week 1 or Financial enlightenment:
If you’ve thought of everything, you probably have your first gig maybe a second one. But once that’s done. You start frequently checking your bank account and thinking of every penny you spend. You start with rationalizing. You don’t need all those chemicals from processed food! Who the fuck needs to take taxis everywhere? “ you know walking is a dying art form” “Those gym lobbyists did a number on the practice, I should unsubscribe, too much money is invested to support lies”
Week 2 or Yes I can!: No gigs. You’ve applied for everything. Yes, you can design that poster! Yes, you can write that company profile! Yes, you god damn can build a 3d model of that building and if you can’t YOU WILL GOD DAMN FIND OUT HOW SO HELP YOU, GOD!
Week 3 or AAAAAAAAAAA: Why is NO ONE REPLYING AND WHY IS TELE SKIMMING MY DATA?
Week 4 or more AAAAAAAAAAA (with a couple of additional A’s for emphasis): Drafting the “hey remember that time I quit…” letter and deleting it several times.
Week 5 (AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA but this time on the floor): Praising the gmail (who uses yahoo anyways) function that lets you unsend an email.
Week 6 (AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA but this time you’re angry): WHAT IS THIS FREELANCE THING ANYWAYS? IT’S LIKE A JOB WHERE YOU CONSTANTLY STRESS ABOUT FINDING THE NEXT JUST-OVER-BROKE.
Week 7 or WHY OH WHY DID I DO THIS??? You pick up every self-help book for entrepreneurs, watch ted talks, just absorb anything that can help you “sell yourself and your skills” … boy this really begins to sounds like you’re a Jester-of-Boss…
WEEK 9 (OR SIGH OF RELIEF): You hear from a client and you take a sigh of relief. You can do this.
3) YOU CAN DO THIS
Yes! You’ve got that gig! You will design that poster for that festival at a ridiculously low price! You work your butt off and you have that perfect design that just expresses the uniqueness and its certain je-ne-sai-quoi. You submit it. You feel great.
4) THE CLIENT HATES ME!
Draft 1 they hate it. Draft 2, they hate it. Draft 3, they kinda like it but only if it’s blue. Draft 4, they don’t like it in blue change back to the way it was before and give it more life to make it more festive. BUT WHAT DOES THAT MEAN EXACTLY???? Man, this feels just like a JOB.
5) OBAMA YOU LIAR! NO, WE CAN’T!!!!
You said yes to everything that comes your way because earlier, you were too busy jazz dancing over the offers that you forgot that you are just one person. This results in you being overburdened with work and mtsm none of your clients give a damn. This is business they tell you.
6) WHY DOES MY CLIENT HATE ME?
You’ve done your part the client is happy but your bank account begs to differ. You call, you want to fight with the client but quickly shy away from any conversation involving money and just agree to a “ We’ll pay soon okay, bye!” and start to google stuff on standing your ground and planting your feet. You call again but the floor is sooo damn slippery.
So, this is a job minus the stability… You realize that freelancing, much like most things isn’t built on good-faith and clients, for the most part, pay you money because they require your skills. Not because they want to encourage artists. So…it’s like a job where you’re in charge and you are the only employee… OMG! You are the jester to your own boss. Dun-Dun-Dun!