Working as a freelance writer can be hard sometimes. I know this well–I’ve been working in the journalism salt mines for over a decade at this point. But it can be even harder explaining just why freelancing is so frustrating to outsiders.
That’s why I’m happy that I just stumbled on this amazing rant called “Freelancing Sucks” that ran in Deadspin back in 2014. The author, Drew Magary, is writer of some renown who captured the joys and frustrations of being a freelancer perfectly.
The Frustrations of Freelancing Writing
Here’s a summary of Magary’s biggest complaints:
- The lack of security
- Low pay rates in many industries, such as freelance writing
- Constant uncertainty because when you’re between jobs, you’re not making money.
- Having difficulty planning finances because there’s no certainty to your work schedule.
- A feast or famine mentality where you can’t turn down work, for fear there won’t be work later.
- A lack of certainty when it comes to how long you’ll be working with a particular client.
Handling Freelance Stress
With all that said, here’s the problem. …Magary’s right. Even though there are a lot of good things about the freelance life, it’s hard to cope with all the challenges sometimes.
That’s why it’s so important to have strategies in place to cope with freelance stress–whether it’s financial, emotional, or logistical.
Financial Strategies For Coping With Freelance Stress
At Almost Millions, I can’t stress it enough–save enough money to have an emergency fund. Having a few thousand dollars in the bank makes all the difference in the world when you’re waiting to get paid or are in between gigs.
In addition, it’s important to manage your budget and be comfortable negotiating with your clients over projects and payment. If you don’t do all three things, your life as a freelancer will be much harder.
Emotional Strategies For Coping With Freelance Stress
One of the biggest differences between freelancing and working a more “conventional” job is the lack of comradery. At most jobs, you travel to your workplace and spend time with your coworkers in person. Even if you aren’t best friends with your coworkers, you’re still sharing the joys and the tragedies of your workplace with people sharing a similar experience.
Freelancers don’t have that in most cases. This is why it’s so important to build a network for emotional support–talk to your friends online, make sure you leave your home physically whenever possible to work around other people, and to surround yourself with people who’ll have your back on tough days.
In addition, meditation, getting enough sleep, and figuring out your best work-life balance work wonders.
Logistical Strategies For Coping With Freelance Stress
Make sure your project management is up to snuff, and that you’re keeping track of deadlines and contacts. Use a good project management system (Trello offers a great starting point) and a CRM if you’re actively seeking out new clients.
Use to-do lists and daily schedules to make sure you’re doing important work when it needs to be done. This will save you a lot of hassle down the road.
And when you’re between projects, use that time as an opportunity to prepare for the next project. Feel free to watch all the bad movies on Netflix you want–but make sure you’re learning the ins and outs of something like Scrivener or Evernote in the meantime.
The important thing is that you want to be organized. It makes freelance life infinitely easier.
Readers: What are your suggestions for coping with freelance stress? Let us know in the comments.