Freelancing Isn't Entrepreneurship–but It's a Bridge That'll Get You There

How to make out of the freelancing lifestyle on your way to becoming an entrepreneur

Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

When I sought to become an online entrepreneur, I didn’t think I’d become a freelancer first.

I had a weird perspective of freelancers. I thought that being a freelancer meant that you had to get paid poorly. I thought you had to ask for $5/hour since most people on a freelancing website called Upwork paid you. So when I became a freelancer, I didn’t think I’d be able to match my nursing job.

And now, here I am, writing part-time, and I had left my nursing job.

But, for some reason, I’m not where I thought I’d be. This isn’t how I imagined my life to be. And if you’ve been in the self-help space for a while, you might be familiar that external circumstances don’t create our feelings. Our thoughts do.

So here are some excruciating thoughts you'll have as a freelancer.

You’re technically working for multiple people

As a freelancer, I get to have multiple clients.

So far, I’ve only had positive experiences working with clients. However, I still feel like I’m working for these people I call clients. Sure, they’re my clients because I get to price my work, set the scope of my work, and choose what projects to work on.

But it still feels like I’m working for multiple people all at once. Whenever I submit a project, I have a constant worry of, “Will they like my piece?” or “What if they fire me?”. Having these recurring thoughts for each client you work with is exhausting.

I’m sure I’ll be able to overcome whatever life throws at me, but it doesn’t mean my feelings can’t be validated, especially when you’re fairly new to the practice.

How this helps with entrepreneurship:

The good thing about working with multiple people is that you learn to communicate well professionally. I’ve learned to set boundaries when it comes to the work I provide. When you have your customers, you will have people who will ask for more. And now, I’ll have the confidence to provide good customer service.

The instability of the salary is nerve-wracking

There’s one thing I don’t understand about being a freelancer.

Freelancers want a stable income, but most want to leave their stable income job. Isn’t it better to find a good, stable job while you build your own thing on the side? I became a freelancer to get out of a bad job, but now I’m debating to look for a stable job that will help me keep my sanity.

Constantly worrying about money coming in is not fun.

Sure, as a freelancer, you get paid more, but you’re also responsible for everything else in your life — scheduling your work, signing up for a pension, dealing with taxes, opening business accounts, sending invoices, etc.

The hourly rate is much higher, but those are the costs you pay. And did I mention how constantly worrying about money might not be worth it?

How this helps with entrepreneurship:

Once you get used to the feeling of “unstable income,” you’ll train your brain to become an entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur who depends on products or services to get paid, you’ll get used to the instability of incoming income. And that can push you to solve problems like, "How do I help more people so I can get paid?"

Your time becomes a currency

When you become a freelancer, you look at everything in terms of dollars.

When I assess a project, I think, “How much will this take me to do? And is it worth my hourly rate?”. But this doesn’t stop with freelancing. It also extends to my personal life. I recently Airbnb’d my place, and I didn’t want to clean the place. Instead of spending 1–2 days to clean my place, I hired someone for $400 to do it for a day.

It was a lot of money, but I worked on my business while the lady cleaned. You start to think of everything in your life as, “Is this worth my time, and how much money would I lose if I did this over something else?”

How this helps with entrepreneurship:

You quickly learn that you don’t have a lot of time in the world as you become responsible for everything in your life. You learn your preferences and focus on things you value and love to do. You learn to delegate things. You become someone who oversees things and focuses on the big vision.

Final Thoughts

I don’t know how long I’ll be a freelancer for.

Despite the hardships, I can understand why some people would choose this lifestyle over the rat race. While you become more responsible for every little thing in your life, you start to become more intentional about where your time goes.

You quickly value your money and money. But I wonder, is all the stress worth it?

If you enjoyed reading this, check out the Roaming Heart, a 2-minute read bi-monthly newsletter on living and creating with intention.

Jerine Nicole

Jerine Nicole