When I went into business for myself and started freelancing I imagined a life of coffee on sun soaked patios and lunch dates with friends. I got giddy thinking about my flexible schedule that would allow me to workout in an empty gym midday, miss the after work lines at the grocery store, and never have to ride the metro during rush hour again!
It did not take long for me to realize that this dream life was just that – a dream. My visions of a schedule flexible enough for late lunches downtown with friends were replaced with lukewarm leftovers and coffee. It doesn’t take long to learn that as a freelancer, your schedule really isn’t yours. Your schedule is your clients’. When they’re free for meetings is when you need to be free for meetings. And unless your clients are in different time zones, most of the time they want to work during the typical 9-5 workday.
Even on meeting free days – a rare blessing – taking a long midday break can be tricky. We all know that meetings are a giant time suck and can be productivity killers, but we also know that most meetings conclude with a long to-do list. The days in between meetings and client calls are crucial for getting shit done. It can be so tempting to call up your friends that you haven’t seen in a couple weeks to grab a late lunch and an early pint when you see that empty calendar. But dialling in to the client call tomorrow without the work done could cost you the job. So long two hour lunch date, hello baby carrots.
Don’t get me wrong here, taking breaks and maintaining a social life is very important. But so is getting your work done. The reality is that when you’re starting out you need to hustle ever damn day. Flexibility will come with time.
There are a lot of reasons to get into freelancing, just don’t do it for the lunch dates.