As you may know, I had a bit of an unconventional start to freelancing. After losing my job right before corona, my options were limited. I knew that I would need to earn money and saw freelancing as a temporary solution to this problem. After one year of freelancing full-time, I’ve learnt a lot about this subculture, and about myself. In this blog post, I will give you an honest look at my freelance journey so far, and share what my every day looks like. I hope this will give you a realistic view of what you can expect when you’re first starting out.
As with most things in life, what you put into freelancing is what you ultimately get out. Because I had lost my job, I didn’t have a plan B so I was able to dedicate all of my time to freelancing. This meant that I was able to hustle a lot more than what you might do if you were just starting a sidehustle while working fulltime. First step was sorting out the legal documents, and while I waited for my new tax numbers to arrive (this can take up to a month), I set up my profiles on both Fiverr and Upwork, and worked on my website. Pretty quickly, I managed to get small gigs on Fiverr and as my rating improved I got more and more work. Keeping it real, my income in the beginning was low; I think I earned 300 euro in my first month, maybe 500 the next month, and then afterward I started making around 1200 euro. I had around 5000 euro saved from my previous job, which gave me a slight buffer so I knew that I could pay my rent and expenses for a while before things got too tight. Despite this, I was still really motivated and felt proud whenever I had a gig. If you haven’t already, check out my blog post about how I started getting gigs on Fiverr.
The Struggle Phase
I think many freelancers will experience a phase where they are questioning if they made the right decision. This happened to me after a few of months of freelance. I found it difficult to scale up my business and move to a point where I felt I was actually making money instead of just breaking even. I was also finding it really difficult to work from home as my boyfriend and I share a small (40 m2) apartment and don’t have a home office. This made me feel like I didn’t have a job and just made it hard for me to really take freelancing seriously. This might sound silly, but I decided to join WeWork so that I could get into a good routine, and so that I would feel like I was going to work. I knew this would give me the mental confidence boost to propel me forward.
At this time, I also lost a client because I realized that my prices were way too low, and if I wanted to scale up, then I had to set boundaries for my clients. After losing the client, I managed to land a new client who didn’t question my rates and was happy to pay. This was really the catalyst to bringing me out of the struggle phase, and highlighted to me how many opportunities there are, and that I shouldn’t stress about setting boundaries for myself.
What my life looks like now
At this point, I have created a routine that works for me and freelancing feels like a fulltime job. I go to my WeWork office every day, talk to the people in my office, who I call my colleagues. I also have regular calls with my virtual assistant, so it doesn’t feel that lonely. Most of my clients are pretty hands-off so I don’t have that many client meetings, which I’ve realized that I’m super grateful for. While I do work a lot, I actually like what I do and have find my tasks interesting, and I see a lot of potential for growth. Just to keep it real, I’m usually at my office between 9 and 10 in the morning, and leave around 6pm. For me, I find that I’m productive and get enough done that I don’t need to work all night long. That’s something that’s important to me as I don’t want to burn out.
At this point in my freelancing journey, I’m finally at a place where I feel more confident about my future as a freelancer. I love the flexibility that this career path offers, that I get to choose what projects I want to work on, and that I can, to an extent, affect how much money I want to make. I’ve also taken on a virtual assistant which has allowed me to scale up my business, and my goal is to continue scaling while building additional income streams. The most important thing for me though, is that I really enjoy what I do and feel that I am learning more now than I did in my previous roles.
What about ~the future~?
You know the Billie Eilish song “My Future”? Well, that’s basically the energy that I’m trying to channel regarding my future. I want to do things that make me happy and encourage others to do the same. In the beginning, it was difficult for me because I felt that people in my life thought I wasn’t working. I’ve now let go of all the people who I felt brought negativity into my life, and I know that my parents and partner see how hard I work. I have a lot of ideas for scaling the business, and building out BizBabes further. I know that my life has taken a bit of a turn compared to what I expected, but I’m staying open minded and am very excited for everything that’s to come.
Are you a freelancer? What does a typical day look like for you? Make sure you follow BizBabes on Instagram for daily updates!