It’s been six months now since I quit my full-time job for life as a freelance journalist, writer and editor. It’s been a revelation. Here are some of the things I’ve learned:
- If you are reliable, competent, and have a decent reputation in your chosen field, people give you work. Everyone needs freelancers who can get the job done with the minimum of fuss.
- You can discipline yourself to work properly, even if there’s no-one to check up on you. There’s more incentive to focus when the rest of the time is your own.
- Some weeks you get loads of work and worry you won’t finish it all. Others you get nothing and worry you’ll never work again. I’m learning to enjoy both quiet and hectic times, knowing they’ll balance each other out.
- Working to your own timetable can be brilliant. I’m a morning person, so I can be at my desk at seven thirty, without a time-wasting commute. My productivity always takes a dip after lunch, so I get most of the heavy brain-work out of the way, then do some gardening or cooking in the afternoon.
- Working from home means you get to know your local area properly. I’ve started volunteering at a local community garden, which gets me out in the fresh air to meet new people. Also, free vegetables.
- You can eat so much better at home. Forget dried-out sandwiches for a fiver – I enjoy fresh omelettes, home-made soup or (total bliss) bubble and squeak from last night’s left-overs.
- It’s not just lunch. Taking account of train fares, coffee, drinks after work and all those little treats you buy yourself to make up for a miserable commute, my outgoings have halved since I started working from home.
- Hairdressers, shops, museums, libraries and parks are much quieter during the week. The people in them are often friendlier, with more time to chat.
- I don’t get lonely, so long as I make the effort to get out and see people. In fact, I have more energy for friends and family now, than when all I wanted to do at the end of the day was stagger home and sleep.
I think it would take quite a lot to persuade me back into a full time staff job. I’m not ruling it out, but right now, I’m more than happy I took the freelance plunge.