Are You Trapped in Your Freelancing Job?

Even though I enjoy my freelancing job, sometimes I feel a little trapped.

I love what I do. I like writing, and I’ve learned to like writing about financial topics. My job allows me to learn interesting things, and spend a good portion of my day doing something I like.

However, there are times I feel a little trapped by my freelancing job. It’s very “first world problems” of me to feel like this, because I have a career that many people envy. I (mostly) set my own hours, and I can work from anywhere. In fact, I can travel without too much trouble and arrange my schedule so that I can enjoy time with my husband and son. Even so, there are times that I feel a little trapped in my freelancing job.

trapped

Writing for Money

One of the problems with freelancing is that, after a while, it starts to feel like a regular job. Yeah, I do it from home. Yeah, sometimes I don’t get out of my pajamas until lunchtime some days. Yeah, I mostly like what I write. But there are days that it feels less like writing and more like slogging away at a job. This is what happens when you take something you used to enjoy as a hobby and then get paid for it — especially if someone else is paying for it.

So I write for money. Sometimes someone else tells me what to write, and they tell me when I have to turn it in. And there are times I have to revise something or rework something. Occasionally (although less often as I become more established), I have to deal with unpleasant people and situations. There are days that I don’t want to write for money. There are days I wish that I could just write what I want — without worrying about whether or not I’m getting paid for it.

When you start writing for money, you also end up giving priority to other people’s work. After all, they are paying you, so that needs to come first. They aren’t paying you to build your own web property. They are paying you to provide them with something specific, and usually within in a specific time frame. This is when it’s likely that you start feeling trapped by your freelancing job. You’d like to say no to a gig so that you can focus more on one of your pet projects. Unfortunately, you need the money, so you feel like you need to say yes. Instead of working on what you want, you find yourself working on someone else’s project.

Freelance Writing Balancing Act

This is where the balancing act comes in. One of the hardest things to do is balance the need for money now with building your business for the future. Since you need the money now, to pay for things like food and housing, you have to do a certain amount of work for others. When you write for money, you know you will receive payment when you need it. Until you manage to meet your basic needs, you aren’t going to be able to work on your own items.

I’ve wanted to build out my projects for a long time, though. Part of the difficulty in doing so lies with the fact that it’s hard to go from getting paid immediately for what you do to waiting for your business to bear fruit down the road. That’s where I’m at right now. I feel a little trapped because I have a lot of obligations to clients. At the same time, I’m a little fearful of putting too much into business ventures that might not pan out. This is a holding pattern I’ve been in for two or three years. It’s a little discouraging, but I’m starting to see some new opportunities, and I’m starting to feel that push toward those opportunities.

Maybe now is the time for me to break free of the trap I’ve built for myself and move forward.


3 Responses to Are You Trapped in Your Freelancing Job?

  1. I completely understand what you’re saying. Even though you’re self-employed, you still have to answer to a lot of people. If you did your own projects, it would be more about people coming to you. Plus, bigger dreams could be realized. But, yeah, you could invest a lot of resources into these bigger projects and they may not work out. Is there a way you can outsource parts of the new businesses to get them moving along? Then you could still keep most of your freelance clients – for the time-being, at least.

  2. I try to balance my time between long term dream projects and short term obligations. If you ever need to offload some of your immediate obligations to pursue the bigger projects, I’m happy to help 🙂 Even if only temporarily.

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