It’s Saturday morning and I’m toying with the idea of going freelance again.
Completing a self assessment tax return comes with an undeniable sense of freedom, like a fresh start. A divorce from financial burden. A free pass to flirt with the world of interesting, varied and often highly stressful work again. The pros and cons list is a tome in itself and in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic there seems to be much more opportunity in ‘remote’ work.
I’ve straddled both sides of the journalism world, freelance and contracted and enjoyed lots of fantastic benefits, the most prominent being flexibility. The security of a fixed salary payment on a fixed date every month is highly appealing, but words like ‘secure’ and ‘fixed’ have never been that attractive to me.
If Monday involves writing copy about concrete blocks for a council, Tuesday is product descriptions for an indie clothes label, Wednesday is website copy for a well known high street bakers, Thursday is a feature on student bars and Friday is a Premier League match report – I’m happy as Larry. Yes, even despite knowing I may not get paid for this work for another 90 days.
But then summer comes along and the idea of a holiday is floated, new school uniforms are needed, a prom dress, a new laptop, the latest Nikes and suddenly managing all those invoices can become chaotic vs the simplicity of a guaranteed salary payment.
Weighing up the varied nature of freelance life involves being 100% honest with yourself about the real investment it takes to pull it off successfully. The pitching, research, negotiating, deadlines, interviews, self assessment, time management, dealing with the guilt of working non-stop and never being able to turn your brain off from work and the ‘ooooh there’s a story in that’ mentality. Oh God, I love it.
But you know, I’m still mulling it over.