I’ve rewritten this post a few times. It’s not often that I do that, but I just felt that things weren’t coming out how I wanted.
To be blunt, things have been a bit shit.
I thought that freelancing could be the making of me. I went into it feeling excited and passionate and for a while I felt like it could be the best decision I’d ever made, and even that I didn’t want to work for anyone else now. I decided that the idea of going back into an office and being made to work specific hours every single day probably wouldn’t ever appeal again.
I had a nice set up and I liked working from home because it was convenient – I could get things like the washing, ironing, cleaning etc. done instead of spending evenings and weekends doing it, I could go for walks, pop into town, go and get the food shop. One client let me pinch a desk within their office once a week, and I was working on some projects with a previous colleague and usually met up with him once or twice a week too – this all helped to stop me feeling like a hermit.
And then I started spending more and more time on my own, at home. I’d spend a lot of the day thinking about when my boyfriend would get home and then, when he did, I’d realise I had absolutely nothing to tell him.
Every month I was paid late by at least one client. I’d have to borrow money for direct debits to be paid on time and then give it back once I’d been paid. Sometimes I’d wait weeks for money to come in and I found myself checking my balance every ten minutes, hopefully awaiting the ability to be able to do a food shop with my own money.
I became sick of chasing invoices and waiting for money. I felt constantly aware of what was outstanding and the fact that I didn’t know when it would come in, that I’d probably have to borrow again to be able to pay the bills, and then it’s the guilt. I felt constantly guilty.
I spent a couple of months weighing up my options and eventually – when I didn’t get a penny paid in before Christmas (or in December) – decided that, at the moment, the negatives of freelancing were certainly outweighing the positives. I began to think about my options and what it was that I really wanted to do.
Then, my relationship with an informal partner – the previous colleague I mentioned – broke down and, on my first day back to work after the Christmas break, it was decided that we would no longer work together and that the projects I’d been working on with him would be stopping. From now. The bulk of my income had gone.
Now it wasn’t so much a case of weighing up the pros and cons of freelancing to come to a considered decision, it was a case of needing a solution ASAP to be able to pay rent. I could either continue to freelance and focus hard on new business, or try to get a job. I needed to make up my mind.
So that was it: I’d get a job. That was my decision.
I spent all of January job hunting and interviewing. As the weeks went by I started to feel more and more fed up with the situation – the lack of work, the lack of funds, I couldn’t seem to get a job sorted, people telling me to be positive and look on the bright side as if NatWest would accept payments of positivity, and the breakdown of a valued relationship.
It was really, really hard.
But during one of my interviews, someone told me I had grit. Nobody’s ever told me that before and I’m proud of it.
I could feel myself starting to crumble, my mental health was starting to suffer and my behaviour was changing. I was becoming low and lethargic. Nothing mattered. Tunnel vision.
But in the end it becomes another thing faced, another thing I’ve come out of the other side of – with grit.