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.
Until very recently I didn’t know how this post would end. I didn’t want to publish it out into the world before notifying clients that I wouldn’t be freelancing anymore because that’s just rude and very unprofessional, but I couldn’t do that until I knew what I was doing next. And here it is: I’m not freelancing anymore, I’ve given notice – and I finally got a job.
I actually found myself interviewing at two companies I’d very much liked the look of for most of my career and if I’m really honest I’m quite surprised that either of them wanted to see me – let alone both. And, even more surprising to me, was that they both really liked me. One tried to get in with an offer before the other, who wanted to create a role for me despite not having anything directly relevant available. I could not believe what was happening.
So as we go into February, I’m welcoming the new start that I’d hoped for at the beginning of this year – finally. After six weeks of job hunting, a lot of stress about money and checking my email inbox every six minutes or so, I’ve finally done it. I’ve got a job at a company I’ve been super keen to work at for the past couple of years, that I’ve followed and watched and looked up to often – and in just a few days I will walk into the office and sit at my desk as an employee. Probably with a cup of tea. It was difficult getting here and let’s be honest, I have really struggled at times. But things couldn’t have worked out better.