It’s January and I’m having my annual Freelance Freakout. I’ve given it capital letters to make it look more important, but really it is a silly thing and I’m quite mental for going through it every year.
This is how predictable I am. By mid December every year I am quite exhausted. Running a freelance business is of course a job unto itself, as is having three children, and doing both at once can be a little wearying. My exhaustion is justified though because I need to accumulate extra money. This extra money means I can take a long holiday, hopefully as much of the Christmas period and January as possible. Overwork at the end of the year means time off, hanging with my kids for the long hot summer.
So, even though this is a deliberate break and I have work booked for February onwards, I’m now having a panic. Sure there’s work, but not very much at this stage. Not enough to pay the bills. Will I get more? Should I throw myself into some frenzied marketing? Should I write that next book, just on the off chance, or go back to that unfinished script? I’m thoroughly enjoying my Mum time, and money is not an issue, but still I worry.
The really sad thing about this whole process is that I’ve been doing it now for twenty years. After all this time, surely you would think I’d be brave enough to rest on my laurels, my extensive freelance experience, my super client base, my reputation and my standing in the arts community? Crap. That way, poverty lies. And I’m not that big a wanker.
The truth is that work will come, because work will always come. I know that, but I still freak out. Sadly, if I took that prospect of work for granted, and assumed that gigs and clients were only moments away, I would probably end up very poor indeed. Murphy’s Law for freelancers, perhaps, but after all these years I still don’t think it’s smart or safe to assume.
I just have to stop myself from sending panicky emails to my regular clients, begging them to secure my time for the year. I know they’ll get to me eventually, the bookings will come, and all will be well. I just have to stave off the panic. The last thing I want is to become the freelance equivalent of the desperate girlfriend, sitting and waiting by the phone – or even worse, calling my boyfriend every five minutes just to make sure he still loves me. Pathetic!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to check my email for the fiftieth time today.
Until next time, happy freelancing.
Freelancing for Australians (for Dummies) is available in bookstores and via the Freelance Success website right now – visit https://www.creativeplusbusiness.com/books for more information.