emina taking a picture of a man flipping a pancake

A year in the life of a freelancer: Lets bust some freelance myths

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I’ve made it to a year, still no bin eating. I’m delighted.

emina taking a picture of a man flipping a pancake
Me, my phone and pancakes. Pic: Severn Tides

Occasional crying, working past 10pm, only drinking tap water, huge elation followed by crippling self doubt but no bin eating.

I wrote a post for my six month freelance birthday which seemed like five seconds ago and it looked at what I’d learned so far.

In this post I’ll bust some freelance myths after a years reflection, because it’s a big step and being armed with some facts is a good thing.

You’ll miss the end of the month salary

Technically this is a ‘truth’ because if you’ve been employed you will miss it initially. BUT it will disappear, your focus will be on other things and no longer refreshing your banking app every 20 seconds on pay day to make sure your money has gone in.

Don’t mix business and personal

RUBBISH. I am privileged to work with some amazing people including two old friends who became colleagues when I became freelance. I have formed friendships with some of my employers and know even if our professional relationship ended we could go to the pub, have a cwtch or just be friends.

You can work in pyjamas 24/7

Um, ok, so If I said I don’t don some pjs from time to time it would be an utter lie but you simply can’t everyday– it’s not good for you. It’s likely to have a detrimental effect on your motivational and productivity levels. Dressing appropriately is good for you, fixes and focuses your mind for the day

I am my own boss 

Yes you are, BUT depending on your situation and much like mine, I have several clients which means several micro bosses whom I’m answerable to. They come with different personalities, ways of working and ideas of how a project should work. Building up relationships with clients is crucial, don’t ‘hulk out’ and ruin it.

Freelance = loneliness

There are SO many people doing what you do, some or longer and others have just started and they’re there to support you. Get out and go to events like Creative Mornings and Creative Cardiff Show and Tell and meet people or just send a friendly email. I’ve met lots of new people doing this and they don’t necessarily do what I do but they’re freelance – mix it up.

Charge less, win more work

No. I feel there are circumstances where you may consider introducing a nominal reduction on rate but that is if a retainer is being offered (regular monthly salary). You’re a professional, you charge the rate you do because you’ve got the experience, skills and knowledge. Know your worth. Some clients may even be put off with a low rate.

It’s so much easier than being employed

Um, hell no. There is no ‘new starter’ form to fill in; you are now your own accountant, communications team, marketer, cheerleader, life coach and everything in between. You have to rely on you to sort your life out – tax, clients, meetings, equipment, website, blogs, savings, research and more. Unless you’re android you’re likely to feel all the feelings too – anxiety, stress, elation, excitement, self-doubt, happiness, fearfulness and isolation. It is hard and scary but so, so, so worth it.

If you ever want a chat then just get in touch. I’m very nice.


  1. Congratulations, Emina. Such sound advice from your own experience. I hope all those who are considering such a bold move read this. Proud to have worked with such an inspiring colleague with a wicked sense of humour.

  2. This is fantastic! I’m 15 months in and just about keeping my head above water.

    This would have helped calmed some late night panic attacks earlier in my freelance days!

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