It has been more than a month since I started living a freelance lifestyle.
I must admit that I hadn’t imagined it to be this busy . Whole month, I was like a child, getting rid of my parents at the playground and playing with whatever I want and with whom I want.
In September I went to several art exhibitions, movie premiers, a digital marketing training and I traveled to the Western coast of Turkey and to my hometown Ankara (even twice).
This has been sort of an experiment for me of course. I wanted to see my limits and how my energy flows. After working full time at the same office for more than 7 years, you can’t figure out at first how it would be to work only for yourself and how you could balance your work/personal life.
Well, it turned out pretty well for me, at least for the first month.
The first thing people asked me when they first learned that I am no longer going to the office in the morning is “Oh, that must be great that you don’t have to get up early anymore!”. The truth is I started getting up earlier than ever. I have been going to walk in the early morning before people get going to work, before all the noise begins. It just doesn’t make you feel fit, but also helps you clear your mind before you start your own business day.
The second thing people ask is “Will freelancing help you make a living on your own in a city like Istanbul?” . Well, the answer of course depends on what you do basically. For instance a freelance communication strategist and consultant like me, can earn much more than a project manager working at an agency. But it depends on the type of the projects you are working on, whether it just involves a media relations service, or strategy design or a whole package of everything like strategy, event management, media relations, social media management etc…
What I would suggest for the ones who think of going freelancer is to save some money in case there is no work for you available in the first months. What I had in mind initially was just having rested for a few months and then looking for opportunities with fresher mind and body. That’s why I saved some money for my monthly expenses. But I was a bit lucky, to be honest. I have been freelancing for an international broadcaster (DW) for the last 4 years, and I still continue to do so. Plus, I continue managing visibility activities of an EU project that I have been working on for the last few years, so it helps a bit too. And as a last minute surprise, I got another project to be implemented till the beginning of next year. I will tell more about it in the upcoming weeks, it is pretty exciting. So it seems like I don’t have the time to rest as initially planned.
I was speaking with one of my clients yesterday on the phone, and she told me that she would never believe that I can have a rest. “I am sure you are already stuck in different projects” she said. I told her “yes, you are right, but this time I am the one deciding what to do or what not to do, I am the one managing all my time. This is worth all the stress,I guess.” She agreed.
But, please, do not misunderstand. My life is not like a dream . I would never know what will happen in a few months time ,I may lose all my clients all of a sudden. So unless I have saved enough to secure my life for more than 2 years, I will be living like the beloved “Frugalwoods”. In short, I will keep being cautious about my expenses.
And the 3rd most common question I was asked whole month was “So, how do you spend a normal day?” . I don’t know why, but people have a tendency to think that all day you just lay on your couch, have your computer on your stomach and answer emails or phones in that position. That’s not true at all, at least not for me . As I told you above, I love getting up pretty early and going for walk first. Of course before going out I check my emails and see whether anything urgent is needed. A bit of social and online media check is also done in the meantime.
When I get back home, after all the shower and everything, I prepare a good breakfast for myself, which is something I have never done before in weekdays. I like watching culinary TV shows while eating, and thinking of something I can cook for the evening. Yes, me , cooking… It is part of the frugal lifestyle. And you know what, I am enjoying every bit of it .
When the breakfast is done, I start doing my content related work . If I have a meeting with a client next day, I prepare notes and other necessary documents for that. When I am done, I sometimes visit my friends at their houses. If I don’t have anything to do, I read. I read a lot, really. I am subscribed to a plethora of newsletters on digital marketing and PR and you would never believe how hard it is to keep up with everything going on in the business. Plus, there is always an online course I am enrolled (although I can’t always see it ending) so I watch the online course lectures. Last month SkillShare courses were my favourites.
And in the evenings I sometimes stay home or go out with friends and go to movies, concerts etc.
I am still not sure, how long I will have the means and courage to continue working freelance but now I know that there is nothing to be afraid of . I have always wanted to experience it at least for a short period of time. If I can’t sustain this lifestyle, I ll get back to office life. But failures can also be good. I know I’ll always keep in mind all the lessons I will learn from this experience.
I will keep you updated … In the meantime if you have any tips, suggestions and stories to share about freelancing, please do tell me…