Competing Feelings When You Work For Yourself

Being your own boss is a totally bizarre cocktail of emotions. I guess it comes with wearing so many different hats. One minute you’re a jolly creative, letting those juices flow (ugh), the next you’re begrudgingly logging receipts so your self-assessment tax return isn’t going to make you cry more tears than absolutely necessary.

I’ve discovered thus far that there are a number of feelings you experience that can change with the flip of a switch, from one moment to the next as you circumnavigate what it is to be a freelancer. So ofc I thought I’d share a few of them with you.

#SmashingIt vs Imposter Syndrome

A phrase you might hear from time to time as a freelancer is Imposter Syndrome, and as the name implies it pretty much means you feel like an imposter. It can invade your brain like an evil subliminal message and asks:

“What do you think you’re doing? You don’t know what you’re doing do you? You’re rubbish, and everyone else is better than you, aren’t they?”

It’s not a nice feeling tbh. For me it usually comes about when I read posts in freelancer Facebook groups when people share their successes. Of course the logical part of my brain is happy for them, but the illogical part wreaks havoc and convinces me that I’m not actually a copywriter, I’m a loser.

On the polar opposite (and much more positive) side of things, you’ll get that feeling of absolutely smashing it. Of being a #girlboss that runs the world. I get this feeling when I’ve had a super productive day, or a particularly good client call. It’s such a good feeling that I’ve started logging those moments on a poster I have on my wall to remind me when Imposter Syndrome does try to strike.

Introverted vs Lonely

Working for yourself is both a blessing and a curse when it comes to social interaction. You walk away from the office politics but you then have the worry of forgetting how to deal with actual human beings.

Some days I love keeping myself to myself. I can put my head down and get on with things and it’s the absolute one. Being introverted doesn’t necessarily have to be a negative because by being introverted I am also really hard working with rare distractions.

Other days, I crave social interaction that isn’t in the form of walking along the hallway to Liam’s office for a chat or picking up the phone to a client. Sometimes this way of life gets lonely.

At the moment I feel like the balance is just right. I’m getting out there by going to networking events to obviously try and build my business but also have semi-regular interactions with people. I also arrange coffee dates with fellow freelancers as it’s nice to connect one-on-one with people in a similar boat to you.

But being a freelancer does mean you need to be comfortable with your own company – luckily I’m pretty awesome to be around so y’know. Not an issue.

Flexibility vs structure

I never expected to struggle quite so much with the idea that I can now work as flexibly as I want. When I first started freelancing just a matter of a few weeks ago I was obsessed with working 9-5 with some wiggle room of starting earlier or finishing later.

Now, I am more led by my most productive times. I may not always do an 8 hour day, I may not always start at 9 and finish at 5. That’s OK though, because I make the most of the hours in which I am most productive and am still achieving just as much (and sometimes more) working this way.

I still have a long way to go with this, but by having a clear to do list for every day, and by adding to this list if it gets completed and I’m still in a productive mode, I come out of each day feeling like I’ve done all I can.

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2 Comments

  1. October 23, 2017 / 7:53 pm

    I definitely think it must be such a big change! I’ve done some projects which have all been home based and it can be hard to have that balance where you feel like you’re talking to real people enough!! x

    • Cat
      October 24, 2017 / 9:11 pm

      It’s a huge change, I don’t think it fully sank in at first how much of a change it would be! Yeah I definitely miss the office chat sometimes x

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