Freelance Verses Full Time Employment
Things have been a little quiet here on Reclusive Fox for a while. My professional life has been undergoing some transformation, so I thought I would let you know a little about what’s been going on.
I started working as a freelance copywriter almost 6 years ago. As I was suffering quite significantly with a panic disorder I wasn’t in a position to go out to work. As a single parent I didn’t want my young daughter to go to a child minder after school, or come home to an empty home, but I needed to bring money into the home. So I decided to create my own job, where I could work in an environment that felt safe, not put myself under significant stress and still be the mum I wanted to be. After studying for a degree with the Open University, I learned that freelance writers were in demand, so I created a website for myself and started looking for clients.
Testing my Strength
It was a bit of a bumpy road to begin with, but I quickly began brining money into the home and soon landed myself a decent client who actually paid me on time (I am still working with said client to this day) and things developed from there. Being self-employed was empowering. I was able to work as often as I liked from the comfort of my own home. I put my skills to use and learned many new ones, increasing my confidence no end. I believe going freelance did benefit my mental health and it’s something I am very proud of.
If you follow my blog, you’ll know that I have made significant steps in learning to manage my panic attacks, agoraphobia and anxiety in the past year and a half. So in the past couple of months I’ve been considering leaving the freelance lifestyle behind and heading into full-time employment. The reason for this is mainly for the added security that comes with employment. I’d have a regular income and not have to worry about new clients that fail to pay. I’d not be affected if a client was to leave my books and I could have paid holidays (what are holidays?) and start building a pension for myself so I can perhaps retire one day. These things are attractive to me and as a result I contacted a local employer for a part-time job to do alongside my freelance work until I worked out something more permanent.
I contacted my oldest client asking for a reference. He knows all about my mental health issues and yet he decided that he would offer me a full-time position with his company with an attractive salary. Knowing my history my client was kind enough to offer me a trial, and I am so grateful for this, because I learned a lot of things during that week.
I worked in the office in the nearest city for one week. Being out in the sticks the travel time, by bus (I don’t drive) was an hour to an hour and a half each way. Now, having at least 8 hours a week (working one day at home), stuck on a bus was perhaps one of the most frustrating things. I am used to making the most of my time. If I’m not working to earn money, I work on my own website, do the housework, spend time with my family, walk the dog or do something of benefit. Being stuck on a bus with no 3G available meant I couldn’t do anything. I know people do this every day but the jump from maximising my time to being pretty much helpless was too much, it was also costly and still meant I couldn’t get into the office before 10:15 each morning and not get home until 7:10 in the evening. The buses are the one negative of living where I do, 2 hourly buses are not enough!
I had a good week mentally, a few hic-cups but I put into practice everything I’ve been working on to manage my condition and I got through. We had meetings and I was fine, I enjoyed working with my colleagues and the new work that was placed in front of me. Yet the loss of time was not sitting well with me and my client really wanted me to come in earlier and was concerned about how the winter would affect my journey.
Office or Home?
The following Monday we had a chat and while he didn’t want to lose me and I didn’t want to lose them, we came up with a new plan. I would stay freelance, but work in the office two days a week instead. That’s where we are now. I have some extra income coming in and we’re working well together, while I am still able to make the most of my time and work flexible hours for the rest of the week. I care about the company and the clients we work for, I’ve put many years of my life into producing content and managing the social accounts for multiple companies and I would hate to leave that all behind.
So do forgive me for being quiet, but I’ve been testing myself, growing and considering my options. Freelance remains the better option for me, even though I am in a better and stronger mental place. I’m loving working in digital marketing and hope it continues long into the future.
Have you ever gone back to employment after being self-employed? Would you give up working for yourself? I’d love to learn about your experiences.