Today I’m going to talk about being a freelancer.
I think sometimes people are surprised to hear me use that word. Yes, I’m a business owner. Yes, I’m an entrepreneur. But at the end of the day, I’m still a freelancer like everybody else. I still spend my days thinking about client relationships, invoices and new business. All at the same time. For the many freelancers who I know read this Bulletin, today I am going to talk today about a subject that is sort of just… untalkable.
You see, about a week ago, I had a client move on.
Now full disclosure, if a client had left three or four years ago, I would’ve been absolutely devastated.
And yet, I wasn’t.
I mean I was annoyed, sure. The whole thing was done in an abrupt way that didn’t lend itself to the history of our relationship. Perhaps the inspiration had run out for me. Perhaps we had lost our spark. There are always a lot of feelings. I don’t know. I accepted their decision. But still, it gave me a lot of ponder.
Our jobs as freelancers are both relational and transactional. Period. That can be super tough to navigate. Recently, I had the opportunity to be in front of the camera and was able to hire two of my friends (at full rate) to do my glam. They were glorious - never had I ever felt more taken care of and secure. I felt that love. Truly. That is what we give. And we give it with sincerity and energy and love. And to be honest, it never is fully reciprocated (hence transactional).
I think in general, it’s hard for freelancers because it’s so rarely up to us. Clients can leave anytime they want. And, that is truly their right. I’ve seen so many of my friends get shattered by it and to be honest, I don’t think we talk enough about it. Maybe because we feel embarrassed, definitely because we feel hurt. It’s funny, even when we are ready to move on, most of us still stick it out. That’s the feast or famine part of our lives.
I often say, don’t become friends with your clients or don’t blur the line of the work. And I hold that to be true. But this is a business of close teams and becoming a work family so again - it’s human to feel a bit salty when things end.
So, dear fellow freelancers - what is my advice? My big answer to not getting a little bit crushed? Well, I don’t know if I have one. Our success comes from pouring our heart and soul into the work. But what I do know is that it’s all part of the journey, and that talking about it with others really helps.
And, when you can, hire your friends who know exactly what you’re going through, and pay them their full rate.
Because that feels amazing.