Yes, Freelancing Is A Real Job

freelance desk

When starting your freelance career, or making new friends after it’s established, you may run into the very irritating attitude that what you’re doing is not actually a real job.

Since you’re not going to the same place from 9-to-5, since you don’t have a boss, since you don’t pay taxes or have juicy coworker gossip, people may see what you do as no more than a hobby. Whether you’re starting your freelance career, or looking to grow your business, download our Free eBook, The Essential Guide to Launching a Freelance Career.

At first it may not bother you, but then the comments start creeping in: “Why can’t you have lunch? You can just write that article later.” “What do you mean you had a busy day? You got to sit at home.” “Can you rewrite my LinkedIn page for free? You do stuff like this all day so what’s one more thing?”

Freelance is hard enough to stay on top of without people diminishing your work at every turn. What is especially maddening is when these same people are admittedly checking Facebook and Instagram at their jobs but still making more than you and getting health insurance. Unlike having finances that are 100% dependent on actually producing something, these people can get work done or ride out the clock and their paycheck remains the same.

It can be difficult to grow a successful freelance business, let alone convince everyone you’re actually working – and not surfing Facebook all day.

So, how do you convince them that your job is not only as real as theirs, but may actually be harder with fewer perks? It’s not always easy, but trying to make it seem more like a real job may work, while also helping you focus your time.

Many freelancers love how flexible their hours are, but that can lead to some pretty inefficient work schedules. If you’re getting up at 11am every weekday and then leaving the bar at 10pm to pound out of a few articles, don’t be surprised if people think your career isn’t that serious. Making your freelance fit into that 9-to-5 time frame shows people that yes, you may not be working in an office, but you’re also not spending every afternoon at the beach.

Also, as you’ve heard many times, do not give your work out. Your friend who works at H&R Block wouldn’t spend their Saturday doing your taxes for free. Yes, freelance can involve a lot of pretty cool things, but it is still work. It is what pays the bills like any other job. The more you reinforce that the more they will understand and the more confident you’ll be when thinking about the goals you’re aiming for.

And finally, if freelance works for you, then be happy it does and don’t worry about having to prove how hard or “real” it is to anybody. The kind of person that tries to downplay the importance of your career is probably someone whose own job probably makes them miserable.

If you’re starting a freelance career, or looking to grow your existing business, download our Free eBook, The Essential Guide to Launching a Freelance Career.

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Shane Mehling FOLLOW >

Shane Mehling is a freelance writer and editor who plays in noiserock bands.