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  • Writer's pictureSusan Carr

Compared to what?

This is what I envisioned my days as a freelancer would typically look like:

An uphill climb, but having different spots along the way to have a good grip on things.

This is what my days as a freelancer actually tend to look like:

Flipping from one thing to the next, focusing for a few minutes, and then getting distracted by an email, text message, a lightbulb that goes off in my brain when I finally get something, or another lightbulb going off that reminds me I forgot something.

I knew freelancing wouldn't be a cakewalk, but I didn't realize how much of this lifestyle revolved around building a business.

When you work for a company as an employee, the business is typically built, and the SOPs are already crafted and provided for you to follow.

Not so with freelancing. You're building an SOP from day one. If you're even lucky enough to know what an SOP is.

But I figured I could handle all this and the daily responsibilities. After all, just a decade ago, I was a single mom who was:

  • working full-time

  • trying to help The Oldest through college financially

  • attending college part-time myself

  • taking care of my aging parents

  • homeschooling The Youngest through middle school

What could be more challenging than wearing all those hats simultaneously?

Freelancing and learning how to be a business owner that's what.

No matter what you may see on social media, freelancing is not fluff. You won't be writing lifestyle articles while lounging on a beach sipping Perrier on day one. And day eighty's not going to be sitting at a local coffee house with a bound manuscript, a red pen for editing, and a Dirty Chai.

Freelancing is you spilling blood, sweat, and tears to learn:

  • how to price your services

  • how to calculate taxes

  • how to accurately record expenses

  • how to market yourself (blech)

  • how to organize your tasks

  • how to SEO-optimize EVERYTHING

So, compared to a job where your tasks are delegated, being a freelancer means figuring it all out as you go along.

When I compare freelancing to a "regular 9-5" office job, I find there are a lot of things I don't have:

  • a stressful commute in traffic

  • a business wardrobe

  • the expense of meals out and coffee runs

  • office politics and water cooler small talk

  • limited time off

But there is a caveat to this.

I became a freelancer so I had time freedom and could focus on providing care for my mom as she lives with advanced dementia. On days like today, when I go see her, I must remember I can't compare this career to any other.


  • I spent almost 3 hours in stressful traffic

  • I didn't eat lunch

  • I had 10 minutes to eat a takeaway dinner

  • I came home to a 2-hour working session with a client

  • I had two more hours of work to do after that meeting

The differences are clear when I compare my freelancing to my previous traditional 9-5 office jobs.

Sure, I've climbed off the corporate ladder and ditched office politics and the wardrobe, but freelancing has its challenges. Days like today, with awful traffic and back-to-back work, make me realize that I've traded corporate stress for a different kind of hustle.

Freelancing isn't a walk in the park; it's about facing the unknown with self-discovery and continuous learning. Trying to navigate this new path has meant I have to confront challenges head-on, be flexible and teachable, and have a stronger-than-ever work ethic.

So, when it comes to comparing my freelancing to a "regular job," it's not about what I've escaped but what I've embraced in this journey of being my own boss.

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