Going freelance – your time matters

A bit of a glimpse into my (disorganised) life as a freelance to-be learning the value of time (literally)

what, you want me to help you?

I’m a bit of optimistic. You see, I’m the kind of person who writes out yearly goals in January claiming « it’s useless » but secretly hoping to fulfil (at least one of) them. For 2021, I had 5 among which « let my hair grow » and « go freelance ».

A week ago, here I was at the beginning of November with a buzzed head – still –, assessing the likelihood of me actually doing a first freelance mission before the end of the year. To be frank I only considered doing copywriting. It seemed to be the main skill people saw in me and I thought the writing exercise wouldn’t take too much of my energy. Since I run Our Millennials Today, I guess some could also picture me as a vocational coach of some sort – which I’m not considering at the moment.

And then, someone came to me via Our Millennials Today to ask me to help build a brand identity. Random, but I couldn’t say no. I remember telling her « of course I’ll do it » without a clue of where I was going to take this.

your work has value

During our first exploratory meeting, I even bugged when she asked how much cost this coaching.

I was so used to giving free advice to people or a hand when help was needed to shoot pictures for example since I’m into photography that I didn’t even consider this other than as a « mentoring journey ».

This offer really had me reconsider the work I do for Our Millennials Today. Creating free content is my ish, and I would not have it any other way since one of the core values of the project is accessibility. However, I realised weeks ago that I had a hard time differentiating my work from my leisures. Yes, I met people through instagram, my newsletter an my podcast, but which space did I let them take into my life?

Whatever might be our exchanges, our discussions revolved around one thing: vocational. Moreover, I tend to share a lot of my personal life and opinions on social matters on social media. This creates, de facto, a bound with my community which, in return, gives me feedback, stories, etc. But this relationship is, by essence, unbalanced. People feel like they know me – and are close to me –, when the opposite is not really true. On the top, having deep conversations with people on vocational necessarily implies that we’ll explore other life topics. For instance, we often speak about our educations, parents and vision for the future. Sometimes we dig into politics or history, which passionate me as well.

Even if nice, this can result into a f****** blurred line between my personal life and my social life. At some point, I realised I didn’t see my friends as much on week ends simply because I was already drained from attending to some of my follower’s need for exchange. But how could I charge my time since
1/ I was like them
2/ I didn’t put limit during the first call or conversation
3/ I felt responsible for their well-being and progress

omg my time matters

Can you feel the epiphany coming?
YES. It’s exactly as if I were a coach giving tool, insights, etc. to people without having the title, the payroll or even the vocation – yes I was so drained I couldn’t take it.

Fun fact, this reflexion also had me reassess my friendships. I realised I too often had this same role – helping hand / listening again and again / coaching – in my everyday life, which I’m tired of.

In fine, I’m learning to put my limits, verbalise them around me and re-own by leisure time for myself (the best there is). For instance, now I don’t work week ends – or at least, I don’t force myself to – and I LOVE IT. If it taught me one thing it’s: work/life balance is never spoken of when presenting entrepreneurship or freelancing. We associate workaholics behaviours to success when moderation is the key to a better (mental) health and self-care.

So please. Sleep. Disconnect. Say NO. And have people pay for your time.

Who would have thought that this simple proposition would open such an introspection?

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