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Let's bust some commonly mistaken ideas about freelancers and the nature of their jobs. These are issues I've heard brought up to me and other individuals that work for themselves in the service industry. I can't speak for people who sell items rather than a service, but I'm sure some of these myths will overlap for them too.
All freelancers work typical 40 hours a week and all the bills are paid by their projects. This is a complete myth. Well, for the most part.
Freelancing, especially when starting out, is a tough gig to maintain. When one project is done, there is no promise there is another lined up to take its place. Sometimes projects overlap and one ends before the other. But for the most part, freelancers jump from job to job. And there's also the issue of getting paid. Projects that are quick and simple don't pay nearly as much as long term ones. So how does a freelancer manage the money gaps? They take a second job.
Yes, freelancers work other jobs to compensate their income. And this is perfectly normal. There are things they can do to relieve the strain on their money woes: downsizing belongings and/or living space, making a budget of their personal expenses, cutting back on unnecessary items, have a savings set aside for this specific issue, etc. When I've had a dry spell in projects I cut back a lot on my entertainment budget. Being the coldest time of the year makes this easier to do, as there is less to do outdoors. If cutting back wasn't enough, I've pounded the pavement in search of part-time work.
There is no shame in doing additional work to help pay the bills, even if it has nothing to do with your freelance work. Keeping perspective about your freelance goals is tough to face and be honest that it isn't generating the income needed. Dry spells happen and being ready for them will help you get past them and back to business when things pick up again. It doesn't mean you're a failure as a freelancer. Being adaptable to the changes that come along, that is what makes you successful.
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