The Trials and Tribulations of Freelancing: V. Spencer's Story


I asked a few freelancers what are some of the ups and downs of freelancing. Here is the second of three stories from entrepreneurs. This is V. Spencer’s story.

Contributing Author: V. Spencer


** Like any job, freelancing is an occupation that comes with its positive and its negative aspects. I began freelancing in the middle of July 2017 to supplement my retirement income. I am sure my experience has not been unique, but for me, it has been a one of a kind pursuit.

** What first drew me to freelancing was the allure of working from home during the hours I chose to work. For years I had gotten up at the crack of dawn and worked long hours. My only respite was the weekends. For those two days, I could sleep in. I was overdue for a change from the early morning humdrum.

** Since I made freelancing my vocation, no longer do I rise before the sun peeks through the blinds of my bedroom windows. Now I can sleep in and start my day whenever I wish. I start off my day by logging in to the freelance platform and checking on any messages I may have received as I slept. I do so in my nightclothes while sipping a hot drink and nibbling my breakfast. If I want to take the morning off, I do. If I want to go shopping in the afternoon, I do. If I want to close up shop early, I do. However, in the beginning, freelancing was not quite this way.

** When I initially became a freelancer impression of being in charge filled my mind and stoked my ambitions. However, like all businesses, freelancing is one where the service provider must prove their worth before they can charge the prices they want. Therefore, a seller must demonstrate the quality of their work through the reviews received from buyers. Consequently, in the beginning, I was obliged to sell my services at a fraction of the price my time was worth. Also, in the hopes of attracting more clients, I made myself available seven days a week during all of my waking hours. I, in fact, was not in charge. The need to build my online business was motivating me to work more hours than I had foreseen. On the other hand, at least I could sleep in!

** Six months after I began my freelance journey, I was happy to find I had enough positive reviews that I was able to raise my prices in line with the quality of the services I provided. However, I still do not feel entirely in charge of my time.

** The platform I freelance on requires sellers to reply to all first time messages received within 24 hours. This means I am obliged to log into my freelance account and take time to take care of any communication seven days a week. The way I deal with this is always to have my platform’s phone app on when I am out of my office. The app makes it easy to answer any messages I get while I am out and about doing as I choose.

** Another reason I do not feel entirely in charge of my time is that the workload can vary significantly. Some weeks I am overwhelmed by the amount of work I receive. After all, a person can get too much of a good thing. However, some weeks the work is as rare as the water in the Sahara Desert. During the dry times, I am thankful for my pension and enjoy my freedom to get caught up on whatever I became behind at during the hectic times.

** A further benefit for me is that I enjoy what I do. I know that proofreading is not everyone’s cup of tea, but for me it is gratifying. I love to do puzzles and solve brain teasers. The feeling of pleasure I get when I proofread is the same as the feeling I get while I am relaxing and working out brain teasers or putting puzzles together. (I have to admit it, I am a proofreading nerd!)

** Perhaps one of the most gratifying and helpful experiences of freelancing has been being involved in the Forum of the platform on which I work. There I gained not only knowledge of how to improve my business, but I also acquired friends from around the world. I found it very enlightening to hear of the differences and similarities between the cultures, lifestyles, and thought processes of people from other countries.

** For me as a retiree freelancing is a practically perfect profession. It makes it possible for me to work from home. If I want some leisure time, I can put my profile on “out of the office” mode and do as I wish. If you are a retired person, who has marketable skills I recommend you look into one of the freelancing platforms online. Then, like me, you will have extra income for those little extras that are nice to have in life.