Everyone knows that freelancing means an end to that predictable paycheck, but it’s easy to forget how many parts of your life really hinge on having a steady flow of income.
My closest cousin is getting married soon and I’m not going to be attending her wedding. It was a decision I had to make because it would have been an incredibly bad move to put out the almost $3K it would have cost me to attend (it’s a destination wedding.) That amount of cash could toss pretty much any freelancer’s finances off the rails, so I had to go through the uncomfortable conversation of telling her I wouldn’t be able to make it.
I do wish I could be there, but at the same time, I know what my choice to be a freelancer means, especially socially.
When I was employed, I would have had the option of plunking down that amount of money and while I wouldn’t have been happy about it, it wouldn’t make or break my career. As soon as I started freelancing, I had to make adjustments to how often I ate out, my travel schedule, entertainment…everything. Where that trip would have looked expensive before, now it looks like a tax bill. Where I would have brushed it off as a yearly “big” vacation before, now it looks ridiculously extravagant for something I don’t genuinely want and a social decision someone else made.
Looking back, I think there would have been some value in telling quite a few people in my life, flat out, that my life was changing drastically and that many of the things I did before simply wouldn’t be the same for a while, if ever again. Thankfully though, most of my friends are, at least at some level, disconnected from the standard employment life and understand that my being a freelancer means more than just a flexible work schedule.