My Average Day as a Freelancer

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Table from CB2. Dingo dog from Petfinder.

A few months ago, I quit a wonderful job to try a different kind of life: freelancing. My goal was to put about 20 hours per week toward marketing work, and use the other 20 to work on my own creative goals. Since then, many people have asked how the heck it’s going and like, what is my life now? So I thought I’d talk about an average day for me.

8:30 a.m. – Wake up. Now that I freelance, I can sleep more along the lines of the 1 a.m. bedtime/ 9 a.m. wakeup that I favored in the summers or in college. I’m a night owl by nature, so this has been great.

9 a.m. – Eat breakfast and get ready. I usually take longer to make and eat my breakfast, which is lovely. (Oh and I now do my makeup in front of the TV. I love Kelly Ripa, so what?)

10 a.m. – Work! I was lucky enough to find a group of likeminded people to work with in my freelance capacity. Every day I go into Superhuman for a few hours and work with some awesome people and clients. We also eat really good lunches.

3 or 4 p.m. – Go home. I often use the time before dinner to work out. I usually do a workout from the Nike Training Club App, while playing fetch with my dog of course. She loves how often I’m home now!

5 p.m. – Make dinner. I actually relish making dinner now, and actively spend time meal planning and looking at recipes. I used to get home exhausted and wanting wine and/or mac and cheese. Now I take my time and make something good.

6 p.m. – Eat. In front of the TV cuz I’m human. Or with Neil at our table. Or in the backyard while playing more fetch.

7 p.m. – Whatever. Sometimes I will do some freelance work right after dinner.

8 p.m. – When I can, I go to the YMCA to add some cardio to my day.

9 p.m. – Walk my dog. I have to wait until sunset because otherwise she gets too hot and lays in the grass like a slug.

10 p.m. – 12 p.m. – Worktime. I’m a night person so I get a second wind around this time. I’ll either do freelance work or pursue one of my personal projects, like blogging or podcast work.

12 p.m. – Wind down. Sometimes I have enough steam left to draw or do something creative. Other times I just read blogs or watch makeup tutorials. I’m addicted to them.

A lot of freelancers and bloggers talk about how they actually work more than people with 9-5 jobs. I’m not doubting that this could be true. It takes a lot more time to manage your income, bills and workflow when you’re freelance. You may also have super busy weeks and super slow weeks. That said, there is something nice about the amount you’re working being directly connected to the amount you’re making. When I have a slow week, I just tell myself I’m time rich, at least!

Also, taking a lot of time on your own project, like a blog, never feels the same as working for someone else. Even if I spent 70 hours per week on my blog (which I absolutely don’t), it wouldn’t feel the same as working 70 hours per week at a high-stress job.

Part of why I wrote this post is to show that you can have balance in your life, and leaving a challenging job doesn’t have to mean going right into being a workaholic somewhere else. Our culture has a terrible habit of forcing people to compete with one another about who works more, and I always wonder, why? I read this once a year to remind myself that the purpose of life is not to work, and that you have to retain some of your creativity for yourself.

That said, it takes a few years of sacrifice to get into the position you need to be in to work part-time or freelance. If I hadn’t spent 6 years building up my advertising/copywriting/marketing skills, I couldn’t do this now. If I freelanced exclusively in journalism, I would be spending a lot of time chasing down paychecks from various publications that paid me $10 per hour.

I’ve only been doing this for a few months, so I won’t pretend to be an expert on this lifestyle. Every freelancer has a different situation, and mine is probably more stable than average since I’ve found one consistent gig I enjoy. It was scary at first, but now that I’m in the flow of it, I’m enjoying it a lot. My dog is too.