More on these points:
You will gain 10 lbs
For one, the fridge is too close. For two, you lose that natural activity in your day that helped to keep the weight down. You don’t have to walk between offices, you don’t even have to walk to the car/bus to commute anymore.
Pro tips: Only use the bathroom on another floor, and move the printer or anything else out of reach, so that you have to stand up and move occasionally. Also, don’t buy snacks.
You will shower only if you have to go out
This one creeps up on you. Before you know it, you are “saving water” and only showering when you know you will see people—and hiding from the courier.
Pro tip: Plan to go out.
You will work even harder
That work sits right where you can see it all the time. It calls to you. You’ll be sitting there thinking “boy, am I hungry” and realize that it’s already 3 p.m. and not only have you not eaten, but you now have to leave and pick up the kids.
Pro tips: Put a door on your office and close it. Use a different email address for personal mail. This will keep you from noticing clients’ urgent messages in the middle of the weekend or stumbling back into the office blurry eyed after putting the kids to bed. Not your best work, admit it.
You will do your own professional development
No boss is going to send you for training. Do this yourself. And do it regularly. If you wait for a slow period, either it will never come or it will not come when you have time. (See the next point.) Suddenly you will find your skills and knowledge out of date.
Pro tip: Attend a conference or seminar in your own profession or one adjacent. For editors, that might mean something in your subject area (such as science) or your market (such as education). Or, do something completely different. I am always surprised how I find links to my work in diverse places. (Such as at the crime writers’ festival.)
You will wish to control the slow periods
Ah, the lure of being in charge of your own time. No. The slow periods never coincide with planned vacations. Unless you work in that mythical industry with a seasonal rhythm. Let me know what that is.
Pro tip: Either deal with the extended down-time or deadline stress that planned vacations bring, or become a fan of the “last minute” club. Either way can work.
You will find deductions for maid expenses
Nothing bad about this. They clean your office, this keeps you healthy. Paying them creates a job and even helps combat all the isolation and reminds you to shower. Plus, if you go for a walk when they’re there, you’ll combat the weight gain.
Pro tip: Keep receipts for everything and let your bookkeeper or accountant decide what is a write-off and what is not.
You will talk to yourself
You always did, but now it’s creepy.
You used to covet your time alone. Others sucked your energy. They may also have stolen your joy. Now that you are always alone, it seems that you need those outsiders after all. Social media helps—serving the role of virtual water cooler. Do get out of the house.
Pro tip: Get a cat. This helps combat the other points, and makes your talking out loud just slightly less crazy. At least get a headset—so you can fake talking to someone else. If you get a dog, this will also make you leave the house more frequently than the cat food supply runs alone.
To see people in real life, connect with a neighbour. Or, join a local professional or social group.
Why this list?
My colleague Elizabeth d’Anjou teaches a seminar in starting out and thriving as a freelancer. Sometimes she presents “ten things I wish I had known.” She includes very practical advice such as “You are running a business. If you don’t invoice, you won’t get paid. And: some of that money belongs to the government.” Meaning, remember to set aside money to pay your taxes.
Mistakes will be made. If you learn from them, life will go on.
After discussing such useful advice, Elizabeth and I started musing about the other things we wish we hand known. Some of what we discussed appears above.
Recently, I read a few blog posts about the freelance life that were funny and insightful.
http://kateproof.co.uk/blog/index.html (Aug 1, 2012 post)
What surprised you about freelancing?