A checklist for the January 31st tax deadline
It’s boring, but if you’ve saved money specifically for this purpose, it shouldn’t be painful. Here’s what you must do to get through your self-ass...
I am a freelancer and a full-time employee. People often like to say that I am moonlighting as a freelance journalist whilst I work as a Marketing Manager in publishing, but I disagree. Moonlighting to me sounds like an undercover hobby I’m doing merely to supplement my income, but that is not the case with my freelance career.
I am very open about my freelancing career with my office colleagues, in fact I use my freelancing abilities to benefit my day job and vice versa. This is part of the reason why I can balance it so well with my office hours.
My freelance career is based solely around my lifestyle and my choices, since I’ve chosen to do it purely because I enjoy working as a journalist, rather than what some people assume is for financial gain. When I started my freelance role I still loved my career in publishing but I was also really interested in starting a career in journalism. Instead of giving up one for the other, I strove to find a way to incorporate journalism around my publishing career.
Having the best of both worlds is always going to be a balancing act though, and one that you must not let affect your work-to-life ratio, otherwise you’ll come to resent it. I make sure to only do what I really want to do when it comes to my freelancing and I never forget to take time off throughout the week, just to rest, binge-watch Netflix or socialise with friends and family.
But to most minds, I’m still working two jobs and I must be mentally exhausted all the time. Luckily for me, my two careers are in closely connected industries, so a lot of my day-to-day freelance activities can be done on my lunch breaks or within my day-to-day office life itself. The balancing comes separately.
The first thing I did when my freelance career began picking up, which was crucial to getting the balance right, was talking to my line manager. I wanted her to be aware of my exciting new career but also not to feel intimidated by it. I knew that she was curious about what I was doing after I began spending my lunch breaks writing articles rather than going out for food with my colleagues, but she was also concerned that I might be considering leaving my role to go freelance full time. I wanted to explain that that wasn’t the case. I was very happy where I was and I was doing just the right amount of work for me in both my roles, I was just pursuing other creative opportunities.
Personality-wise, it’s helpful that I am an extremely proactive person who enjoys being busy. If I wasn’t, I would not be so good at balancing my careers. I am always very aware of my limits and will happily push back on my freelancing career when my office job takes over. However, because my office job is under a full-time employment contract, this job does have to take priority on occasion. This isn’t always great when I’m succeeding in my freelancing career and I don’t want to miss out on any exciting freelance opportunities.
So far, this has only happened over one period of time, and taking a break from freelancing in order to focus on my full-time career actually proved to be a useful life lesson for me. The time off freelancing revealed to me just how much I enjoyed it, and how much I needed it as a creative outlet. But it also showed me how I didn’t depend on it either and had the power to say no to opportunities that I wasn’t that interested in.
I love my role in publishing but working for other people beneath an office hierarchy can sometimes be taxing creatively. Freelancing allows me the freedom to do what I wish, but my office job allows me structure which I equally respond well too.
However, when I feel that taking a break from my freelance role is not what I want, and is, in fact, jeopardising my freelance prospects, that is when I shall know when it is time to start freelancing full-time. Or, alternatively, this is when I could ask my full-time employers if I change my hours or take a part-time role instead. It depends entirely on the nature of my freelancing career and whether or not it is something that I am passionate enough to pursue as my full-time job.
For the time being, I am very happy in the roles I have set out for myself. I have complete autonomy over my freelance career and am without financial fears due to the monthly salary I receive from my full-time career, which means I only do the freelance jobs that I really want to do. This makes my freelancing career extremely enjoyable and a worthwhile use of my time.
My one recommendation when anyone asks for advice on balancing a freelance career with full-time employment is that there’s no point doing both unless you love both.
To have an additional career as a freelancer, you have to remain proactive and productive after a long-day of full-time work and you also have to see a future benefit in order to push yourself to create more contacts or develop your career further. If you start freelancing merely for financial gain, or out of a desire to do something that you’ve seen someone else do, then you will struggle to balance your freelancing and office jobs.
Equally, if you don’t enjoy your full-time job but you love freelancing then maybe it is time to consider making the move to full-time freelancer.
My final word is this, if you love your freelance role but you also love your full-time job then there is no reason why you can’t do both with a little time-planning, practice and the ability to know when you’ve reached, or are reaching, your limit.
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