Life is full of shoulds. You know what kind of food you should eat to stay healthy, how much TV you should watch every day, and why you shouldn’t text your ex after a night out.
Freelancing comes with its own set of shoulds. How much you should be making in your field or at your level of experience. The amount of work you should have lined up at all times. How happy you should be to live the dream.
Sometimes shoulds are useful. They can help you keep money in the bank for a rainy day or prevent unhealthy habits. They might even keep crazy scientists from bringing back the dinosaurs.
Most of the time, however, they do more to hold you back than they do to push you forward. For that reason, I was so impressed with the Hectic Podcast guest this week, Adrianna Baros. She is someone who refuses to live her life by conventional standards. Whether she’s renovating someone’s bathroom by herself or advertising her business through strategically placed business cards, Adrianna finds what works for her and uses that to grow.
It doesn’t matter that she’s the only young woman working locally in her industry. Choosing to go out on her own rather than attending college isn’t holding her back. She is living a crazy, fun life on her terms and it’s exactly where she wants to be.
After listening to the latest episode, I wanted to share some of my least favorite shoulds in freelancing. These expectations were the ones that made me question my decision to start a business the most, so I hope that you can use this blog to get some relief from the shoulds hanging over your head.
I’m a writer because it’s what I know, what I’m good at, and I don’t mind doing it every day, but it’s not something I’m passionate about. What I love doing is spending time with my family and finding ways to make people smile. With freelancing, I have the flexibility, time, and income I need to do those things.
If you’ve been able to build a business around your passions, much like Adrianna has, your work may be just as fulfilling as your play. How awesome is that?
And for those who have chosen your field based on income potential or simply what was available to you, your business and work are equally valuable. Being an independent creator is about finding the freedom to do what you want with your life. How you get there or where your focus lies on the way are far less important.
Here’s a simple truth: I’m not the ideal business owner. It’s been a constant struggle since I started freelancing and I’m still learning how to be better at the administrative stuff. My business has grown consistently since I started freelancing, but I don’t have the ambition to build an empire. I’m still trying to figure out how to create a stream of passive income (inspiration, anyone?). Simply put, I’m not, and never will be, a hustler.
It’s this should, in my opinion, that’s responsible for imposter syndrome.
In my years of freelancing, I’ve never met a freelancer that fit a mold. The Hectic Podcast has made this even more apparent. You don’t need to revolutionize your industry, work for huge companies, or do anything more than what works for you and your clients. You’ve already started your own business, so you are an entrepreneur - period. As long as you are meeting your responsibilities and goals, there’s no need to invest time and energy into being something you’re not. Keep on doing what you’re doing.
Owning your own business is hard. Everyone experiences periods of famine where you wonder what you were thinking and where your next paycheck is coming from. When you’re stressed, burnt out, and overwhelmed, the relative simplicity of employment is appealing.
Even entertaining these thoughts can feel like giving up, but I promise it’s not. It’s okay to acknowledge struggles. It’s not failure to put your needs before dreams and expectations.
If that means starting a part-time job, taking a break from freelancing, or switching directions entirely, go for it! You should do what’s best for you now and moving forward, not what someone else thinks is the right move.
Learn more about Adrianna’s wild and awesome life here, where she shares how she got into her field, why she recommends doing things scared, and what she has learned through owning her business.
I highly recommend this platform if you're a freelancer seeking a client/project management system that allows you to focus on nothing else but the quality of your work.