Should you give up on this whole freelance thing?

Just quit this foolishness? And go back to being gainfully and properly employed?


Maybe not.

I’m guessing if you’re asking this question it’s because things aren’t going like you planned.

Maybe it’s about money. Or lack thereof. Or drudge work. The constant ‘uncertainty’ of it all. Maybe it seems you simply traded one irritating boss for seven irritating clients.

“When is this carefree, self-directed lifestyle supposed to kick in?”

It could be that this life just isn’t for you. It’s not right for mostpeople.

You may, in fact, be perfectly normal, without any of the character flaws and mis-matched synapses that you need in this business.

Or, it could be that you’re just doing things wrong.

With me, when freelancing turns sour, like through most of 2011 and much of this summer, it’s because I have been shamefully unproductive, or cowardly, or wildly undisciplined. Or just not paying attention. I’ve learned it’s not the business model. It’s me.

But what should you do?

Should you figure out this freelance thing?  Or get a proper job already?

There is probably a way to decide this with spreadsheets and P&Ls.

But here’s a better way. It reveals the right answer every time.

Do this.

Check out the job boards

Reach out to your old colleagues, ask around about opportunities. Work LinkedIn. Polish your resume. Send out some letters to creative directors or editors or coordinators.

Apply for a few positions. Go on an interview or two.

Does all this make you feel better?  Do you feel a flood of relief? A new sense of direction? As if you can now sleep at night for once? Do you feel like you again?

Or do you feel worse? Does something sink inside? Does it scare the hell out of you?

Do you suddenly start thinking of ways you can tinker with freelancing some more?

I’ve seen this work both ways.

But it seems to turn up the right answer every time.

Me and my renegade friends are still here.

And Thom, Cille, Nancy, and Allison are back in respectable jobs, and happily loving it.