Wednesday 14 March 2018

The Loneliness Of Freelancing | Life Stories

One thing that you don't really think about when making the move or decision to become self employed is just how damn lonely it can be. I touched on it before in my 'Why I Became A Blogger' post but to go from working in a really lively office of twenty plus people to just working by myself has been quite a shock to my system, especially as I am someone who thrives on the support and encouragement of others. 

Being a blogger, freelancer or self employed can be such lonely work, depending on how many other people you work with of course. I just work by myself and for myself, with the occasional helping hand of my husband. I often find myself craving some interaction with others and although my dogs make great day time companions, I definitely miss the office banter and chats with others. I miss going on tea breaks and putting the world to rights. I miss people asking me how my weekend was or what I'm doing after work. I almost miss being irritated by other peoples chatter!

Ultimately I really miss feeling a part of something. And probably one of the hardest things of all is that there is no one to offer up some praise when you deserve it. There's no one there to tell you you're doing a good job. Online there are thousands of people and a great creative community who I talk to, and who pat me on the back regularly, but it has never quite felt the same as working within a real team of people.

It can be extremely isolating. 

I would say that this is the biggest and only downfall to my career at the moment. So much so that I have gone through periods of thinking about getting a small part time job to do alongside all of this purely for the social interaction. But I know deep down, and from past experiences, that to go from having complete freedom to suddenly being tied to something and answering to someone else is so difficult. I've tried it before and yes it's stopped me from feeling as isolated but as soon as I get invited to something I can't go to, or I start to feel behind on my own work, that's when the resentment begins and I find myself back to wishing I was purely working for myself again. 

It's a vicious circle but one I am actively looking to find the answer to. 

I've recently signed myself up at a lovely co-working space where I work from once a week. I've already started to use it and I have to say that even just getting out and working somewhere different has been a real eye opener. Even after one session I already felt a little more connected to the outside world again and I have found myself enjoying the small and simple conversations with other people that I once took so much for granted.

Another thing which has helped beat some of these feelings of loneliness in work is attending different workshops and events. I talked about it in my recent 'Creative Workshops I've Loved Lately' blog post but I have really noticed what a difference these one off events have made to my feelings of isolation. Each and every event I have attended has been an opportunity to meet and mingle with others and I have left feeling so much more connected to people. Meeting someone new in person and then a simple following of each other on social media can lead to wonderful new friendships. Yes it can be quite anxiety provoking putting yourself in a room full of people you've never met before, but as soon as you do it you realise that it does become easier and easier each time.

I know I'm not the only creative who has felt like this, especially going from working in such a busy and lively environment before. Suddenly it's just you, on your own, at your computer screen with your dog on your lap and it can feel scary. Some days it can feel like you're crawling the walls! But, and all of this being said, I don't think any of this should stop you from doing what you really want to do. I would actually say that this is probably the only real downfall to taking that leap into freelancing or self employment. And the good news is that you can do things to help like networking or co-working with others.

If any of you have felt like this in your professions I would love to hear from you! And if any of you have any further recommendations on how to feel less isolated working from home alone then please do comment below and let us all know. I'm sure any further advice or tips would be greatly appreciated by everyone including me.


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