I’m In The Mood For Freelancing… Romancing…

It’s the month of romance around the world, and people are booking their Valentine’s Day celebrations at their favourite local establishments. I realised the other day that I’ve booked a date with myself for Valentine’s Day – accidentally, I might add. I’m going to an exhibition at the Tate, followed by dinner and a musical, all of which I expect I’ll enjoy, but I expect I’ll also be the only person there flying solo.

I’ve always been happy with my own company, though, and this is probably why I love being able to work from home and manage my days how I see fit.

But freelancing can hit your relationships hard, and since it’s the season of love, I thought we’d take a look at some of the ways relationships can be affected, and how you can make sure the impact isn’t too dire.

All Work And No Play

One of the main gripes of new freelancers is just how hard they have to work. When you look at all those posts by people who have already spent years growing their businesses, and all you see is that they seem to have spent the past eight months tanning on a beach, piña colada resting casually on a little table beside their laptop, it’s easy to get disheartened when it turns out the reality is crouching Gollum-esque on your uncomfortable sofa, shovelling instant ramen into your mouth while you desperately try to keep on top of everything.

Freelancer working on a beach with a cocktail

If only it were really like this…

When you first set up, barring some kind of huge angel investment, you will have to work hard. It’s all very well reading articles about how you should try to maintain a work-life balance – and you should, because it’s better for you – but almost every freelancer I’ve ever known has fallen at this hurdle, especially at the beginning.

Because let’s be real here, freelancing is terrifying. You never know how much money is coming in, you’re constantly worried about that one client who actually pays on time dropping you, the rest haven’t paid you for the past three months but you’re still working for them anyway because it feels like you don’t really have a choice. On top of this, you’ve probably undervalued yourself or taken on bits of work at below the rate you need to charge, because you’re just starting out and turning away any work just feels wrong.

Plus you have to do everything yourself. Even if you’ve hired an accountant, you’re probably still doing some basic bookkeeping and your own marketing, perhaps your own web design. Almost certainly you’ll be managing your own social media profiles and having to deal with HMRC when they come knocking.

Businesswoman working late in an office

Freelancers often don’t clock off at the end of the day

All of this adds up to a big fat lack of time. Many freelancers find it hard to switch off in the evenings and over the weekend, because it’s horrifying to think that you might miss out on a piece of work just because you weren’t in front of your emails 24/7. And of course, this lack of time impacts on your relationships; not just romantically, but friendships and acquaintances too. If you’re going to networking events on top of everything else, then finding the time for even the bare bones of a social life can seem overwhelming.

Other People Just Don’t Get It

Living with your partner is one way to ensure you see them more often, but that doesn’t guarantee a good relationship. If you’re both freelancing, you can at least share each other’s pain and maybe even provide some backup if you’re in the same industry. But often, one partner is freelancing while the other goes to work in a 9-to-5 office job, leading to a lack of understanding and resentment on both sides.

The freelancer may feel like their partner doesn’t understand just how hard they’re working, and may be annoyed when their partner goes out for drinks after work, or comes home tired at the end of the day and doesn’t want to help around the house. Sometimes the freelancer will want or need to work late, prompting them to skip the time they’d normally be spending with their partner and driving a wedge into the relationship.

Woman in bed with laptop

Not actually what it’s like

On the other hand, the partner who works in an office may resent the freelancer’s freedom, and unless they’ve freelanced themselves they probably won’t understand exactly how much work their partner is doing. A common conception of freelance life is that you just sit around in your pyjamas all day, idly tapping away at a keyboard but essentially just playing at life, and this is a hard one to shake off.

So What Do You Do?

This post sounds a bit doom-and-gloomy, doesn’t it? That’s because freelancing is hard. But the good news is that it doesn’t have to break up your relationship.

The #1 way you can help yourself to keep your relationships going is to set aside time for them and stick to it. I find it helpful to have certain days when I see friends, and certain days when I take myself on date nights. If you have a romantic partner, you’ll hopefully want to add in some time for them too. Make sure the people in your life understand that just because you work from home, that doesn’t mean you can drop everything at a moment’s notice and spend loads of time hanging out at restaurants.

Lesbian couple hugging

Communication and understanding are important in all relationships

Which brings me to the second tip: communication. If you’re finding that people aren’t understanding what your life’s like, tell them. Better still, show them; show your partner how hard you’ve worked and what you’ve been doing all day. If you have a timesheet, show them that. It sounds overly simplistic, but sometimes just seeing the number of hours someone has spent on a particular task can help others to properly get it.

And most of all, be strict with yourself. It’s way too easy to be swayed either by other people’s demands or by our own desire to see them more often. But there are only so many hours in each day, and it’s important to make sure you work hard enough to keep yourself afloat, while also taking enough time off to stop yourself from burning out. We’ll talk more about how to do that in a future article; for now, I’ll let you go and book your Valentine’s Day restaurants.


Happy New Year!

Hello and a very happy new year to everyone!

We’ve been running a reduced service over the holiday period, since most of our clients were offline anyway. We kept things going in terms of content, making sure we were still writing, posting and sharing articles for our largest clients, but took a break from the more strategic stuff, because that’s what the rest of the year is for.

If you’d like to commission any projects in 2018, or if you’re planning to become a freelancer and want to know how to get started, drop us a line.

Christmas Plans

What are you planning to do over the holiday period? Does it involve lots of drinking whilst desperately trying to still keep on top of your inbox?

For freelancers, the holiday period can be a difficult thing to navigate. You probably can’t pass your entire business over to someone else, and virtual assistants who are willing to work the whole period are hard to find (but not impossible, so that’s something to consider).

In this post I thought we’d talk about why it’s so hard to deal with the holidays as a freelancer or small business owner, and what you can do about it.

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What To Do When Things Break Down

This week I am limping along on my backup computer because my main computer died. I’m awaiting delivery of a hopefully more reliable machine, but I thought this would be a good opportunity to talk about what to do when the things you rely on physically break down.

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It’s The End Of November Already

…which means it’s the time of year when even scrooges like me can’t get annoyed that people are in the Christmas spirit. After all, it’s only a few weeks away.

We’ll be providing a limited service over the holiday period, but in the meantime it’s full steam ahead for all our teams.

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Winter Is Coming

Hello everyone, I hope you have had an enjoyable week. I currently have a cold, which is quite annoying, but it is to be expected with the onset of the colder weather. Luckily, working from home means that (a) I won’t be infecting any coworkers and (b) I can make myself as many mugs of Lemsip as I want.

We’ve had a fairly quiet week here at Bohemiacademia. November-December are often quieter months, as clients are winding down for the Christmas period, and then in January there’s the mad rush when everyone goes back to work.

Garreth and Jackie have been transcribing various things this week: some videos of a conference which Michelle put together; Carlie’s podcast episodes for one of our clients; and various webinars which people send to us to transcribe.

Transcription is a great way to make sure more people can access your video and audio content. Not only does it mean that those with hearing problems can enjoy it too, it also works well for SEO, as it ensures keywords are being scanned by search engines’ crawlers.

I’ve been doing a bit of proofreading this week, as usual; I’ve been focusing on proofreading in French while Johanna deals with proofreading in English.

I’ve also been chasing some client accounts – the less glamorous part of freelance life is trying to stay on top of what you’re owed, and by whom. We are lucky in that most of our clients pay on time (or even early!), but sometimes people need a little nudge.

The social media management team are hard at work as always – take a look at what Emma has been doing with a client’s Instagram account:

Kathy has been hard at work on Pinterest; having grown one client’s following by 12,000 subscribers over the course of a year, she’s now looking at ways to increase it even further.

On Facebook, our team of administrators and moderators have been looking after groups and pages, checking in daily to combat spam and make sure our clients’ groups remain useful, interesting places for people to converse.

Although they’re not as popular as other social networks, LinkedIn and GooglePlus are also places where we share our clients’ articles and keep people up to date with news in their industries. LinkedIn groups can be a great place to focus some attention, especially if you run a B2B company or if you’re in a technical industry.

Our writers are hard at work as always, of course, writing articles for clients across several different sectors. We can also source interviewees for clients, looking for people in relevant industries whose expertise and opinions might give a boost to reader numbers.

Want to commission a project? Get in touch

Think the freelance life might suit you? Drop us a line