When you go freelance, whether because you wanted to start being your own boss, or pursue multiple projects, or simply because that's what was offered to you, you have to deal with a lot of annoying questions from people who don't get how you make money. From some reason, regardless of how much you try to reassure someone that you are paid for your work, and actually WANT to be doing this, they don't believe it. Every freelancer seems to have that friend, uncle, third cousin once removed, or roommate, who keeps trying to get them an opening at their company. How many times do we have to tell you that we don't want to work at your tech startup? We already have a job!
There are, of course, challenges for freelancers, and getting health insurance isn’t always a walk in the park. Clients pay late, and sometimes we have to work on Sundays instead of going to brunch. But whether we chose the freelance life, or the freelance life chose us, there are huge perks that we would love the people who worry about us to acknowledge. (I’m looking at you, long distance Facebook friend who keeps sending me job applications.) So here are 17 frustrating things that freelancers are tired of hearing:
1. "Soooo, You Work For Free?"
Who asks that? I'm not saying we shouldn't get to a point with friends where it's OK to talk about money, but it's unnecessarily blunt to A) assume that your friends aren't getting paid, and B) bring it up out of the blue. I've explained my freelance rates to plenty of friends, but only if it's a positive discussion where I don't feel like I'm under scrutiny.
2. "Are You Your Own Company?"
Some freelancers are an S Corp, some stick to being independent contractors, some are both — but most really don't feel like talking about it on their day off.
3. "What Are Your Taxes Like?"
Slightly more stressful than yours, but it's really fine.
4. "Right, But What's Your REAL Job?"
5. "I Can't IMAGINE Dealing With My Own Health Insurance."
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
6. "So, How's The Job Search?"
THERE IS NO JOB SEARCH, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY.
7. "Let Me Get This Round, I Know You're Freelancing Right Now."
Freelance is no more of a salary indicator than having a full-time job.
8. "Do You Have To Work On Christmas?"
Freelancing might require working during the evening, or on a Sunday, but in some situations it also means you can take time off WHENEVER YOU WANT.
9. "How Much Do You Have To Pay In Taxes?"
Taxes is on this list twice because people will never stop asking freelancers about tax write-offs. To be fair, most freelancers would talk about tax write-offs all day.
10. "It Must Really Suck To Not Have A Retirement Account."
Just because we don't have a company that sets up our 401(k) and matches our contributions doesn't mean we aren't saving for the future.
11. "I Would Hate Not Having Vacation Days."
A lot of freelancers budget specifically so they can pay themselves while taking days off.
12. "Your Job Is Easy, You, Like, Never Have To Work."
When people tell a freelancer that at happy hour, it's legitimately an LOL moment, because that freelancer has to go home and finish work while you go to bed.
13. "Does It Feel Like You're Constantly Applying For New Jobs?"
Actually, sometimes, yes. But it's still condescending to ask.
14. "Do You Get Dressed In The Morning Before You Start Working?"
Cue conversation about work productivity habits and whether you need to ditch sweatpants to get work done. We've all got our different ways of handling it, and whatever works for each freelancer is what works best.
15. "I Would Never Get Anything Done."
The Compliment That Was Almost A Compliment But Actually Wasn't Because It Calls Our Work Habits Into Question.
16. "You Must Have Zero Work-Balance If You Live Where You Work."
We juggle. It's a skill.
17. "We Have A Great Job Listserve At Work. I'll Send You Postings."
This isn't even a backhanded insult... it's just a straight up insult. Freelancing requires us to hustle and find new and better opportunities, but if needed an "in" somewhere, or help, we'd ask. But if you're extending an offer to help us get into a company that we have no interest in just because you think it's better than what we do now... that's unnecessary. And rude.
Images: Giphy (17), Pexels