Freelancer’s dilemma -choosing between what’s safe and what’s not To stay or to leave




  • Greater than 3 minutes, my friend!

    God works in mysterious ways. I’ll use this idea just to lead you into a story I had a role in some weeks ago.

    As you know, I’m walking on a path of a freelancer who has somewhat regulated his/her business form. Maybe I can be called a small entrepreneur, but I would never use this term, as I somehow believe that in order to be one, you have to also employ another person. Giving another person the opportunity to earn a living, whereby you are in charge of his/her well-being by securing that pay regularly, is an ability that I highly admire. Nothing can come close to that notion. Not even providing for yourself. That is something you are expected to do as soon as you reach early adulthood.

    Still, not that many are capable of doing that and it’s the way we start on that path that will show us how we are going to succeed in the future. The future is, however, not that linear.

    If you are a regular reader of the blog, you may remember the word “defeat” popping up somewhere, being the main idea behind a post about communication efforts.

    I wrote it simply because, although you try, you never can foretell where your efforts are going to take you. You think you made the first step, persevered in taking even more steps, and now you are resting convinced that something will come of it. Well, nothing is certain.

    I don’t like disappointing my colleagues who strongly believe that everything they invest in will very quickly turn to their benefit. To name just one investing lane: conferences. To visit a conference, you must set aside some money. Even more money if you are planning to cross the border. That’s an adventure, really- the trip and the trying.

    So, all the aforesaid, the defeats, the hopes, the calculations (more often miscalculations), projections and uncertainties…they all come with doing business on your own, with no one coming to your aid. It’s an unpredictable venture.

    But what if from to time, thanks to keeping your eyes and ears open due to this uncertainty, you are offered to get back to being an employee?…That’s what happened to me some weeks ago. A German company, with a good business record, even one I had direct contact with while staying in Heidelberg for 3 weeks, aiming to recruit for their customer care center here in Zagreb.

    Some 8 years ago I was employed by a German company in the same position. So, this would be more of a step back than forward. I entertained such thoughts parallel to speaking with the headhunter. The pay was the last issue to be discussed. German companies (based on previous experience) tend to solicit your own expectations in terms of payment. You must say a figure and only then will they come forward with their commitments. My sum was higher. My argument was- the same job, 8 years later, 8 years of personal development on other jobs following, so the pay must be higher. I was mistaken. The pay didn’t change at all. It’s as if 8 years didn’t even come to pass, time had been frozen. It was only me who has gone through changes due to changing jobs and then deciding to go this path alone, by freelancing. I actually went to the interview with the plan to secure myself a half-time job, while freelancing in other parts of the day. The employer would have none of it. It was clear that he was after a person who would devote 8 or more hours of time to performing this, very often, dull job on the phone.

    On the one side, you have an employer you have to answer to, who pays you regularly, albeit not how much you asked, with days that will look more or less the same, depending on the issues you will have to discuss on the phone. On the other side is your small business, still in its’ youth and very delicate, with days that can sometimes be short on projects, quiet, causing you more unease and worry than a steadier job could ever cause, but with no one to answer to, but yourself (and the tax authority).

    This kind of conflict is something that will happen more than once and especially at the start of the freelancing career, when the foundations of the freelancing business have not been solidified yet. Then this may become the hardest freelancer’s dilemma, tempting you to return to the safer shore and leave the stormy sea.

     

    Mariann Makrai

    About Mariann Makrai

    Living in Croatia, of Hungarian background, MA in English and German. Translating, interpreting, copywriting...

    2 thoughts on “Freelancer’s dilemma -choosing between what’s safe and what’s not

    1. I have found myself in a similar position as yours and I have chosen the freelance path. In spite of the certainties offered by employment, I chose to believe in what I can create and accomplish, to give myself a chance and to not stop doing so until I would reach the edge of failure. Only then would I have been able to say I tried and didn’t succeed and only then would it be time to go back to an employed position. I figured I should give myself at least that – and I think you should too :) If you still believe in it, don’t give up on it

    2. Hi Mariann, thanks for sharing sharing your heart. It seems like you need a change in your plan. Sometimes we want to keep our freedom at any cost. But if the cost is too high, than I would question if that’s actual freedom. I would like to recommend you a good read: link to amazon.com

      I was a freelancer for almost 7 years before I accepted a full time job offer. 4 years and 2 awesome, but also very challenging, jobs later I managed to negotiate a part time contract that allows me to pursue private projects as well

      Put things in perspective. Whatever you decide, I wish you the best!

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