Reality Check: 5 Myths About Freelancing

Last Updated May 27, 2011 9:23 AM EDT

Freelancing has many advantages over a 9-5 job: Working in comfy clothes, zero commute, easy vacation planning, and no boss. Sounds good, right? It is -- for the most part. I've enjoyed freelancing for several years.

Along the way, I've realized some things weren't necessarily true about the freelance life. Fellow freelancers, please let me know if you agree/disagree with these five myths about freelancing.

1. You Don't Have to Answer to Anyone Yes, you can say au revoir to a 9-5 boss, and you can certainly have a flexible schedule that works for you. But when I was on staff, I had two or three editors to whom I reported. Now I work with dozens of editors and clients each year, all with different expectations, requirements, and preferences.

2. Freelancing Means A More Laid Back Life Sure, you can work less if you freelance -- if you hate making money. I happen to enjoy it, so I try to work as much as I can. Being relatively busy all the time is the freelancer's dream, but feast or famine is much more familiar.

3. Two Words: Summer Fridays There is some truth to this -- yes, you can take time off with the caveat stated in #2. But deadlines don't care if Friday is sunny and your local bar is having half price frozen margaritas. I work weekends like it's my job. Because, well, it is. That said, I often do take a half day Friday and pick up where I left off on Saturday or Sunday.

4. No More Making Small Talk When you leave the office life, you are saved from the Glee/Office/HIMYM coffee break-room banter. But that doesn't mean introverts should flock to freelance. In fact, working for yourself requires regular networking and keeping constant conversations going with potential clients.

5. Say Goodbye to Paperwork In a large office, you might be doing more corporate paper-shuffling, but when you're self-employed, invoicing and contracts are still a large part of the job (again, if you prefer to be paid for your efforts). Freelancers learn to balance hustling for new clients and opportunities with following up on payments for previous projects.

Freelancers: Do you agree with these myths? Please sign in below and share yours.
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    Amy Levin-Epstein is a freelance writer who has been published in dozens of magazines (including Glamour, Self and Redbook), websites (including AOLHealth.com, Babble.com and Details.com) and newspapers (including The New York Post and the Boston Globe). To read more of her writing, visit AmyLevinEpstein.com.

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