Oh, Saskia. Dear tryer. Where to begin…
I feel like I owe you a letter of appreciation; a moment to stop and re-cap on how far you’ve come. On how hard you’ve worked, and how much you’ve achieved. But it’s dawning on me… committing to the concept is easier than making a start. It’s hard to open up and give yourself a pat on the back when there are areas of this freelance life you struggle to be vocal about.
Everyone knows you adore your set-up; it’s plain to see. You’re not a bragger, but you rarely complain. Almost daily you pray thanks with the heart-bursting-whisper: “I love my life”. And others can feel your gratitude just by being in your presence.
But with great contentment comes a mix of both misunderstanding and jealousy. However unintentional. From strangers to relatives. You get used to the unsettling reactions when you explain that you’ve gone against the ‘norm’. The puzzled expressions and fear: “How do you make a living then?”, “Aren’t you going to get a real job?” The hushed ‘I-wish-we-could-do-that’ — which triggers instant anxiety and guilt. The curious eyes. And the nausea at the prospect that others thinks you must be SUCH a success. You’re supporting two children and a stay-at-home dad, after all…
You know the truth.
It’s hard to open up and give yourself a pat on the back when there are areas of this freelance life you struggle to be vocal about.
This business path is not one of pure fortune and ease. It’s not ‘so out of reach’ for everyone else. Despite how it may seem. Far from it.
Yes, you have been lucky. You’re right to be ever grateful for the huge family support of recent years (emotional and financial). You’re right to be grateful for the lifesaving UK tax credit system. But with this letter I want you to finally stop and recognise your part, Saskia. This business journey has been one of sacrifice, perseverance, and faith too. For the whole family.
When you set out as a freelancer 8 years ago, I know it wasn’t your dream. Yep, we know there’s a whole other story there. Wannabe pop star. No. Joke. In fact, if you knew that you’d still be copywriting you’d be shocked. If you knew that you’d still be pretty much scrimping and saving like a student — you’d be gutted. Without the context of your financial reality, you’d probably count yourself an all-out failure. But thankfully, your dream changed.
More than anything in the world, you wanted babies. You wanted to be with them. And you wanted the man you love to be with them too. All the time. A close, loving, fun-filled family life was your dream. And you are living it.
You. You are living your dream.
Freelancing isn’t just about the money you make; it’s about the life you make. And for the life you’re making, you should be proud.
Of course, there are hard days. Of course, you want more. Don’t be ashamed about that. There’s a bigger plan for you and it relies on you wanting more, no matter how happy you are. I’m excited about your new business angle. There’s something in it! And you know you’ll enjoy working for clients who ‘get’ you and your family-loving life. Relax. You’re doing great with it.
Any sort of business is hard around a new baby, let alone trying to get a new idea off the ground. Oh, and you’ve no need to feel embarrassed that it’s business idea five-hundred-and-ten either… or what feels like it!
It’s time you DO earn more money.
It’s time you DO get yourself more financially stable.
You’ve got the skills. You just need the guts to charge more for them.
Before that, though, it’s time that you celebrate where you are. And what you’ve already achieved. Remember:
Freelancing isn’t just about the money you make; it’s about the life you make. And for the life you’re making, you should be proud. No matter how lucky you feel. You have chosen to walk this path.
Photograph by Saskia Crawley.
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