Murphy’s Laws of Freelancing

Posted: August 30th, 2010

Murphy’s Laws apply to all aspects of life and work. When you think about though, weren’t they made especially for freelancing? For example…

If anything can go wrong in freelancing, it will. You’ll survive though. Maybe.

Work always comes at you when you are busiest. When you are not busy at all, lots of luck to you.

As a freelancer, you are doomed to repeat history no matter how much of it you learn in advance.

Just wing it. No one will notice.

Your client told you X but he really meant Y.

You told your client X, but he really heard Y.

You really hope to earn X dollars. You really earn X – Y dollars where Y is the time in hours you spend on Twitter.

You will develop a debilitating addiction to coffee and/or cigarettes. Luckily no one will notice the tremors since you never leave the house.

Your client is willing to pay up to 110% more than what you actually charging him.

The amount of time you spend writing an estimate is inversely proportional to the likelihood that you will actually get the project.

Vacation is solely defined as the time you spend NOT working (i.e. eating, sleeping). Commonly mistaken for “trip” which must be some word in German or something.

10 Random Thoughts On Why My Freelancing Career Is As Weird As Yours

Posted: August 11th, 2010

Photo by Bigandyherd (Flickr)

Photo by Bigandyherd (Flickr)

I’ve been freelancing for just over 8 years now. While I never dreamed or planned on being a freelancer, there is certainly no way I’ll ever go back to traditional employment. Looking back on those eight years, though, makes me think what a long strange trip it’s been through ten random thoughts:

  • I graduated with a degree in Psychology, but started freelancing doing web programming with no experience. I even write what you see here after many past failures in writing. Uhm, what just happened?
  • My most valued possesions are now whittled down to just a computer, Wifi, PayPal account, passport, and discipline. Sunlight, too, but I don’t really own that.
  • Of all my clients, who are located in Spain, USA, Canada, Australia and Sweden, I haven’t met 93% of them face-to-face.
  • Of those remaining 7% of clients, all except one live in the same city. I actually travelled 5266 miles once to see that last one. Not even the one in Australia either.
  • Out of those who I haven’t met personally, I can recognize 22% through their voice, YouTube video, photo in Facebook or a Gravatar. Who knew a “gravatar” would become a univeral means of recognition?
  • Probably my worst occupational hazard has been a severe addiction to caffeine and Swedish tobacco pouches (a.k.a. “snus”).
  • Definitely my worst occupational hazard… current withdrawals from drastically cutting back on each.
  • All of these will happen at least once in your career: You get stiffed on a payment, your equipment gets lost/stolen/damaged/eaten, you’ll survive a week on a $10 food budget (borrowed from a friend).
  • Then again, the following will also happen at least once too: You’ll find a cash cow of a client (through pure luck), you’ll truly enjoy that first vacation you take and you’ll also truly savor those meals when you begin to eat out again.
  • Then there is the discovery of one of Murphy’s Law of Freelancing: If there ever is a point when you are so desperate for work, that you consider the sex trade, it will be immediately followed by a period of so much work that you won’t be able to stop complaining about it.