Any freelancer who thinks they are setting their own hours is (in my opinion) only fooling themselves! We really love to think that we make our own hours, decide which days to take off and work at our own leisure. However, when was the last time you worked without a deadline? When was the last time that your pay didn’t depend on your meeting a deadline? Are all of your clients in exactly the same time zone that you are?
Content mills even have deadlines
Even if you are one of the hundreds of writers who depend on content mills for work, there is almost always a deadline associated with the work. Therefore, if you cannot meet the deadline you cannot accept the work. Some deadlines are extended, for example, I have a client who regularly sets deadlines of 3-5 days on a quick article. However, I still have to make time during those days to actually finish the work.
Clients assigning “bulk” work
If you are one of the freelance writers who are fortunate enough to have clients who provide you with ongoing work in monthly increments, there are still some guidelines they provide. Some may require a single blog post a day, others a certain number in a week or in a month. Regardless of how the work is assigned, you still have to meet a deadline! Just by virtue of having a deadline, you are not making your own hours. The further away your client is, the more likely you are to have to adjust your schedule to accommodate the work.
Finding new assignments
If you are like most freelancers, chances are you are spending a portion of your time seeking new clients. If not, you are going to run out of work at some point! Let’s face it, most of us spend at least a portion of every day or week searching for new opportunities. Consider how much time you spend updating your portfolio, scouring job boards or promoting your work. These are all “requirements” of freelancing. It might be “fun” to do this on the weekend, but let’s face it, we can’t really do it on our own schedule.
The truth of the matter is that while you may think you are setting your own hours, no work means no pay. Many freelancers I’d be willing to bet work far more than 40 hours a week and may get paid for 30 at best. So sure, you may be able to decide when you want a day off but remember if you take that day off, you are going to have ZERO earnings for that day. Outside forces set your hours, you really don’t.