When I tell people that I’m a social media manager and they ask what it entails, I like to lead with: “I basically never get dressed.” It’s true. I work in my pajamas, day in and day out. My commute consists of walking from my bedroom to my kitchen to my bathroom and back. It’s pretty sweet. But because of this, people often assume I don’t work hard. Ask any freelancer, and they’ll tell you the same thing. The truth is, my days are usually somewhere between 10-14 hours long, filled with phone meetings, dealing with social media outages, creating content in design programs, etc. I would like to shed some light on the growing industry of freelancers and why you shouldn’t knock it ‘til you try it.
More and more people are attempting to get jobs that they can do from home. Busy moms want part-time work while their little ones sleep, young men and women just leaving college are trying to stick their toes in the workforce water, and people who are too young to retire but too tired for a heavy commute still want to make use of their talents. For many, like myself, our jobs didn’t exist a decade or so ago. Who ever heard of advertising on social media in 2002? #Nobody. With the changing times come new jobs: website managers, content writers, resume editors, and of course, social media managers. We’re juggling several clients at once, all of whom have their own set of needs and time frames, and we’re usually doing it all alone. When you work in an office, you can lean on a coworker for assistance…my coworker is my pillow, and she’s not much help when it comes to Twitter. (She is great for naps though!)
To be frank, I’m still figuring it out. I started my social media company in January 2015, and 4+ years later, I still find myself wondering if I’m doing everything right. Being a freelancer means figuring out your own boundaries, when you can say no, and how many times you can say yes. I don’t clock in at 9 and out at 5, I don’t take a lunch break stroll through the park, and oftentimes I find myself answering texts way too close to midnight! I’m fortunate to have great clients—most of whom are small business owners themselves and understand what it means to be making your own way—but I still find myself explaining to people on the outside that “yes, I do have a real job,” and I’m not the only one.
It’s to this end that I find it important to celebrate other freelancers. There’s a network of us out there, and we tend to have each other’s backs in a really inclusive way. I’ll recommend people whenever I can, and I’ve gotten countless calls where I’m met with “I got your name from….” We get that it’s not easy and that we’re all doing our best. There’s been a social media movement called #CommunityOverCompetition, and I’ve really taken it to heart. You’ll never get where you want to be by stepping on other people in your industry. Wash their backs and they’ll wash yours.
I love what I do. I love getting texts from my clients who are thrilled with how cohesive their Instagram looks, or who are overjoyed with how many people liked their Facebook post. I love the convenience of being able to play with my niece and nephew or to get my errands done during the day because I’m not on a “clock”. I love running my own business…and I love doing it in my pajamas!