The darker side of freelance : my confessions

Posted by in BIZ + FREELANCING
The darker side of freelance : my confessions

The in-house jokes. The lunch table convo. The mid arvo coffee run.

Confession #1 : I miss my old corporate life.




These are just some of the things I miss about the traditional office environment.

As much as I complained when I was in the thick of it, the rhythm was soothing. There were peaks for troughs to the rolling weeks.

The sleepy commute on the Monday morning train with the 1000’s of others bound for their teeny tiny cubicle in the big city was cancelled out by the Friday pizza lunch with my little team of 4 and the Friday night drinks afterward which often lasted well past clocking off time.

Confession #2 : I get lonely sometimes.


It’s something I wasn’t expecting from the freelance life. This dark lil’ monster just kinda sneaked up on me. I thought that I was escaping the monotony of the corporate world by taking the leap and going it alone. But at times it feels just that. Alone.

There’s no office chit chat. A very obvious absence of colour and variety and community.

Over the last 6 months, I’ve been looking at ways to bring the aspects of my corporate life that I love and miss dearly into my freelance lifestyle. Here’s what I’ve found…


Social media is good but it’s not the same as the real thing.

I’m part of some amazing global networks with other freelancers, designers, entrepreneurs who are out in the world doing their thing and it has been the source of so much inspiration to me and I’ve made some great friends along the way.

But being in huge groups of thousands of people adds more to the noise and chaos for me rather than motivating.

In these digital networks, I’ve found that I gravitate more to the smaller, more intimate groups. It feels more real and authentic. Connecting with people who are either geographically close to me or in my industry has been what’s really helped me.

This is one of the reasons I launched The Rise of the FREEdomLANCER. I want to support and nurture other creative freelancers who are struggling to take their biz to the next level and who craved real 1:1 connection with a mentor and peers.

But sometimes I just wanna forget about work and have a real face-to-face catch up with my girlfriends.

I crave those quick half hours in a noisy cafe guzzling lattes and catchin’ up about what happened over the weekend.

At times I just wanna stop working and have a conversation with the people who really know me. Not editing what’s said for fear that it might be misinterpreted – as can so often happen on the www.

Confession #3 : I get bored talking ‘shop’ all the time.


Creating set work hours helps me switch off.

I know, it seems to go against the freelance lifestyle.

Why would we want to create a JOB for ourselves?! Shouldn’t we be able to work when the inspo hits?

In theory, yes but it’s not been my reality. Working in such an open and organic way made me feel anxious.

I needed some kind of container.

I now have 2 set ‘work days’ and set ‘evenings off’. The inbetween is more flexible. If I get a sudden bolt of lightning inspiration, I’ll hit the desk/ notepad / sketch book. Or just enjoy the space and digital quietening. THIS is the freedomlancer life for me.

Confession #4 : I thrive on routine.


Have you felt like this in your work life?

I’d love to hear you experience in the sometimes lonely world of freelance and entrepreneurship. I know I can’t be the only one!



  1. Jane

    Ahhh yes just what I feel at times. I miss the daily chit chat and bustle of work teams and outside of work I relish not always having to talk shop. Women are diverse and interesting.

    I am a life coach and trainer, and I still get in the arena face to face… I love the energy of training. I am also in the process of creating an on-line training program with live Q&A, a buddy support groups/mentors to allow for the connection.

    I love small intimate groups too so on a personal note I created a book club with six other women to laugh, connect and share a bottle of wine.

    Thanks for your confessions, and your are right, you are not the only one.

    • Vari

      Totally, Jane – there’s SO much more to talk about than JUST work! x

  2. Emma

    Hi Vari! I know what you mean… for me I find some connection through social media networks, but I also catch-up with other local business women roughly once a fortnight. Nothing compares to meeting face-to-face! I also make sure I go to at least one or two scheduled group activities a week: I’m part of a women’s singing group and I also take circus lessons. They get me away from my computer and doing something physical, they challenge and inspire me, and I’m spending time with other fun and inspiring women 🙂

    • Vari

      Oh I’ve love to do circus lessons!!! Sounds awesome, Emma! x

  3. Tasha

    Hi Vari,
    Thanks for sharing your confessions. I look forward to Thursdays, you are an inspiration!

    • Vari

      You’re so welcome, Tasha. xxx

  4. Clare Greig

    I. hear. you.

    We need to do some more Skype coffee dates on Thursday arvos.

    I miss the office goss sooo much 🙂

    • Vari

      Def, Clare! Let’s lock it in!

      V xx

  5. Inoace

    For me 1 2 and 3 are not true. I learned so much and expanded my knowledge to great deal after starting freelance. Due to some free time i was able to dust off old projects and in 1 years did 14 personal projects. Even made furniture for one whole room.

    About lonely. It may happen once in blue moon, but most of time I wonder in noon, where is my time. (yup it passes so fast). So far its a roller coaster ride. Hope it remains same in future.


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