Dear Disgruntled Freelancer,

Being self-employed is hard. And it’s difficult to feel good about a tough situation, whatever the reason is. But here’s the thing: Your situation can only get the best of you if you let it.your situation can only get the best of you if you let it.

No one’s life is perfect. Not even the 77% of freelancers who are optimistic about their business in the next year. They still have to deal with finding clients in a an economic environment that is far from recession proof, and benefits that our traditional counterparts enjoy like 401Ks or flexible spending accounts are still hard to come by for most of the independent workforce.

So how can you be optimistic in the midst of your challenges?

It might sound cliched, but outlook truly does determine outcome. It becomes much more difficult to envision solutions if all you can see are the problems. The flexibility that we have been blessed with is a great gift, but it can only be fully appreciated if it’s used effectively. We sometimes forget the the freelance life has two major governing principles: 1) there are no set rules that dictate how we work and live, and 2) success as an independent worker takes lots of work.

It’s true that we have to pay attention to aspects of our professional lives that the traditionally employed never have to worry about, but the trade-off is a shorter work week and a substantially higher salary for most of us ($68,000 per year for the average freelancer vs $46,000 the normal worker). If this isn’t your experience, you can change it! Whether that means expanding your network, better budgeting or simply figuring out some techniques for staying cool under pressure.

It doesn’t matter if your freelance career started due to choice or circumstance. It’s about making choices that will help you achieve your goals. And what should those goals be? To be rich? To have as much free time as possible? It’s really up to you. Don’t rely on your peers, neighbors or even your relatives to help you figure it out what will make you happy. The the best way to remain miserable is to chase someone else’s definition of happiness.The the best way to remain miserable is to chase someone else’s definition of happiness. And what if your definition of happiness doesn’t work out? No one said you couldn’t change your mind!

Whatever you do, be proud of your efforts! Focusing on not meeting your own expectations will never help achieve your goals. Nobody said that you have to continue to down a path that isn’t sustainable or fulfilling. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Freelancers have total control of their professional lives. This means when something isn’t working, we can make the changes we need without waiting on a green light from anyone else. See if your traditionally employed colleagues can make the same claims!

With love,

Determined Freelancer

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it” - Charles R. Swindoll