Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Freelancing stress

Some stress has always been a part of freelancing and will likely always be a part of freelancing. Here are some of the usual suspects that cause freelancers to experience stress:
  • Project Deadlines (crunch time)
  • Finances (or lack thereof)
  • Finding Work (also known as the feast or famine cycle)
  • Illness (sometimes caused by stress)
To be honest, many of these stressors exist for non-freelancers too. For example, non-freelancers may face project deadlines, have trouble with their finances, or get sick. Everyone, whether they are freelancing or not, has to deal with some stress in life.
The usual suspects have been stressing us out for a long time and aren’t likely to go away any time soon.

The New Players

In the past year, or so, global factors have emerged that may cause freelancers to experience additional stress that they may not have experienced in the past.
  • The Economy. It’s no secret that the global economy is floundering. The effects of a weakened economy can be felt in the freelance marketplace. I am seeing more and more “freelancers” state that they have been forced to turn to freelancing after losing a traditional job. (I hate to think of someone being “forced” to become a freelancer if they don’t really want that lifestyle for themselves.) A weakened economy also means more freelancers competing for fewer opportunities.
  • The Technology. Technology is changing more rapidly than ever before. Not only are there constantly new software tools a freelancer must learn to use and master, but also new hardware and new platforms as well. In fact, things are changing so rapidly that it is nearly impossible to keep up. Plus, we are constantly being bombarded with information that we can’t use and don’t need and it takes time to filter through everything we are exposed to.
  • The Social Clutter. One of the greatest relational changes that humankind has faced has occurred in the past ten years. I’m talking about social media. Before social media, must adults were lucky if they met two dozen new people in a year. Maybe, if they really worked at it, they could meet three dozen new people in a year’s time. Suddenly, through social media magic, all of us are getting to “know” not dozens, but possibly hundreds of new “friends” each year from all over the world. This sudden access to the multitudes has stretched and strained what friendship really means. Source: