14 Reasons why I would suck at freelancing


my friend (I use that term very loosely) Patrick at Lintscreen wrote a really nice article on 19 Tips for Successful Freelancing. http://thelintscreen.com/2010/03/02/19-tips-for-successful-freelancing/

At about the same time I read a newsletter for a business friend (Ralph Cutcher) who wrote about how a lot of laid off (“people not working”) people immediately start thinking about consulting as a gig (typically about the time they receive their 100th emails saying “gosh, you were imminently qualified and after careful consideration and examining your experience with a monocle and a magnifying glass we have decided to pursue another less imminently qualified candidate.”)


I appreciated what both of them wrote.

Mostly because I now know that I would absolutely suck at freelancing (although I do believe that many people look at freelancing as the path of easiest income and a lot easier to do than they think).


Being able to dip into the mind of an entrepreneur (they have freelance like characteristics)  and help them figure out how to help them is easy (assuming that dipping into the minds of people is something you are good at).

But ACTING like them just ain’t that easy (unless you have the same wacky view on life and business).

Okay. This freelancing thing.

Looking at Patrick’s tips there are a bunch of things I can do. I can do the “Trojan Horse” strategy. I can shut my cakehole. I can do a variety and aspects of all the things Patrick suggests on being a successful freelancer.


I would suck at freelancing. No ifs, and or buts.

I would rather kick myself in the balls then ask my friends or people I know for help.

How do I know this?

The few times I have even asked for a small thing (say … maybe hint that I would love if someone wrote something about me) I feel like I have taken a good shot to the ole groin area.

Geez. If my entire career and success would be dependent upon networking and pimping my capabilities out to a network of people I know I would be huddled over in a fetal position groaning in pain 24-7.

There may be an entrepreneurial voice inside of me that wants to be free of ‘the man’ but it is probably whispering because common sense is shouting “you would suck at freelancing!”

Anyway. As Mr. Scullin (Pat to his enemies) says in his tips on freelancing  “not everyone is great for freelancing.” Here are the top 5 reasons I would suck (using his 14 as a base):

Consult with a good accountant. I don’t want to run my own business … that is what a CFO is for (or your financial gurus).

I understand money. I know how to set pricing. I know how to manage a business profitably.

I just don’t want to do this. I don’t like doing this.

I know the essentials of keeping books, expenses, what’s deductible and what isn’t. It’s not that difficult. I just hate it (see Pat’s last point on freelancing … enjoy yourself or find something else).

When I was an assistant account executive in an ad agency and had to do billing I did it on Sundays and got it out early and with no mistakes. I did this for several reasons:

–          I wanted to show my bosses I could handle details

–          I wanted to make sure I got it right so I never had to go back any other day of the week to do this kind of crap

–          I didn’t want to invest time when I could be doing something else in the workplace (things I liked doing)

–          I only did it right to get it off my responsibility plate as soon as I possibly could.

Find your happy place. My happiest place is in an office building surrounded by like minded people (ok. other people working). I can certainly sit down at my computer at home (and I do) and write and think but mostly my out of office thinking is done when I run (so it is critical that there is a pad or my blackberry very near when I finish).

So maybe that is my office ‘annex.’

An office at home? I would rather have a big bar.

Plug in and activate your network/act like a shark. I could do the fun artsy smart insightful business cards. And I would probably overspend doing something cool because I have worked at enough places to see how an uncool business cards reflects badly … but then I would happen to have a box or two of really cool business cards (and I don’t play pinochle so they couldn’t even be used for that).

I would rather give myself paper cuts with the beautiful creative nifty business cards than hand them out. While I am definitely a low level hyper personality pimpin’ ain’t my deal.

Now. If I could be a landshark? That would be cool.

Get to know the freelance network. Wow. Getting to know them I guess that means they would have to get to know me.

Yikes. Danger, Will Robinson, Danger. This would be a really bad idea for me.

In general I have slammed the business consulting field pretty consistently on my site. I think I would just have to really be a lone shark and we are already clear per the last point I cannot act like a shark.

Get social. The closest I can get business and social is my site. So. I am okay with having a presence so that people know about you and what you do, in case they need you to do what you do. (as Patrick suggests)

But. If I am going to be social with my network of friends/acquaintances it is difficult for me to mix in business. I will talk ‘shop’ with anyone at anytime.

But being social work wise (you know like attending those meet & greet events and crap like that) is like attending the girls field hockey game in high school (you only did it if you were dating one).

So. Patrick’s last tip is a great one.

While 1 thru 13 are really really practical. And, honestly, most people can do 1 through 13 if they suck it up and do it (because unfortunately free lancing is not like building a rocket from scratch). It comes down to how much you want to suck it up.

And with that …

Enjoy yourself or do something else.

Kind of good advice for anything not just freelancing.

If you want to give freelancing a shot, check Patrick’s list out.

It definitely sets you down the path to success.

If anything I wrote resonates with you, well, reconsider your desire to freelance.

Written by Bruce