So it’s official, I’ve completed my first full month of freelancing and it’s been a really eye-opening and humbling experience. The last time I relied on freelancing for my income was when I was 19 and at university, and even then I had a part time bar and retail job to fall back on if I needed to.
I think throwing myself in the deep end and moving to the other side of the world hasn’t done my mental health the world of good, but it’s taken me out of my comfort zone and that’s a good sign in my eyes. Being ‘comfortable’ is a weird place to be, and I don’t achieve much when I’m in that state of mind. Since arriving here so many situations have arisen (nearly getting thrown out of our accommodation, realising that cheese is $15, not having a car, hustling for WiFi constantly) and those have bothered me more than working has.
This is weird for me because I’m so used to being stressed about work, thinking about the next deal coming in (in recruitment) or when I had a team, making sure that they were happy and that I wasn’t failing as a leader.
I’ve quickly realised that the freelancing and working with a really small pool of clients has kept me grounded and taken away from the other stresses, rather than adding to it. When I went away on a road trip for 3 days, none of them batted an eyelid. When I was jet-lagged and slept solidly for nearly 2 days, it didn’t affect anything. It’s given me a lot of flexibility in my first month as a freelancer and my first few weeks in Australia and I’ve been able to say ‘yes’ to doing practically everything. I’m not living like royalty by any means, but having cash flow means that I don’t have to budget too heavily.
One thing I do want to highlight, though, is that I’m earning peanuts in comparison to what I did in recruitment. I prepared to earn at least 70% less in my first year, so I came out here with savings to cover my costs back home (financed car, bills etc) and savings that would cover me for three months worth of accommodation if all my clients suddenly dropped me. That does make things easier but the first thing I noticed when I landed is that Australia is expensive. In my first two weeks I’d spent close to £700, not including accommodation.
My next stop is Bali, where I will be settling in the next two weeks for around a month, before then flying to Vietnam.