The sooner you know about them, the better prepared you’ll be.
I’ve worked in a government job, and I’ve been self-employed.
I’ve been writing online for seven years before I could make a full-time career out of it.
As someone who’s ridden the incredible highs of the self-employed lifestyle and has surfed through the choppy waters of self-doubt, online hatred, and constantly second-guessing yourself, I can safely say that I’ve seen it all.
In this post, I’ve put together the three dark truths of being a digital creator that no one talks about.
The goal is to familiarize you with the pitfalls of following your passion. It’s not to discourage you but to make you aware of what lies ahead if you take this leap of faith.
Read on for some honest stories and how you can tackle the same.
1. Passion Doesn’t Last
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” — Confucius.
Age-old wisdom, but I disagree.
Because *love* is unreliable.
- You don’t wake up every day loving your job.
- Loving your job implies you’ll be motivated for it every day — which is impossible.
- Life becomes one-dimensional when you derive pleasure and money from the same thing.
Instead, even though you love your job and have made your passion into your profession, you need to stop relying on *love* alone.
Instead, treat it like a 9-to-5.
- Impose deadlines on yourself, so you don’t laze around wasting time.
- Have a system to get things done, so you rely on discipline, not motivation.
- Ensure there’s a balance between *fun* and *work* to eliminate burnout.
- Build a habit around it so you don’t only rely on *love.*
In the end, no matter how much you love your job, discipline will see you through, not passion.
2. The Hate Doesn’t Stop Coming
200+ videos on YouTube. 3000+ followers. 3500+ hours watched.
And even then, some people focus on the flaws in my looks rather than the quality of my content.
Welcome to the life of an online video creator.
No matter how much effort you put into your work or how hard you try to make sure everything you create is packed with value, there would still be people who point out physical flaws.
The screenshot is of a comment I received on a recent video. Notice how the person has emphasized *dentist* and added emojis to highlight his point.
How does this make me feel?
To be honest, this doesn’t change anything.
I’ve been writing online since 2014. Since then, I’ve seen the online world in its ugliest form. My inbox has gotten everything from rape/death threats to unsolicited d*ck pics.
If I let the hate affect me, I’d have stopped creating online years ago.
But if I’ve learned one thing in all these years, it’s this: if you let the hate from internet trolls suppress your voice, you’re doing injustice to the hundreds of thousands of people whose lives can be impacted by your content.
Growing a thick skin is hard, but it’s also one of the most essential things you need to learn as an online creator.
3. The Struggle For Balance Is Real
My friend and I recently took a trip because our schedules as freelancers had been way too hectic over the past few months.
After returning from the trip, she texted me that her brain wasn’t ready for work. So all she did was reply to some emails, schedule a few posts, and she was done.
I could relate because I’d done the same.
I’d scheduled content ahead of the week-long trip. And after returning, it took me about a week to get back into rhythm.
This got me thinking about the two sides of the coin of life as a freelancer.
On the one hand, how will we upskill and build new products if we just do the bare minimum and go on vacations?
But on the other hand, when will we enjoy life if we only work, work, and work? We won’t be young and energetic forever. If we don’t make the most of what we have now, won’t we be filled with regrets later on?
This is a dilemma I’m dealing with as a freelancer. I know several of my friends face the same as well.
I wish we had some solution to it. But right now, I know the struggle to find balance is real. I’m taking things one day at a time and following my heart. When I feel like working, I put in my hundred percent. And when my soul desires a break, I take time off to nurture my creativity and give my thinking mind a break.
This has worked well for me so far. There isn’t any “real” balance, but at least I get things done on time, and I’m not burnt out. That sure counts for a win, doesn’t it?
What are your thoughts on finding the ideal “balance” as a self-employed person? Do let me know in the comments.