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A Day in the Life of a Freelancer

successful woman juggling a lot of work

Okay, let's start with this AI image I generated for kicks, shall we. Can we just take a moment to devour all that is perfect with this? I mean, it's really actually not too far off from the way my daily life feels, sans the bag of... I'm guessing howler monkey?... on the desktop. There's a lot going on here and yeah, this is pretty much what the day feels like. What the hell is that thing on the desk?! Oh wow... my hands have some exorcism-worthy contortion going on, too.

ANYhoo, as a business owner / freelancer / one-woman-show, the day can, and usually does, get out of hand, ball pit balls and all, really fast. Let's take a look at what any given day can look like:

3:45AM-4AM: Kick it all off. This usually entails a lot of small feet tapping their way into the dark to go the bathroom before finding a bed to doze off in again. Another great thing about having dogs? Once they're on your schedule, they are ON YOUR SCHEDULE. And that means if you feel like just a couple more minutes of sleep would be wonderful, their bladders are gonna let you know otherwise.

4:15-8:30AM: Work. Get caught up on the work from the night before. Whip up any small projects to get them out of your face and feel accomplished. Yay! Progress! Create an ecommerce store for a client, complete with product designs. Transform a tired website into something fabulous. Create social content for another client. Drink enough Coke Zero to blind a monkey. Repeat. It's different every day because the projects I work on are different every day and it's one of the things I actually adore about my work. Because we've all read the Shining... monotony kills.

8:30AM-9:30AM: Breakfast for the human child. Meds (having infirm or elderly animals comes with a lot of meds) & PB breakfast for the pups. Tuna and/or wet food for the cats and insulin injection for Gracy. Check Slack and Asana. Emails. Back to projects. Look at notes for upcoming calls. Prepare proposals for calls.

9:30AM-11:00AM: Work. Calls. Work while taking calls. Texts from clients. Fixing domain issues and backend problems on demand. Work while replying to new client requests. More Coke Zero. Snarf down a wheat saltine or 4. Work. Get the human child set with her learning. Work. Snacks for human child. Dogs potty break. Treats handed out. Work.

11:00AM-3PM: Science experiments. Explaining the meaning of life. Quick Roblox game with child. Lunch for child consisting of something nutritious and Hot Fries. Work. New client onboarding calls. Circling back on emails. Check Slack & Asana. Work. Wrapping up projects.

3PM-6PM: Outside play for a bit to stretch and unwind, run off some steam with the child. More learning stuff. Back to work. Someone's having a problem with their email servers. Another client needs to clean up their social feed. A client texts frantic because they don't know their password for Instagram. Follow up emails. Client texts. Invoices sent for work done. Pay any bills. Make dinner, or something that looks like dinner. Work while filibustering with the child about the reason and importance of vegetables. Work. Drink some soup. Text client that emails have been restored and back online.

6PM-9PM: A maelstrom of everything. Baths. Dinners. Pet meds. Work. Client proposals. Follow up emails. Scheduling. Plans for learning the next day based off of interest shown today. Work. Texts. Nintendo Switch or Roblox, or both. Work. Collecting stock images for next projects. Organizing the next day's workflow. Email client about info for site. Laying out website wireframes. Scheduling email campaigns. Talk with Mom. Start getting everyone ready for bed. Because it takes 3 hours. Texting brainstorm with a client about a new way to boost sales and/or new product line and/or whether or not they should setup an ecom shop or apply for a grant.

9PM-11PM: Wind down. Get the house nestled. Actually get everyone asleep by midnight. Doze off trying to read an actual book.

I can already hear those wonderfully heady folks scoffing, "Work smarter, not harder." And while that gem is worth its weight in gold, it really doesn't apply when you've got clients who need your help to keep their businesses (and lifeblood) going. It doesn't really equate when you have living things dependent on you and your income. And no, I'm not complaining. I'm lucky I get to do what I (mostly) love. I'm simply putting this out there as a little insight into what I assume a lot of freelancers, solopreneurs and whatever catchy title the kids are using today go through. So if you find yourself in need of hiring a freelancer, a writer, a designer, a content creator, whatever, and you wonder why it took them 25 minutes to text you back? Chances are good they are battling a project and wishing they could take a text break to respond. Give a little leeway. Take a breath. Relax. We're (well, most of us. I'm looking at you Tim) are doing the best we can. Everything will get done. Pinky promise.


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