Whether it is by choice or circumstances that your partner picks up freelancing as a form of occupation, it is not necessary a bad thing.
It can be a temporary pit stop in between jobs or a break with substantial income. It can also be a fulfilling full-time work where he eventually makes his name reputable in the freelancing world. However, as a fellow freelancer, I can tell you it is an uphill path to be a successful freelancer. Heck, to even earn a decent living incoming every week is so hard. For every 10 freelancers I know, 9 of them gave up and didn’t think that it is a lucrative career. It can be but it will take a lot of determination. commitment and luck.
Meanwhile, it is up to you, as the significant half to support his decision and share his anguish.
Don’t Compare Salary
You can start by not comparing how much you earn and how much he brings to the table. Don’t even bring up how much he used to earn at his last job. If he is just getting his feet wet at freelancing, he probably won’t see a dime for weeks to come. It is normal and natural as he needs time to build up his profile and reputation as well as to find his clients. If he is good enough, he will earn a decent salary even surpass his previous income but like all good soups, it takes time.
Understand and Appreciate
As a spouse, it can be frustrating and perhaps anxious if your financial situation is unstable. Try to give him time and space. He might not be working at a regular job but freelancing has its ups and down. Listening helps a lot even though you might not understand. Be a positive influence on him and encourage him to pursue from different angles. I had a hard time finding clients with one of the freelancing platforms when I first started out, and my husband suggested a list of freelancing websites for me to try.
Tough Times Ahead
I didn’t give up when I hit some rough patches because I know my the other half is there to support me whenever I need a listening ear. He was there to celebrate with me when I got my first client. He was there, hearing my frustrations when I had difficult demanding clients. He was there ready with the champagne when I hit my first 5 digit earnings. He was there holding me while I sob my heart out when one of my clients refused to pay me despite the work I have done.
Have a baby at home? Piling laundry? Screaming active kids? Offer to take the children out for a stroll while he works on his projects. Allow him peace and quiet while he manages his time around his work. Offer to help out his share of the housework. Encourage the family to support him as well, get them to understand the nature of his work.
Allow Him To Be Flexible
Whether it is his time or his attention, being a freelancer means he is flexible. He might not be able to work on his projects while you are at work or his assignments require him to work a few hours into the weekend. Especially when he is starting out, he will need to find a balance between work and family / personal time. Help him to strike that balance.
No Guilt Trips
Never guilt someone or use emotional blackmail on him. He probably is already berating himself for not spending enough quality time with you, you don’t have to add salt to the wound. When I was starting out as a freelancing, I did feel guilty for not paying my due shares in the family expenses or contribute more time towards my family but once, my freelancing career takes off, I begin to focus more on spending quality time with them.
Eventually, freelancing can lead to something else. He might have an upsurge demand for his skills (yup, he is that good!) that he needs to set up his own business. Or freelancing can cultivate a new zest for learning and add on exposure and experiences to his resume. It is a good thing and your loved one can only benefit and grow stronger with your support and care.
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