About Freelancing & Living On Benefits

If you’re establishing yourself as a writer, photographer or freelancer, and you’re relying on someone or some entity for financial support, don’t let pride, criticism, or anything else cloud your view.

The resources you use to get where you want to go are a means to an end. They don’t define who you are, so don’t be too anxious to cut them off.

Some years ago, one of my friends told me her boss offered her a 50-cent an hour raise. Instead, she asked her boss to give her only 35 cents.

That extra 15 cents an hour would have added $24 a month to her gross income. So, in real terms, we’re talking about maybe bringing home an extra $5 a week.

Meanwhile, she would have lost over $800 in daycare assistance.

Obviously, that’s not the type of financial decision you brag about at parties. But at the end of the day, it was a smart one.

Even if she wanted to take the so-called high road, it wasn’t feasible because she didn’t have the $800 to cover daycare, which she needed in order to keep her job.

Read Also: 6 Tax Mistakes Freelancers Should Avoid

A lot of people wouldn’t have made that decision, even though not making it would create a financial crisis.

Many people who are clawing their way up through lower and middle income brackets sort of resent assistance.

Many want to eliminate all sources of support as soon as possible.

They get overly anxious to distance themselves from help.

Usually, this is either because they want to show that they’re not that type who is living off the system or they want to show family, friends, or lovers that they can be independent.

Most people won’t tell you this…

But I will.

If you have financial support or assistance, and you’re trying to develop a writing career or a freelance business, appreciate that support.

View what you get as resources for a greater cause, like a grant, financial aid or a seed investment.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s alimony, child support, parental support, or government benefits.

It doesn’t matter if it’s the rent-free opportunity to live in a family member’s basement.

Don’t listen to all the people who make it seem shameful to use resources that are available to you when you’re trying to get ahead.

Cutting a lifeline to prove you can stand on your own is in the same reckless category as keeping up with the Joneses. But instead of making a point by buying new things, you try to make a point by proving your financial independence.

You’re so eager to say, See I told you I ‘m a writer. I told you I could do it, that you make risky, if not harmful, financial decisions.

Related: Are You Scared To Say You’re A  Writer?

Get Your Mind Right

As a freelancer, as an entrepreneur, it’s very important to ALWAYS consider the financial side of things.

Some will probably say I’m telling you to cling to your lifeline because I’m encouraging you to second-guess yourself. Or because deep down I think you’re probably going to fail.

That’s not true. It’s not even approaching the truth.

And it’s not a level-headed view.

I’m telling you this because one of the biggest financial mistakes people make is allowing emotions to guide their decisions.

I’m telling you this because there’s no need to put yourself at risk of financial hardship just to prove you can eat off of your hustle.

Proving your parents, friends, or exes wrong is not more important than security and a stable flow of financial resources.

And, trying to evade political and social stereotypes is even less important.

If you’ve chosen a path and it’s leading you to success, there will be plenty of time to bask in your glory and flaunt your financial independence.

But if you’re on a path, and you still have some distance to go, you won’t have to swallow your pride to turn around and ask for help a second or third time, if you take advantage of resources while you have them.

I’m not telling you to cling to your food, housing, or daycare assistance forever.

I’m not telling you to indefinitely delay getting remarried for the sake of alimony, or to make your parents’ basement your permanent residence.

What I’m saying is to make your moves wisely, not anxiously.

Get your footing. Build a financial cushion. Create a solid business strategy. And give yourself time to experience the ups and downs because they will come.

Also Read: The Types of Lovers A Creator Shouldn’t Live With