5 Important Lessons I Learned After a Year of Freelancing in the Netherlands

5 Important Lessons I Learned After a Year of Freelancing in the Netherlands

Freelancing was something I never thought I would do as my primary job. Over the years, I have taken various projects here and there, but maybe a few projects every few months, if that. But sometimes, life gives you a choice about your future, and you must make a monumental decision. That’s what happened to me in the spring of 2021. I had to choose whether to work for someone or work for myself on my own terms.

My company (remote job: based in NYC) concluded that they wanted everyone in the office. Given that I lived in the Netherlands, there was no way that was going to happen. So I was faced with a choice, work for a company or follow my passion and work for myself. I applied for jobs, went to interviews, and even got a job offer. But when it came down to it, I couldn’t bear to go back to work full-time or part-time in an office with a daily commute.

And Soreh Writes Was Born

I had already taken writing and editing projects over the years. This blog was a year old, and a lot more people than I expected were reading it. So my Dutch partner Kevin and I discussed what I really wanted to do. The truth is that writing and editing have been my passion for years. It was time to face the music and do what I wanted full-time. With him by my side, helping me every step of the way, I opened my company Soreh Writes, on July 4th, 2021. Here is what I learned over the last year.

1. No Just Means Not Now

Probably the most challenging part of freelancing is when people say no. They say no because they don’t have the budget, my writing style was different from what they were looking for, they already found someone else, or for many other reasons. But no just means not now. I’ve had clients say no for one reason or another, and then months later, they hired me for a project. So I learned to follow up with people every so often and connect with everyone on LinkedIn to remind them that I exist and am eager to work.

2. Not Everything Is About Money

Sometimes people don’t have the budget to pay me my asking price. Other times people prefer to hire people willing to work for a lot less. But it is not always about the money. I have learned sometimes to negotiate my rates for various reasons.

For example, usually, my work isn’t published under my name. So if it will be, I may be open to writing for a lower rate. Articles published under my name help me establish myself as a writer and bring me some brand awareness. Or, if I’m really passionate and knowledgeable about the project topic, the project will sometimes be worth it at a lower rate.

3. Sometimes I Have To Say No To People

It’s not like everything is well and dandy when you work for yourself. Sometimes you’ll have people reach out to you that just don’t fit your vibe. Other people are just not nice people or just have unrealistic expectations. In addition, some people just don’t pay in a reasonable time frame or are just always being difficult. Due to those things, I have said no to working with certain people. I have also just terminated working with a client if the relationship or project requires much more work than I bargained for. And that is perfectly okay.

4. Standing My Ground

It could be easy to get temped by money and take work well below your rate. But sometimes, that just doesn’t make sense. It’s hard to say no to work, but sometimes it’s just got to be done. If a client wants work done in an unreasonable time frame or keeps nagging when we set a clear deadline for the work to be done, I have to be clear with the client and speak to them about setting reasonable expectations. Working for yourself shouldn’t include your clients micromanaging you or having you burning the candle at both ends.

5. I Have to Do Things I’d Rather Not Do

Freelancing is great; I genuinely love it. But there are certain aspects of being a business owner that I don’t enjoy. For example, I have to do all my bookkeeping myself. If I wanted to hire someone to do this, it wouldn’t make financial sense to me at this point in time. I’m not a numbers person, so bookkeeping is not something I look forward to. In addition, I sometimes have to follow up with clients to pay their invoices continuously. Getting new projects also takes a lot of work and time.

Loving What You Do Is So Important

Every single kind of job or career has upsides and downsides. For me, being a freelance writer and editor is completely worth it. I love having the flexibility to work on projects that make sense to me and set my own terms. Working from my laptop also gives me a lot of freedom of movement. Is freelancing for everyone? Absolutely not. But if you’re considering freelancing, try freelancing part-time and see if it’s something you enjoy doing.

Follow me on my Instagram, Tiktok, and Facebook for more about my life in the Netherlands.

What is your passion, and how are you making sure you implement it in your life?

4 thoughts on “5 Important Lessons I Learned After a Year of Freelancing in the Netherlands

  1. Wow, living in a different country than the one you grew up in really does change your mindset about everything. You’re amazing!

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