Friday, 1 March 2013

Spice of life

Being freelance has a great many advantages, not least of which is being in total command of my time. It's been so long since I was employed by a company I've actually forgotten what it's like to have to be in one place of work at 9am on a Monday and count the hours until 5.30 on a Friday.

I'm lucky that I don't get the Monday morning blues, but the balance to that is sometimes I don't even know it's the weekend and so tend not to value it as much, often leading to just wasting it away. I can, of course, choose any day I wish not to work.

However, all of these pluses come at a price, not least of which is the insecure nature of being freelance. For one thing it's near impossible to persuade a bank to loan me money, though I guess that applies to everyone in this day and age.

The only way to try and balance the insecurity is to have a variety of disparate skills to try and create as many opportunities for paid employment as possible. Take this past week for example:

On Monday I edited a music video for a client, who also happens to be a cameraman I use occasionally and I in turn give him work when I can.

Tuesday I started the process of booking venues for a talk tour Pauline and I are putting on in a few months time, all about the trans-America cycle we did in 2011.

Wednesday I had admin to do for a rental property and a publicity push for the local community farmers market that I am coordinator for once a month.

Come Thursday I'm "on the tools" and building a new cupboard to house a gas boiler for a close friend of mine.

Today, Friday, is when I teach the art of film making to an Edinburgh charity organisation's creative class.

Tomorrow I will run this months farmers market and on Sunday I will be a consultant for a local coffee shop, assisting them for a few months to set up their business properly, using the skills I gained over the 15 years I ran my own deli and coffee shop.

It's not always such a full week, but it is mostly as varied, and it's the variety that I really like. At first glance you would be forgiven for thinking that I'm working seven days a week. Though it's true I am doing some sort of "work" every day, I also have ample time off, meeting friends for coffee at a moments notice, out on my bicycle for a winter-sunshine ride as soon as the opportunity presents itself, or putting my feet up with a good book, looking out of my living room window at the sea crashing onto the beach just 50 yards from my house.

Sometimes it's hard when it's not a regular guaranteed income every month, but it's been this way since 1989 and I've made it this far.

I doubt I will ever change it. After-all, variety is the spice of life.

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