Diane Hall - The Frazzled Freelancer

Freelancer, Entrepreneur and mother of two...

Could I (or any freelancer) be the next Apprentice?

It’s back!  The TV show ‘Apprentice’ is back!

But have you noticed how few of the candidates on any given series already work for themselves – the vast majority of the applicants hold jobs with big conglomerates.  Yet they are the ones that think they have the necessary skills to see them through each weekly enterprising challenge Lord Sugar and his cohorts set them.

So here’s a question – and one that can only be answered by those who were once an employee then left to fly solo – did you learn all the skills you needed to work for yourself, when working for someone else?

When you were sat, bored, at your desk, thumbing through paperwork, briefs or passed-down emails, trying to spin four hours work into eight hours (I’ve been there, don’t deny it), and dodging your supervisor/boss, did you believe you could just be a successful freelancer whenever you wanted?

What I’ve learned…

Personally, I’ve learned so much more about enterprise, business and freelancing work since I took a leap and worked solely for myself.  I’ve gathered skills in areas I had never even contemplated, such as training others, cold-calling and networking (offline and online).  I’ve learnt more about marketing, customer service, planning and juggling. Even if I already thought I knew about these things, it was nowhere near the depth of my knowledge as I stand today.

And I know I’ll continue to learn.

One huge lesson I’ve learnt is that ‘it’s only business’.  It’s my nature to take things to heart, so when things go wrong, I’ve learnt that it’s not personal, and how I pick myself up from said setback is the most important lesson.  That’s not to say negative things don’t still smart a little, but the troughs do pass and eventually reach a peak again.

I knew when I worked for someone else that I’d have more freedom – but it’s a double-edged sword.  Yes, I can go shopping for the day whenever I want, but in reality, and to build up my reputation as someone who’s available and reliable, I’m probably a little more tied to my work than when I was employed – at least when it comes to taking full days off.  That said, to snatch a couple of hours – to finish early when the sun’s beating down or to see to a family issue before I start work is something I can do whenever I want; I’m not at the mercy of an uncharitable boss.

The corporate Apprentices tend to struggle to be creative, at least that’s my opinion.  Working for someone else can be very regimented and often you do the same thing, day in, day out.  The candidates who are already running a successful business are usually the first with ideas, or those that can rely on experience in any given situation.  They’re also the ones that tend to have more ‘mouth’!

Define a freelancer’s freedom…

Perhaps it’s apparent then, that freedom as a freelancer relates not only to the leisure time you enjoy, or the kind of work you get to do, but the freedom to try new ideas and experiences.  For those trapped behind the desk of an employer, this can be an alien concept – after all, you have a boss telling you what to do, and you do it.  No wonder freelancers and entrepreneurs have more worldly experience.

Even with what I perceive as the necessary skills to be the next Apprentice, I’ll be watching from the comfort of my settee – I’d never have the confidence to appear on the programme.  This is one skill which doesn’t distinguish between employees or freelancers – if you have this in buckets, you’re half-way to winning.

Although, I am learning…. 🙂

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Written by Editor on May 6, 2011 and filed in Frazzled Freelancer, Freelance events article, Freelancers, Opinion


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