Ever tell someone you’re a freelancer and have them look at you funny? Have your friends or family ever advised you about getting a “real” job? Does the idea of telling people you’re a freelance writer make you cringe? If you answered yes to even one of those questions, I have to tell you… You’re not alone.
By Samar Owais
Elna Cain has been freelancing for two years and she hasn’t formally told anyone yet.
“I’ve been a freelance writer for over two years but I haven’t really told anyone about it. What I mean is I don’t offer this topic unless someone asks me what I do. I don’t make it unknown that I freelance write.
My personal Facebook profile links to my blogs and mentions that I’m for hire.”
Yup, that was how I handled it too for a looooong time. A distant relative once commented “What a waste of intelligence!” when I told him I was a freelance writer who worked from home. That’s not the only comment I’ve heard over the years, but it’s definitely the worst. Most freelancers have similar stories to share. So if you shy away from telling folks about your freelancing, you aren’t the only one. Most freelancers do – and with good reason! Below are 13 unbelievable reactions these freelancers routinely get when people find out they freelance, work from home, and have an online business.
1. “No, I mean what’s your REAL job?” – Samar Owais
I’m starting this list with one of my own. This is by far the most common reaction I get.
“Freelance writing is my real job. I usually counter this by giving the person a link to my writer site.
They may have never heard of the bigger sites I’ve been published on, but they definitely understand the numbers on my pricing page.”
2. “Do you make any money?” – Pinar Tarhan
I don’t know about Pinar, but my snarky response would be (at least in my head), “No, I work for free and don’t eat or pay my rent.” Pinar says there are two versions of this question. One is “How do you make money?” and the other is “Can you make money?”
3. “Oh, that’s nice dear.” – Christine C. Renee, Allie Nimmons, and Alma Campos Diaz
All three of these incredible freelancers mentioned some variation of this reaction.
“They basically treat it like my job is just a cute little hobby and I’m a privileged millennial that I get paid to do, what they believe to be, nothing.
“However, most people in their 20s and early 30s go “Wow, I wish I could do that!” And they ask me a ton of questions and tell me they think I’m brave.”
– Allie Nimmons
“I’m a copywriter. Their response: “Oh, how nice.” (As if I’m sitting on the beach with my laptop writing $500 articles). Freelance writing is like any other occupation, you just do it in a non-office setting and your form is 1099. ” – Alma Campos Diaz
4. “Oh, unemployed.” – Sara Beth Duggan
Anyone who hears this and doesn’t resort to sarcasm is a god damn hero in my book.
5. “Oh, that’s cute that you found something to do while you raise your babies” – Kaylene George
Kaylene figured out a way to have fun with the reaction she gets. More power to her!
Me: I’m a blogger and virtual assistant. Them: Oh, that’s cute that you found something to do while you raise your babies. Me: My husband quit his full-time job this year to help run my businesses. Them: What?! Like, you actually make money!?
Yes, enough to hire her husband. Go figure.
6. “When are you going back to work?” – Kimi Kinsey
Kimi’s got her priorities straight!
“I quit my job in August 2015. I still get asked pretty regularly by family and some friends “When are you going back to work?”
How about never? I make more money sitting on my butt at home, doing what I love. And when someone annoys me, I get to leave my desk to drink.”
7. “Wow, I’d love to lounge around and get paid!” – Bethany Joy Johnson
Gotta love the ones who think it’s so easy. According to Bethany, she often has people say that to her. *insert a few choice adjectives here*
8. “Have you lost your mind?” – Chinyere Joyful
Chinyere’s family said what all of ours were probably thinking when we started out.
“You can always count on family members to say you have lost your mind.
I can’t remember the statics, but I believe it states by 2020, one-third of the workforce will be freelancers.”
9. “Sleeping till noon.” – Jenna Fletcher
“My dad thinks I sleep till noon every day. Actually, I get up between 6 and 7 Monday through Friday to get 4 hours of work in before my daughter wakes up.”
10. “You’ll tire of it soon.” – Kathrin Hartrampf
Kathrin deals with what looks like low-key jealousy.
“I get confronted with, ‘What is a Digital Nomad?’ and ‘Ah, soon you will be tired of wandering around.’
I just started! Cannot wait to explore the world!”
11. “Would you like to work with us for experience?” – Deepti Jakhar Abraham
“Maybe you will like to work for us for the experience.” is something she was asked once. I’m willing to bet they meant working for free. Another reaction she gets is the timeless ‘Do you get paid?’
12. “Oh, I’m sorry! You couldn’t get a company job?” – Chloë Romengas
This isn’t the only gem Chloe’s got. She shared two more reactions listed below at 33 and 34.
13. “You’re home all day; you can do the dishes.” – Holly Magnani
“I was living in Los Angeles and had a roommate. I asked her, quite nicely, if she’d do her breakfast dishes before leaving.
She said, “You’re home all day, you can do them.”
I said, “What do you think I do all day?”
“Probably nothing” she said and flounced away, dishes undone.”
Guess who didn’t last long as roommates after this?
Got a (horror) story to share about the reactions you get? Tell us in the comments!
Ever tell someone you’re a freelance writer and have them look at you funny? Have your friends or family ever advised you about getting a “real” job? Do you get fed up at times that you resort to snarky and outrageous responses? Let’s trade stories and have some fun!
About Samar Owais
Samar is a Dubai-based freelance writer, blogger, and content strategist. She loves writing (kinda goes without saying), road trips, and helping writers treat their freelancing as a business (and not a hobby).