Hi, I’m Hannah, and I’m self-employed and lonely.
I have been a ‘full time blogger’ for almost a year. I wouldn’t change that for the world. I am really lucky to be able to do what I do, but being self-employed is hard, and I think that it should be ok to talk about that. In fact, as more and more bloggers and other creatives set their hearts on quitting their jobs and ‘going full time’, I think that ~real talk~ should be absolutely encouraged.
Having nobody to tell you what to do can be incredible. It is, freeing, liberating, and it allows me to live my life exactly how I would like to. At the same time, having nobody to tell you what to do can be exhausting. Running everything yourself means that you cannot ever really work mindlessly, or on autopilot. When you do your own thing, you get out what you put in. If you’re happy and motivated and brimming with ideas and inspiration, that works fantastically well. If you’re in a creative slump, if you’re unhappy, if there are things getting in the way of being able to try, that means you don’t get paid.
Being self-employed, for me and countless others, means working from home. Working from home is lonely. I am lonely. I’m fortunate enough to be in a position where I am invited to press days, events, dinners, meetings, parties; I spend quite a lot of time with a lot of different people, and a lot of really great people at that. But, those engagements might only take one or two hours out of my day. I also spend a lot of time completely alone. I work well individually, I like having full control over what I’m doing, I like doing stuff by myself. But you cannot achieve the same sense of community when working from home, I don’t think, as you can in a school, university or office environment. Even if the people you see every day are people you don’t like, they’re still people.
For me, this is the most poignantly difficult problem with self-employment and working from home. It’s also one that nobody really talks about. To be a little less hypothetical –
I could have a string of three, four, five consecutive days where I am busy. I might have a press day, a party, a day of shooting, an event that leads to drinks afterwards, fitting in the actual blogging itself around that. The following week, I could have consecutive days of absolutely nothing. If my flatmate is away, if I can’t make plans with other friends (or can’t bring myself to make plans), I am completely by myself, and sometimes that really sucks.
I once wrote ‘in defence’ of doing stuff by yourself, but this is easier said than done. I live in London and that means that leaving my house almost always costs money, which is a big demotivator. More significantly, I think that there is a striking difference between ‘alone’, and ‘lonely’. I am happy to be alone, I enjoy my own company. But, when you feel lonely, your own company becomes less of a choice that you want to make.
I am not quitting, I am not giving up, but I am going to talk about the problems of self-employment, and of working from home (or a plethora of local cafés). I cannot reiterate enough how much I appreciate how lucky I am to do what I do, and that I am not stuck in a dead end job that I hate, or that doesn’t pay enough to make my rent. But, my job does come with its own set of problems. I am 22 and lonely, and trying to not be, and it’s ok to talk about that.
I totally feel you. I’m in full-time employment and living in a city where I barely now everyone so outside of working hours I always get lonely. It’s strange when there are, theoretically, so many people around you. I’m hoping to move to London at some point though and the scariest factor of that is being completely alone in a new city! x
Living in a new city for sure makes things worse – I can relate there too! I hope you feel better soon <3
I am sorry to hear that you are lonely. I think there is definitely a rose-tinted view of full-time blogging that part-time bloggers (such as myself) tend to have, and it is refreshing and eye-opening to read an honest evaluation of the realities of working for and by yourself much of the time. I certainly agree that, whether you like your job or not and the people there, they are still people and no matter how introverted one may be (I love to be alone too and work well on my own) it is important to have human interaction at some point! Maybe if more people talked about this it would close that gap and bloggers/freelancers would be able to share their feelings openly with others in the same situation.
I’m happy to hear that! I do fear that *so* many people set their hearts on blogging full time without considering some of the realties – I would absolutely encourage anyone to pursue their dreams, but I think people need to think a little more realistically at times too. Thank u for reading <3
I know the feeling, mine isn’t quite as bad as I work with people but I work weekends and have week days off so I never get to see my friends that week as they all work mon – fri. It does get lonely, that was my first reason why I turned to blogging.
Blogging can totally be a cure for loneliness too, I think! I hope u feel better <3
I think this is a side of this type of work that is sort of taboo, like the “dark side” of a dream job. It’s awesome that you’re stepping up and talking about it, because it’s a topic that definitely should be discussed! Great post!
For sure – I think that every job, no matter how ideal, has its downsides. Thanks so much! <3
I think it’s so great how you’ve opened up like this. Full time blogging can seem so glamorous, but I can see how it can get very lonely if you’re at home by yourself all day, any sort of working from home job can be. I write from home but have my family around some of the day & the evening so I’m not alone, but this is my concern when I’m able to move out and my boyfriend is at work all day, that I’m going to feel really lonely.
I’ve been following your blog for a while, but have been out of the bloggersphere for a while so didn’t know you’d gone full time & moved away from blogspot. It was only when I clicked on your name to read your latest post it directed me to your new site. I just want to give you a big congratulations and hug, it looks amazing and so professional and well layed out. It isn’t cluttered at all, it’s just fabulous.
I’m sorry you get lonely sometimes, it’s really not nice feeling that in any circumstances, but remember you’ve got a blogging community out there who follow your blog and can interact with you on social media. I know it’s virtual but at least it’s something. Just remember how far you’ve come since setting up your blog on blogspot, you’ve done tremendously well to get this far & not have to work in Burger King to pay your rent!
I think it’s really great you’ve spoken up about this.
Tweet me, Instagram or comment on my blog anytime you feel lonely ok.
Lots of love, XxxX http://thesecondhandrose.blogspot.co.uk
You’re absolutely right – I don’t think that feeling ‘lonely’ detracts from any sense of achievement, but like you said I think that it’s important to remember that doing this isn’t necessarily that glamorous and social. Thanks so much for reading! <3
I too like working on my own – I’m a bit of a loner like that – but without at least an hour of human interaction it can make you a bit stir crazy! Yes, you are lucky to be a full time blogger but that doesn’t mean that you can’t voice the negative aspects to the job. There should be a blogger office/cafe for lonely bloggers to work with friendly, like-minded company!
Love your blog and style btw – keep up the good work xo Aya
I totally feel the same, and that would be wonderful! Thanks so much for reading <3
I hope you feel better! There are days where we get lonely but I salute you for coming from such a long way and for standing strong. So it’s okay, take your time and keep doing what you enjoy most. Just to let you know that we, bloggers are all here to always for you to reach out to and we’re more than happy to interact with you x
Thanks so much for the kind words! <3
It’s good that you can share this and feel comfortable in doing so, i think that’s important. It’s also so easy to do the opposite and just shut yourself away in silence, but then things do get worse and escalate, so it’s good you feel no shame in talking about or sharing these things. I’m not a full time blogger, nor am i self employed, but i can relate to this too. When i did my industry placement year in London, i was surrounded by people in the biggest city in the UK and most striving, but i’d never felt as lonely as i did then in my entire life. London is a very lonely place, people are so busy, there’s never much of a chance to just stop for a second and enjoy the moment, when people aren’t at work they’re generally working and i suppose for you, you’re ALWAYS working, because you work for yourself. Maybe it’s worth having a schedule for yourself, were you’re at work most of the time, but then also allow yourself to completely switch off from any tasks, events, emails you need to compose/send, anything work related and take some time out for yourself, some ‘Hannah time’ and do things you wouldn’t normally ever do, or the things you wish you could do more often. Perhaps even switching off from social media completely for a few hours, just to give yourself some much needed headspace and usually when you return to the tasks, you feel much more motivated to actually complete them.
Sending you well wishes and positive vibes 🙂
Laura (aka @laurasylv)
I know that feeling too – London can be very very isolating! I don’t think there’s any shame in admitting you feel lonely, though. Those are some good suggestions too, I tend not to ‘switch off’, so that could be super helpful. Hope you’re loving the new job <3
Such a refreshing post – I think we all go through phases where you feel lonely or where you just need that alone time. Nice to hear your story.
Thanks so much for reading! <3
Thank you for sharing this, I enjoy working and being alone but like you say there’s a huge difference between that and being lonely. I think it’s really important to discuss these topics because for anyone considering blogging full-time in the future, like myself, this article is really eye-opening as so few people talk about every aspect of it. I’m also a little worried about moving to London in September, I’ve heard people say how isolating it can be! I hope you feel better soon, there is a whole community of bloggers who admire your work and are here for a chat if ever you need one! And once again thanks for sharing this Hannah! x
Summer, The Twins Wardrobe
Thank you for reading! It’s definitely important to think about the positives and the negatives of full time blogging (or working from home in any capacity). London can be amazing but it can be quite isolating too – I moved in September and have definitely felt it, but it’s much better now than it was when I first moved. You just have to try a little harder to make sure you see friends / meet people – there’s so much more opportunity here, though 🙂 x
I hear about this from so many self-employed people! The thought of working from home and setting your own schedule sounds so dreamy but I’m such a social person, I don’t think it would be for me. You’re doing amazing though, I think the solution (if I were in your situation) would be to get a 2 day desk job in PR/marketing so you could have the best of both worlds!
This was really eye opening! I would love my blog to be my full time job but I think that is a far flung dream for me, maybe one day! I do understand about being lonely but you can feel equally as lonely around the wrong people, talking about it is always a good way to get it off your chest though! Sophie x