When you’re a freelancer, it feels like there’s very little room for error. A series of mistakes that in an employed person would be a mere irritant become an excuse for not renewing a contract.
That’s probably why, when the inevitable mistake happens, I can sometimes go into a tailspin. I don’t literally beat my head against the desk, but I curse a lot, decide I’m going to lose all of my work and go bankrupt, and then reach out to a few friends.
In this case, the mistake was a scheduling mistake; a meeting that was slotted on to a Tuesday in my calendar was actually on Monday. But it was an important meeting. I felt a little like Marissa Mayer, who famously missed a dinner by oversleeping.
I didn’t oversleep, I just lost track of things in the midst of a triple deadline school day. If anyone has a miracle cure for scheduling snafus, I would love to hear it.
What about those inevitable mistakes? I don’t know the right way to handle them. I don’t lie or fudge, but I have learned over the years to be more honest: I don’t hide the fact that I am a single working mother juggling a lot.
Then I try to remind myself that the organization is getting something pretty great out of this deal: a benefits-free, highly experienced writer/editor. Then I look at my bank account and remind myself that I have a cash reserve and a lot of clients.
And then, I call my friends who inhabit the solo entrepreneur world with me, like Elaine, who said, “Remind yourself of how much you get done and how great you are at your work before you beat yourself up too much.”