What Is it Like to Be an HR Freelancer?

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a freelancer in HR? HR Lancers asked me to describe my experience as an independent HR pro, and I said sure! I love sharing information.

So here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly about life as a freelancer in the HR sphere. 

The Good

Freedom, variety, and independence are all grand. I can work around my schedule. If someone offers me an intensely dull project, I can evaluate whether I need the money badly enough to say yes. If the lack of paycheck won’t break me, I can say no. That is amazing.

I have met amazing people. Because most of what I do is write, I’ve made such fun connections in the world of journalism. Because I go to conferences and every vendor is fighting for a chance to talk to the HR writer, I’ve had amazing conversations that most people don’t get to have. 

I’ve coached people through difficult situations and have the chance to see them blossom. It’s incredible and rewarding from the hard work we do together.

Part of my job entails reading Facebook (fun!) and reading Twitter (horrifying!). I try to stay out of politics online, but somehow it all ends up in my feed.

When an article goes viral, it’s super exciting. I wish I knew the key to make that happen. Sometimes as I hit publish, I say, “this article will be awesome!” and only my mother reads it. Sometimes I say, “well, this is mediocre but gotta hit publish!” and it goes viral. It’s a mystery to me.

My regular clients are fantastic. Because I have freedom, I can always end a contract if I don’t like working with someone. So, that means I love all the people I work with regularly. 

The Bad

I don’t particularly appreciate marketing myself, and freelance work involves a ton of self-marketing. While I have repeat clients, I also do a bunch of one-offs. The one-offs can be fun because often the work is different, but once it’s done, it’s done, and I have to find another client.

Being independent and working from home means there’s no one to take the tedious tasks or share the load for the complicated stuff. I do miss teamwork (although I do team-based projects from time to time.)

The Ugly

The ugliest part of freelancing is the money. Not the total income–that’s reasonable. (Although if anyone wants to send me more money, I will happily take it!) No, it’s dealing with invoicing and reminding people to pay their bills.

For instance, in December, a whole bunch of clients didn’t pay, and it was a bit stressful. They’ll all pay up in January, but December is an especially bad time to have to say “nope, can’t afford that.”

I also am my own IT department, and, frankly, I should put myself on a PIP for my skills there. (I do have an expert who builds my website and fixes any significant problems. She’s amazing.)

Overall, though, I love freelancing. The good far outweighs the bad and the ugly. I adore being Evil HR Lady. And if you want to hire me, send me an email at EvilHRLady@gmail.com. Or if you want to send me a question, send it there as well. 

This post was sponsored by HR Lancers–a new site that allows you to find an HR expert for your project work.

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6 thoughts on “What Is it Like to Be an HR Freelancer?

  1. Forgive my ignorance here. I’m not being sarcastic, this is a real question.
    I’ve been following your blog for a while and always thought you only wrote about topics of your choice. Who are the clients (business types? ) and what type of projects do you work on? I’m genuinely interested in learning about the career.

    1. 90 percent of what I do is write. But I also do workshops, run webinars, and do one one one coaching for people in tough career spots.

      So a bit of variety!

  2. Thanks for this information. I appreciate your insight and opinions on issues. It is always an enlightening read!

  3. About once a year all the stories / offers / advertisements / enticements about “be your own boss” and “earn 6 figures at home” and “be your own business” and “freelancers have more fun” build up pressure like water behind Hoover Dam, and I start to let my imagination run wild, and then … along comes an article like this — short, sweet, meaningful, helpful, and above all, realistic.

    If I ever do take the plunge, it will be with an eye toward articles like this one.

    Thanks for publishing this.

  4. My housemate is one and has just finished a freelance stint with Lindt… she’s continually telling me that freedom is worth more than job security, which is fair enough. Personally I was more interested in the giant vat of chocolate she’d brought back with her 🙂

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