The doorbell rang this afternoon, and I had one of those moments. You know the one. . . Oh, no, someone's going to see me like this!
You think I would be used to this by now. After all, I've been freelancing for a while now, and pajama wear at 4 in the afternoon just comes with the territory. My postman in North Carolina got to see me with a full blue clay mask on one day, too. I'd been busy typing away on an interesting project all day and I answered the door when he knocked without thinking. It happens.
Now, I know that there are other freelancer advice sites out there that will tell you that the only way you are ever going to be a successful freelancer is if you get up and dressed in the morning. Otherwise, you just aren't serious about your business. I mean, how could you possibly be serious about your business unless you are in business attire?
I sometimes wonder where these people find the extra time in the day to waste on hair fixing, shaving, make up applying, doing laundry, and ironing. For that matter, they're a lot less busy than I am if they have time to roam the mall for new business outfits and hit up the dry cleaners on a regular basis.
Frankly, I've got clients who would love it if I never showered again and just worked on their projects non-stop. After all, they don't have to smell me.
I've had to draw the line somewhere, and I fight for personal time. I especially fight for that very wonderful personal time - guilt free personal time, where you are honestly all caught up and not just saying you are so you can have a nice weekend with the family.
Naturally, there are trade offs in every decision you make. I've decided that unless I'm planning to see other people that day, my hairstyle is called "out of my face" and my outfit is modeled after the consistently popular style known as "clean". This means that most of the time by professional standards I look like crap, but I'm (mostly) okay with that.
In my experience, there are thousand of successful freelancers just like me, sitting in comfortable but ugly pants at the computer, wearing natty t-shirts left over from college or high school, and living in fear of unexpected guests at the door. Other people may be better dressed, but I'm getting my work done.