5 Things I Did to Save Myself from Freelance Burnout


We’ve all heard about people burning out in their jobs and careers. This certainly isn’t a new phenomenon. However, it is getting worse.

In the U.S., a recent Gallup poll found that 23% of workers feel work burnout frequently or always and 44% feel burned out at least some of the time. In the UK, more than half a million people are dealing with work-related stress and the mental health issues that can go with that.

Stress the job can come from a number of factors, such as working long hours, too much responsibility, not enough pay, and a host of other things. However, I’m not just talking about burnout because of being overworked. I’m also talking about career burnout, when you have done something a long time and you lose your passion for it. Forbes has a great article about recognizing the signs of career burnout, which are:maze-1804499_640

  • You don’t care anymore
  • You don’t see any interesting challenges ahead
  • Small things irritate you more than they should
  • You can no longer focus
  • You can’t seem to snap out of it

Now, here’s what you need to know…

Freelancers are NOT immune to workplace OR career burnout.

New or with years of experience behind them, freelancers can burn out. However, freelancers are in a unique position to handle that burnout in ways perhaps an employed person cannot. I can speak to this honestly because I have been feeling career burnout as a freelancer for the past year or so and I’ve learned…

It’s okay! It’s not the end of the world! There are things I can do about it!

Now, to be fair, my feelings of needing something more are not as simple as I’m bored with freelancing. I’m not really bored with it, per se. A large part of it for me is that I have hit my midlife re-calibration (a term one of my awesome Twitter contacts came up with). I am at a point in my life where I seriously need to consider how I want to live the second half of it. And this is what I have come up with:

  • I want to become a successful, working screenwriter
  • I want to connect with and help others – particularly women – in freelancing and in other ways

These are the two factors driving my decisions in terms of career and life in general. These are my new focus. As such, here are the things I have done within the past year to help me along my new path:


  1. I started studying screenwriting: A year ago I signed up for the Toronto Film School’s online Writing for Television and Film course. I am LOVING it. I feel like screenwriting is a natural fit for me. Not only that, but I am really trying to put myself out there. The only script I have finished to date is a short film and I submitted it to the Austin Film Festival’s screenplay competition.
  2. I got a part-time job: Last November, I got a part-time job with our local bookstore. It was something I had thought about doing before and then it just kind of happened. After the holidays, I was put on flex, but the job isn’t about the money. I make more as a freelancer. The bookstore is about getting out and interacting with people while doing something that is fun for me.
  3. I started this blog: I have become very passionate about helping women in freelancing. One way I can do this is through this blog, which is why I started in January, and my Freelance Woman of the Month, which began this month.
  4. I am creating freelance courses and coaching: I want to help people launch, grow, and expand their freelance business because I know how challenging that can be. There is a lot more that goes into than many people realize, so I am creating four 4-week courses and offering coaching services to help those who feel it would benefit them.
  5. I started a local Meetup: I want to connect with people where I live. I don’t live in a big city, but at nearly 400,000 people, I figured there would be interest in a freelance Meetup. Turns out I was right.

Who knows, maybe in the future I will do coffee-break-1177540_640other things that will hep freelancers, both in my local community and abroad. I’d love to see a freelance conference happen. I don’t think we have one in Canada, at least not that I’m aware of. The only thing remotely close to that is only associated with writing, but it’s not strictly related to freelancing. And since there are so many ways to freelance, a conference devoted entirely to freelancing would be great.

Other things I plan to do in the future? I plan to write a book about my experience as a freelancer. I also plan to really get out there with my screenwriting more and more.

Life is exciting! There is so much potential. Don’t waste it, embrace it!

Now, tell us all about how you stave off freelance burnout, whether that is burnout from the job itself and making ends meet or career burnout. We’d love to hear about it in the comments section below.

Cheers, Karen


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