5 Reasons it's Easier Being Sick When You're a Freelancer

Yes, as one of the “on-staff” folk, you do have paid sick days, however — I don’t know about you, but I had to really be on deaths door before being absent from the office was accepted at by old 9to5.

I’m on month 13 of my freelance career and it’s official, I’m sick. I knew it was going to happen sooner or later and while I’m still in that beginning stages sick, I can already see that being a Freelancer does have some benefits when it comes to catching a bug.

#1 Office hours start when I do

Often the early morning hours are the most difficult to get through when you’ve got that winter time cold or flu. It just takes a little bit longer to wake up, maybe some extra time to get out of bed and some additional moments to collect yourself and get ready to begin the day. Well, I usually report to my desk by 8:30am every morning, but after waking up with a congestion headache and drippy nose — I took quick stock of my situation and concluded that my business would not implode if today I started work at 9:15am.

#2 Business casual is open to include yoga pants

It’s a big myth about freelancers, that we all spend our day in bathrobes and bunny slippers. It’s just a myth, but you know the thing about myths? They are based on some bit of truth. It’s true, I sometimes work in my favorite yoga pants, which i have affectionately coined as my “freelance pance” and i think it’s days like today that I am very happy to not have to lace up shoes and go out in the nasty Seattle January!

#3 One thermostat to rule them all

My old office used to be freezing cold in the summertime and boiling hot in the winter — I don’t miss that at all! A huge benefit of working on your own means that you determine the temperature of your office, no compromising with co-workers going through menopause or bosses who miss their Southern California childhood.

#4 I love my clients

While you don’t want to tell your client every time you get a hangnail — if you maintain good relationships and clear communication with your clients, they’re going to be understanding when you get sick. Depending on the urgency of your projects, some clients will be fine with shuffling their schedule to ensure you have time to get well and with large scale or fast paced projects, it’s smart to cover this in your contract.

I’m sure once day there will be a time when, at deaths door or not — you have to make a deadline. This is a time when having a network of trusted freelancers to outsource work to can be a life saver!

#5 Adult beverages allowed on premises.

It’s 5PM and I’m putting in a few extra hours,  just in case I’m totally out of commission in the morning. Nothing better at the end of day full of sinus headaches like a hot toddy, in my Pantone mug! :)


  1. Great post!

    I usually start my day at noon and wear my memory foam slippers. I actually dress as if I’m going somewhere but sometimes you will catch me in pajamas!

  2. I got this this week. I threw my back out in my early morning exercising and by 9am, I’d notified my client that I’d be uncontactable for the day (stronnng painkillers!) but that the deadline wouldn’t be affected because I’d put in the hours when I was feeling better.

    The response: “Don’t worry about it mate, just get better. Hopefully speak to you tomorrow”. I love freelancing.

    1. @ jasper

      that’s awesome! :) it’s great to have clients who you establish a connection with – you end up doing better work for them and they end up appreciating you more.

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