There is no work-life balance as a freelancer, so choose something you actually want to get out of bed and do in the morning, and be with somebody who excites you enough to let you forget when a client is hammering you on deadline for a gig. Relationships affect anybody from a financier to a freelancer, but it’s inevitable that right after a nasty argument at home, it’ll be time to leave on a three-day location shoot.
Choosing the right partner has a lot to do with making the crazy schedule involved in commercial directing work—they can either see your time away as an opportunity for them to express independence and spend more time on their own development, or they can view it as your constant running away when they need you most. Usually, the truth is somewhere in between those two.
Ask anybody who travels for work: hopping on a plane every other week isn’t glamorous, no matter how much you love the road. Missing birthdays and anniversaries for location shoots doesn’t win you brownie points, but having the flexible schedule to plan a midweek, spur of the moment adventure or treat for somebody you care about is a huge perk.
As a freelancer with business evenly split between east and west coasts, I get to keep close friends in New York and LA without feeling like I’m constantly out of touch—I’m just as likely to grab drinks with either set of buddies in a given week. We are the sum of the five people we spend the most time with. If you choose that group well, the freedom of freelancing, being the person with enough independence to say yes to the last-minute lunch or even trip to another country, helps mitigate even the stress and uncertainty that comes with a freelance life, because that social web will hold you up when times are tough and push you further whenever you get complacent.