I have been working as a freelancer for the past two years now. I often get asked if it’s easy and what it’s like to be self-employed, so I thought I would tell my story.
I love my freelance life and I couldn’t be happier that I made the decision to do it alone, but it hasn’t been easy and there are definitely pros and cons to both kinds of lifestyle. Whether you succeed in one or the other ,I think it comes down to what you want to achieve and what kind of person you are.
I stayed late and worked extra hours and was very involved in the corporate mission for greatness, but for me the time frame in this environment just didn’t cut it. I saw no direct reward for the extra effort I was putting in and being told I would be up for a pay review in 6-9 months didn’t motivate me to stay.
For some people I understand that the security of a regularly paid job, coupled with the more standard career route of rising through the ranks is a dream come true, but it turns out I wanted something different.
I don’t think I actually appreciated that I wanted to work for myself until I quit my job and went for it. I’ve never been as scared as I was when I made the decision to quit. I had worked my whole life to land that corporate city job…nearly 20 years in education!
I had some savings behind me, and the intention of finding a more rewarding and higher paid role. I spent a few weeks enjoying my new found freedom in the city but naturally got a little bored, so I started helping some friends with various projects, while interviewing for full-time roles.
A month or so after quitting I was involved in several freelance projects and actually being paid for most of them! I decided that I would push back finding another full time job and see how I could get on with self-employment.
I had accidentally become a freelancer. Over the first few months I taught myself a lot of new skills while doing projects at the same time. I spent hours networking, learning, and building my personal brand. I’ve never been happier.
At least one working day a week should be spent on building relationships and sourcing new work to make sure that you don’t end up finishing a project with no new work in site.
One of the biggest perks of the job for me is that I can carry on learning while I am earning. I put a lot of my cash back into my education, as a business would with its employee training. This is another really important thing to remember to make sure you stay ahead of the curve in your industry.
It is also important to get into a good work/life balance routine. It can be very easy to work all hours of the day, especially as you see more and more money coming in. However, taking a break will mean you perform better and ultimately will get more work in the long term.
It took me a while to figure this one out but now I work normal working hours, just from the comfort of my own home. I can get up slowly, exercise, have a healthy breakfast, and watch the news. I don’t have to fight with angry commuters and so I save about 2 hours a day of travel time (which I use for personal development).
So long as I keep in touch with clients and the work gets done, they don’t care where I am.
So now that you know my story, here are some top tips for becoming a top notch freelancer and kicking ass at life:
Being a freelancer comes with its risks and rewards, but, for me, it has been one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made.