I have raised four sons. I am raising a daughter. I have lived in two different countries and, here in Canada, have lived in four different provinces. I have worked on the kinds of projects I choose and enjoy. I can’t be downsized. I can’t be fired. And I love what I do.
What’s not to like about being a freelancer?
Let’s look at 3 ways in which freelancing truly rocks.
As a freelancer, I can focus on what I do best.
This doesn’t often make the top 10 list of reasons to become a freelancer, but for me it’s huge.
Over the last couple of decades I have been an employee three times. Each time I lasted about 12 months before becoming a freelancer again. There was nothing wrong with those three companies, but in each case I ended up being asked to do work that was not central to my core skills.
In one I ended up being more of a manager and mediator than a writer. In another I was pushed into a role where I was spending a lot of time buying ads and managing the small details of the company’s promotional campaigns. And in the third I quit sooner than usual after being asked to do stuff that any summer intern could have done.
The point here is that if you want to enjoy your work, and if you want your work to have meaning, it’s tough to make that happen when your life is being managed by other people.
I’m a writer, a copywriter, a teacher and a coach. These are the activities that not only pay my bills, but also provide a more intrinsic reward for the time I spend at my desk. They mean something to me. And when I’m not practicing those skills, I am learning about them.
In a nutshell, my freelance life allows me to focus on the kind of work I really want to do. And to me, that’s hugely important. If my work doesn’t have meaning, it’s just an exchange of work for money. And that sucks.
You have a gift. Devote your work life to exploring and growing that gift.
As a freelancer, I am independent.
Many, many moons ago I was the creative director at an ad agency. When I decided to leave I felt guilty about leaving my team in the lurch. In part this was because our immediate boss was the boss from hell, and I had done a good job of insulating my writers and designers from his moronic interference.
Anyway, shortly before I left, one of the owners of the agency sat me down for a brief chat. He had somehow heard about my guilty feelings and wanted to set me straight. He told me that while my feelings were laudable, I should toughen up and learn to always put myself and my family first. He made the point that nobody in the company would give a second thought to firing me if they felt it was to their advantage.
That was a valuable lesson for me. (His good-guy status was confirmed when he gave me a bottle of whisky as a leaving gift. Good man.)
Put simply, I don’t trust companies. I like plenty of individuals who work for companies, but I don’t trust companies one inch. So why would I entrust my future to some corporation that cares nothing for me as a person? Why would I risk my future and my family’s future? Makes zero sense to me.
This is another reason why I work for myself. I’m independent. I’m in total control. I am not subject to the whims, mistakes or moronic decisions of others.
As a freelancer I can work anywhere.
This is one of the more popular reasons given for being a freelancer. And it’s certainly one that works for me.
As I mentioned, I have lived in many places over the last few decades. We moved because we wanted to, not because a company told us to.
In addition, I have family spread all over the place geographically. And when I go visit, sometimes for a couple of weeks or more, my clients and business partners are none the wiser. It makes no difference where I am.
And while I can certainly work from anywhere, it has meant a lot to me over the years that most of the time I work from home. I have been involved in my family life, I have been there when my kids got back from school. And my children have learned about work because they have been able to look over my shoulder while I’m pounding away at the keyboarding with my rather poor two-finger typing.
Yes, freelancing rocks.
I would never want to work any other way. If I ever end up working as an employee again it will be because of a lapse in judgment or a massive failure of some kind at my end.
But I won’t let that happen. My independence is too important to me.
Being able to focus on what I want to do rather than on what an employer wants me to do is priceless.
About the author: Nick Usborne is an online writer, copywriter, author and coach. Read more…
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