So often I’m asked, “why did you choose to be a freelancer?” To many, it seems like a life of uncertainty and unpredictability. That assumption isn’t entirely wrong. But for me, the benefits far outweigh the risks.
The first thing I’ll say is that freelancing was not a lifelong goal for me. I did not grow up dreaming of being a freelance graphic designer. I grew up first dreaming of being a lawyer like Elle Woods in Legally Blonde; then a French teacher; and finally, an art director of a top agency. It wasn’t until I was working toward that last goal, where I realized I loved my job but not so much the lifestyle. I reached a crossroads suddenly, so I decided to dive headfirst into freelancing. Surprisingly, I ended up loving it. Here’s a few reasons why.
First and foremost, this part rules and is probably the biggest perk of freelancing. Being self employed is hard, and often times we end up working more than 40 hours a week; BUT it’s hours we choose, based on our project needs. I have no problem working late into the evening for a Thursday morning deadline; and perhaps in turn taking Thursday morning off. This often means working non-typical hours like evenings or weekends; but as a former bartender, this is not difficult for me. Scheduling perks are also great. Want to get my hair cut at 11am on a Tuesday? No sweat. Get my groceries Monday afternoon before everyone else is off work? Deadly.
No income cap
What does this mean exactly? For freelancers, our income increases as our workload increases. Our workload increases as our skill set improves. For me, when I was employed I didn’t feel any incentive to get better or do better. I was getting my pay check regardless. Now, my revenue is completely determined by me, my skill set, and how much I choose to learn and improve. Possibilities can be endless if you put in the work.
Greater personal attention to clients
This is a big one for me. As a freelancer, I’m working for and representing only myself. My communication with my clients is very much more personal than when I was doing so on behalf of a company. I care more about them, their business and their success because the work I do for them can be a major factor in these things. I find I also have more time to devote to the clients who need it, because I’m in control of my own time management. Many long term clients have become more like friends, and I love it.
So in conclusion, is freelancing for everyone? No, absolutely not. There are many benefits to a secure day job that freelancing does not offer. But for me, I wouldn’t have my life any other way. Yes, the grass can be greener on this side of the fence; but only if you water it. We start with no grass over here.