Not only do you have to face feast and famine cycle, do everything yourself, struggle to maintain a good work/life balance, and have a plan in place for emergencies–you might have to deal with difficult people.
Is it any wonder that some freelancers fail?
We’ve already explained why freelancing may not be for everybody.
I’ll never give up on freelancing, though, for reasons that are personal, professional, and people-related. Here’s why I won’t give up:
5 Personal Reasons I Won’t Give Up on Freelancing
A small confession–I feel bit guilty about my personal reasons for loving freelancing. I hear my non-freelancing complaining about all of the points below (regular hours, traffic, buying work clothes, tiny cubicles, etc.) and I feel a bit guilty and selfish for having chosen a life for myself where I don’t have to wrestle with these problems any more.
Here are five personal reasons that keep me freelancing:
- Setting my own hours–Even though some companies have adopted “flex-time” for employees, most companies still maintain a core of hours when you are expected to do your work. As a freelancer, not only do I get to decide when I work I also get decide whether I work. If I need a day off for an appointment or just for fun, I take it. No need to get a manager’s approval.
- No commute–Commuting is a double whammy. Not only does it take an hour or more out of your day each and every working day, you also have to pay for the privilege by either buying gasoline or purchasing a public transportation pass. Don’t even get me started on the stress that heavy traffic can add to an otherwise peaceful morning.
- Shopping during the day when lines are small–Most of the working world runs errands during the weekend or tries to cram chores into their lunch hour. No lines for me, though. I make a point of buying groceries during the day when practically no one is at the store. Likewise, when making appointment with my doctor or my accountant I avoid the popular lunchtime or late afternoon times.
- No dress code–While I’m not one to sit around in my underwear or my pajamas, I do appreciate being able to wear jeans and tee shirt (or sweats) to work every day, if I want to. Not only is it more comfortable, it’s also easier on the wallet. (I do maintain a few more professional outfits just in case I have to meet with a client in person, though.)
- Control your environment–For years, I did my work from a variety of tiny little cubicles (usually about 8′ by 8′, sometimes smaller). Most of the time, I had no window to look out of, There was absolutely no way to keep from overhearing conversations and phone calls made in the next cubicle. Now, I have the quiet I need to perform and a nice window to look out of every once in a while.
5 Professional Reasons I Won’t Give Up on Freelancing
Not only has freelancing been good to my personal life, it’s also been a boon to me professionally. In many cases, I think that freelancers grow professionally more quickly and are more knowledgeable on a wider range of topics than their corporate counterparts.
Here are five professional reasons that keep me freelancing:
- Choose the best projects–When I was an employee my boss assigned my work to me and no matter what it was, I did it. It didn’t matter whether it was challenging or even whether it was a bad idea, my work was chosen for me. As a freelancer, I do the choosing. If a project doesn’t challenge me or seems like a really bad idea, I don’t have to take it.
- Set my rate–Employees have one good chance to negotiate their income–that’s when they’re hired. After that, pay may be revisited (usually annually), but it’s unlikely to change much. Freelancers, on the other hand, have complete freedom to determine how much they earn. They do this two ways: by choosing their rate and by choosing how many hours to work.
- Fewer meetings–Companies are known for holding long, unproductive meetings that they require their employees to attend. While you may not be able to completely avoid meetings as a freelancer (a few clients will ask for them), you can limit how many you must attend. It’s particularly easy to get out of an unneeded meeting once the client realizes that you are charging them for it.
- Learn new things–If you’re like most freelancers, your work varies depending on what your clients need. You also have a prime incentive (getting new projects) to keep up with technological advances as they occur. These factors mean that you’re probably going to learn more new things as a freelancer than you did as an employee.
- Can’t get fired–Alright, an individual client may reject your work or even take you off a project once you’ve started, but you’ll still own your business. While that experience may hurt, your other clients will probably still stick with you. Plus, you’re still free to continue to seek out more work.
5 People-related Reasons I Won’t Give Up on Freelancing
The top reasons why I stick with freelancing are probably people-related, though. Freelancing gives me the life-balance freedom that I crave in order to balance the demands of my career with the needs of my relationships with the people around me.
Here are five people-related reasons I’ll never give up on freelancing:
- Quality time with a child–Freelancing allows me to spend quality time with my children. Even as I type this, it is spring break and I will be taking some extra long lunches this week in order to interact more with my child. Freelancing also allows me to pick up my child immediately after school and I can take off a day to chaperone a field trip if I want.
- Care for someone who is ill–Shortly after I began freelancing my parents became critically ill. When needed, my flexible schedule allowed me to work mornings (and sometimes late nights) and spend afternoons in the hospital. When my dad moved to hospice, I took off an entire month just to be with him before he died.
- Time for friends–While I often take a short lunch or eat at my desk, several times a month I make it a point to take long lunch and meet with someone (usually outside of the freelancing world) from my personal social circle. These “two hour lunches” would probably be frowned at in a company environment, but personally I find that I return to my work refreshed.
- Time to help others–Do you have a cause that you care about passionately? I’m a big believer in volunteerism and the freelancing lifestyle gives you the freedom to structure your schedule so that you can spend time on the cause you love–whether that cause means volunteering at your local soup kitchen, saving the environment, or rescuing a mistreated pet.
- The people you meet–Last, but not least, freelancing is great because of the people that I’ve met. What can I say? From my clients to my readers here on Freelance Folder to the peers and friends that I’ve met through social networking–you’re all great and you keep me going. I would not have met you if I had stayed in the corporate world.
What About You?
What keeps you going? Share the reasons why you’re still freelancing.
Leave your answers in the comments.
Image by grrphoto