In part 1, I gave you four of the eight violent truths about freelancing. They weren’t easy truths, either. They went like this:
1. Freelancing isn’t for the lazy.
2. Freelancing is damn hard work.
3. Freelancers work for more jerks than anyone else.
4. Freelancing is a thankless profession.
If you’ve made it here, it means you’re serious about freelancing. It also means you probably already know the other four violent truths about freelancing, but please humor me while I go over them anyways:
5. The Freelance Community Is An Amazing Bunch Of People.
For the first three years of my career writing online, I was fairly insulated from the rest of the freelance community. I didn’t have a need or a desire to interact with my peers; I had work enough to do my own thing.
On top of that, I remembered the dog-eat-dog Information Technology world I’d just come from where one of your co-workers would just as soon stab you in the eye as give you credit for a job well done. My policy was live and let live.
But, then, a funny thing happened. I decided to expand my horizons a bit. I began hanging out on some Freelance message boards. I hung out in a writers’ forum on a work-at-home mom’s website. I started reading freelance blogs. I discovered that these are pretty freaking cool people, even when you’re competing with them for work. Eventually, I started my own blog and discovered that the folks with whom I spent the most time talking were just other freelance writers.
There are folks like James and Harry, who’ve been in the biz for a while, and folks like Brett who are in the process of breaking in. And these people, without exception, have been just plain nice, courteous and helpful. It was quite a shock, compared to the IT field.
On top of that, I’ve had conversations on Twitter with the Internet writing community’s big-time folks like Darren Rowse of Problogger, Brian Clark of CopyBlogger, Internet Marketing Guru Chris Garrett, and Maki of DoshDosh. Every one of them was friendly and down-to-earth.
6. Freelancing Provides You With Flexibility To Live Your Life.
Yeah, I work 50 hours a week. But here’s the thing: if my 7 year-old has a class skit at 2:30 on a Thursday, I can go. If I don’t like the look of my desk today, and start to feel stuffy, I can throw the laptop in my bag, drive to the local cafe and work there all afternoon. If Starbucks were smart they’d open up a franchise in my little town, because I’m certain the baristas and I would be on a first-name basis.
I also, for whatever reason, have a heck of a time falling asleep about once a month. When I worked in IT, that meant that I was dead on my feet the next day. Now, it means that I can work from midnight to 3 AM and sleep in until 11 if I want to. I’ve got very few meetings and no “windows” during which I’m allowed to reboot a server.
Sick days aren’t even a big deal anymore. I’m at the stage of my career now where, if I get ill, I can usually catch up within a couple of weekends. And, I can take 4 days to go to Gen Con and not have to stress about whether my boss will let me have the time off.
7. Freelancing Gives You Control Over Your Own Destiny.
Now, I know that this will scare the hell out of some of you. Some of you want another person to tell you what to do and how to live. You want them to lay out the big plans so you don’t have to. Sad to say, but you don’t want to be a freelancer; you want to be an employee.
As a freelancer, I never have to worry about downsizing. If I want a bigger house or a newer car, then I just need to bust my ass finding some new clients, or putting out product that adds significant enough value to increase my fees. I pay for my own health insurance, I save for my own retirement and I’ll be sending my kids to college – all on my own. I don’t need the government or a company or anyone to do these things for me. If I succeed or if I fail I know that, at the end of the day, it was my choices that did it.
8. Freelancing Is The Best Damn Job You’ll Ever Have.
I wouldn’t trade the freelance life for anything. I’ve been down plenty of roads before I got to this one, roads I don’t care to go down again. I can’t tell you any other job I’ve ever had where I have been as happy or as self-fulfilled. Freelancing isn’t for everyone, I know that. But if you can handle working long, hard hours, unreasonable clients and ingratitude, then the friendship, flexibility and control of your destiny more than make up for it.
Why These Truths Are Violent Truths:
You’ll remember that I called these 8 Violent Truths about Freelancing. What is a “violent” truth? Simply put, it is truth with power. It is truth that has power enough to shatter false idols and myths, but it is also truth that has the power to reconstruct reality around itself. Embracing these 8 truths can take your fallen sense of self and self-worth and put you on the path to building an amazing and bright new future.
Living these principles can take your freelance career that’s teetering on the edge of the cliff, push it over, and make it sail off into a new sky.
About the author: Bob Younce is a full-time Internet writer and writing mentor living in Linwood, Michigan. He is dedicated to helping Internet writers to achieve their dreams. Visit Bob at The Writing Journey or follow him on Twitter.