Open Thread: What Motivates You?

Freelancing is a world in which motivation and self-discipline can make the difference between success or failure. Freelancers overwhelmingly work at home, and on their own, where there is nobody else to make you work hard and finish projects on time.

But each freelancer is different, and there is no single answer that will help you stay motivated. Some are motivated by the promise of future prosperity and expansion, while others want a stable job that let’s them spend time with their family.

Some freelancers stay motivated out of their fear or dislike for working at a big company, others are motivated by a love for their trade and are simply happy that they can get paid for it.

Knowing what motivates you is an important step towards staying disciplined and productive over the long-term. So, what is it that drives you to work hard?

  • Are you motivated by the promise of future success and prosperity?
  • Does the freedom you have as a freelancer drive you to work hard?
  • Are you working because of the stability and value you can create?
  • Are you driven out of fear or dislike of working for someone else?
  • Do you work hard because you love your work and want to do more?

Tell us what motivates you in the comments.


  1. says

    My goal is to successfully manage both my freelance writing business and my online educational program from home…but there’s a long road between that and where I am currently.:-) The end-goal motivates me to keep working hard right now!

  2. says

    I think you get to meet more people when freelancing, you network more and have far more drive than when you work with a company so I enjoy the variety and choice of work and challenges

  3. says

    I am very motivated by the fact that I work for myself and all that entails. This means that when I fail, I fail hard and it’s all my fault, no one else to blame. This also means that when I succeed, that success is my own and I am able to profit from it.

    I am motivated by the fact that I choose my own clients, my own work hours, my colleagues, hardware and software. I can decide, without repercussions, to change careers completely spur of the moment. That’s a good feeling.

    I am glad to be part of the new entrepreneurial class that is changing the modern American landscape.

  4. says

    I think having the (absolute) ability to decide what direction your career takes (rather than a thin input) is my main goal towards one day becoming a full-time freelancer (it currently supplements my full-time role).

    I think as a graphic designer, my secondary motivation is that as a thirty-one year old, I’m pretty much on the edge of ‘acceptable’ age for positions – graphic design is definitely a young persons’ industry (true greats aside) and as such you certainly have a shelf life. If you can maintain a completely-freelance employment, then your future is solely in your own hands.

  5. says

    I am motivated by future success/prosperity, and well as the freedom I have as a freelancer. I am motivated because I love the work that I do, and I love the flexibility.
    Working for yourself can be very rewarding.
    What I like most is that if I decide to work harder, or longer hours, I can earn more money. At a 9-5 it doesn’t matter when you are more productive, or working harder, you will always earn the same amount every paycheck.
    If I want to maintain the freelance lifestyle -which I do- then I have to work hard, and offer good value.
    Good clients that I can choose, great work, more income, flexibility, and success are what motivates me.

  6. says

    I would say that I am motivated by #2, the freedom that I have as a freelancer, and #5, loving my work.

    I’ve been earning money as a writer for so long now that I think I would probably not be happy doing another type of job. If I had to, I could do it, but I don’t think that I’d be as happy.

  7. says

    # Does the freedom you have as a freelancer drive you to work hard?
    # Are you working because of the stability and value you can create?
    # Do you work hard because you love your work and want to do more?

    My answers are: Yes, yes and yes.

    I am a lso motivated by the flexibility of freelancing, i.e. time management.

  8. says

    I am motivated by reading the blogs or reading some startup articles or reading the Startup Stories of Big Companies.

    The most motivational books I found is Google Story & The Making of Microsoft.

    Also the Traffic on my blog or improved blog Rank also motivate me….

  9. says

    I’m motivated by the prospect of my clients’ businesses growing and succeeding. It really is a bit of a thrill when I have clients come back a tell me stories about the successes they’ve had as a result of my work. It’s especially great when I get to work with a business right from the beginning, watching it grow from concepts and ideas to a thriving business.

  10. says

    Obviously, there’s an element of financial necessity (e.i. if I don’t write, I can’t buy food or pay my rent), but a lot of it has to do with an innate desire to tell stories through my writing. And there’s the desire to want to improve my writing so I can improve my livelihood and get the personal satisfaction of knowing my writing has touched other people.

  11. says

    I’m simple: I’m motivated because I love to write. Every morning I write three pages before I even think about work, and I hate it if I miss it. Most of those morning pages are trash, so freelancing gives me a venue to demand more of myself and produce quality work.

    Besides, I like fooling people into thinking I’m an accomplished author. When I tell them I write, they say “Oooohh, who carries your books? Are you in Fiction or Non-Fiction?”. I just giggle.

  12. says

    I would say that points 1 and 5 apply to me. I’m motivated by things that give me a sense of fulfillment and as thenumber mentioned above, a large part of that comes from the thrill of helping my clients succeed.

  13. says

    My real motivation was to venture on my own to build a company of sorts. I was not having much time to update my skills and read blogs in a day job. I wanted to meet people and get to know them.

    Does the freedom you have as a freelancer drive you to work hard?
    Are you working because of the stability and value you can create?

    I think the answer to both these questions sump up my motivation: freedom to choose clients; personal reputation by adding value.

  14. says

    After surviving two gruelling survival fights with breast cancer and being in a wheelchair from a fall, it’s easy to jump out of bed each morning excited.

    Excited to be able to walk.
    Excited to be able to walk through the day without much pain.
    Excited about the possibilities of what the day may bring.

    Since attraction is the result we receive. When we send out the right energy, that too shall return.

    This is motivation. It begins from within, extends out, and returns.

  15. says

    Your post gives us a great reason to pause for a moment and take stock in what is truly important to use and what does motivate us to keep reaching and growing. For me the motivation stems from the desires to 1) Spend more time playing with my husband and children, 2) Help other people achieve their definition of success through helping them build their business.

    I feel very fortunate to be able to support my family by doing what I love – design, and to be able to help entrepreneurs build their businesses with brands others envy. I also feed my passion for teaching designers business and marketing strategies they can use to double their business through The Graphic Designer’s Business Blueprint at

  16. says

    * Are you motivated by the promise of future success and prosperity? Yes, but sometimes it’s hard to find immediate motivation in a future promise.

    * Does the freedom you have as a freelancer drive you to work hard? YES. That freedom is present right here and now, and it feels magnificent.

    * Are you working because of the stability and value you can create? I guess, but this hadn’t really occurred to me.

    * Are you driven out of fear or dislike of working for someone else? I guess this is the flip side of #2, but it still applies! :)

    * Do you work hard because you love your work and want to do more? YES. I feel like my business is not just an extension of my skills and talent, it’s kinda like a mission. I have a sense of affection and hope for everyone out there, and I want to put that into action by helping them get Sorted.

    Good questions in this post! (And good comments, too.)

  17. says

    The key motivators in my work life, my family and a need for income, are also my key stressors in many ways…dual-incentives to keep driving myself toward my goal of being able to take care of my family. Of course, that would suffice for any job. It is the insatiable need to create, and the desire to have as much time as possible at home with my family that drives me in my writing career.

  18. Pantelis Vratsalis says

    That’s a quite hard question Mason :)

    But…being in the process of starting to work as a freelancer after 4 and a half years in the cubicle, I guess that freedom to create value for a client rather than just generating revenue is quite important to me.

  19. says

    What motivates me as a young freelancer is the experience I get from freelancing and how it will look great to a college. I plan on sticking with freelancing for as long as I can so I can get the experience I need for getting a real, long-time job for a design firm or something like that. It helps me already jump into my career and says “Hey, I already know what I’m doing. I’ve known it since I was 12.”

    Without freelancing and jumping straight into web design & development, I wouldn’t be where I am now and who I am now. Motivation brought me here and I’m not letting that go.

  20. says

    Relying on my own means to make a living and better future for myself…

    I don’t want to work forever, but I do want to like what I do for work. Gaining knowledge and feeling good about what I’ve built over time keeps me motivated. Hitting goal-markers too.

  21. says

    What motivates me is making a difference in smaller companies marketing strategy and performance. With my past experience i can help smaller and medium companies achieve a more than expected result which companies like IBM get after spending millions in their marketing plan.

    Nothing like clients listing to ur opinion, ideas n creative input before undertaking any creative activity. I feel making a website and other creative projects are easy to do as, given a chance, anybody with creative bend of mind and knowledge can do it. But the real issue is applying the designs to the business side which only an experienced person can understand.

    Client’s marketing budget : few thousand $
    your creative input : some part of few thousand $
    client satisfaction n faith in ur abilities : priceless

  22. Antwon Davis says

    What motivates me is knowing that I have the creativity, the ideas, and the chops to continuously add value to other people as a freelancer. I know that as I meet more unique people and take on more clients as a freelance graphic designer and creative, I’ll not only be able to continue doing what I love most, but I’ll be able to learn and grow in the process. It’s the opportunity to create something new, to launch a new idea and challenge the process that motivates me.

  23. says

    Pain of my heart is the motivation for me…The insults which are kept in my mind to determine the changes on the voices which were blamed me…I like to gain the passion not the violation….this is motivating me..keep sharing.

  24. says

    Wow people are still posting their thoughts. I’ll add my two cents worth, a piece of ancient wisdom which is very motivating to me and which says, “Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty. Open your eyes, and you will have plenty of bread.” If I just get out of bed in the morning and do some work things will be ok. But the minute I start getting lazy is when things start going downhill.

  25. says

    What motivates me is not only the freedom of freelancing but also the people I met. Unfortunately, as a freelancer, is easier to skip the schedule and loose time by getting distracted by family, internet …

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