* Working on projects that interest me
* Greater earnings than a 9-5
Some people want to increase their earning potential. Some people want to start an empire. Others are simply looking for a way to spend more time with friends and family. Still others may start freelancing for an entirely different reason.
Every freelancer has a set of goals that is unique to them. The beauty of freelancing is that with a little talent and a lot of hard work, it’s likely that you can achieve your goals as a freelancer.
That’s why today we’re asking you about your unique set of goals. We’d like to hear:
Why did you become a freelancer?
Your answer could be one of the reasons I listed above, a combination of reasons, or something that I haven’t even thought about.
Share your answers in the comments.
Image by Andi Sidwell
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* Working on projects that interest me
* Greater earnings than a 9-5
I had begun to shine my own shoes-doing a good job of it, and, what’s more, enjoying it. Folks took notice. Then someone asked me if I would shine his shoes for a dime. (A dime was big money in those days-It would buy the daily newspaper, a double scoop of ice cream, and there’d be two pennies left for Fleers’ Double Bubble gum.) A lightbulb went off in my mind. My Father was good with carpentry, and, at my request, constructed a small wooden box to contain supplies for the job: various sorts of polish-black, brown, clear, oxblood, both in wax and liquid form-a few brushes, and the appropriate cloths. The “handle” of the box also served as a footrest-”Just hoist your foot up there and be at rest & I’ll take on your shoes one at a time.”
I would set up “shop” on the sidewalk outside the Acme Grocery Store, or one of the two movie theatres then in Marcus Hook, Pa. (The Globe & The Congress) -
That was my first “business.”
And that’s how I became a businessman (or, in more recent parlance, an Entrepreneur.) or a freelancer – whether shining shoes, or writing, it is the same – I began writing and then one day I got a letter from Anais Nin asking if she could publish some of my writing as part of an upcoming book. That’s my freelance story, or part of it.
More anon about “The Joys FreeLancing”
Being able to chose with whom I want to work instead having to put up with team members that I never would have hired if the decision was up to me. And being able to have a dog (and maybe children one day) and actually be there and spend time with him. Best decision ever. My dog is worth every phone call with every annoying customer.
When I was a student back then, the main reason was my tough financial allowance. However, I came to realize that I’m liking the job as a freelancer for the reason of holding my own time and better income if I were to be an employee. Just like Julian Joshephs said, Greater earnings than a 9-5.
Main reason was: Worked hard in college, got the 4.0, then the job market after I graduated was a huge letdown. Pay was low, too many small companies lacked vision or even knew web standards, and the recession had just begun. It took a while, but I finally landed a job. Going through all that, and then losing my job when the company soon went under, was just a huge motivation dampener. All the jobs that I managed after that were nightmares (in one position I went from May – December with no pay). Then I ended up having major surgery, so I just felt like I had to rely on myself.
Other reasons include: Wanting to choose my hours, guaranteed holidays off, and specializing in exactly what I want to do.
I started freelancing to help make ends meet after leaving my job to stay home with my daughter. Things really picked up, so I’m thrilled to continue freelancing now that she’s in school, instead of trying to find a graphic design job after being out of the loop for 5 years.
Very inspiring! I love hearing how other freelancers got their start.
We freelancers are a resilient bunch…
Great comments! Keep them coming. :)
Accidentally. I got asked to write copy for a website when I was finishing a year-long animal behaviour course, and needed the money, so happily did it. Then there were no jobs out there for me (animals, writing, or anything I was qualified to do), so I decided to create one for myself and write freelance.
Three years ago someone asked me to write web content paid me and the gateway to making extra money opened!
Because I want more control and I want more freedom. My biggest inspiration had to do with not wanting to work for a boss or conform to a corporate lifestyle of dress, politics or ethics.
The freelance lifestyle allows me to take on the work I love the most, and connect personally to interesting people. I can turn down work I don’t want, I can pursue a niche that lights me up. I can have MANY jobs. Artist, writers, dance instructor, dog owner, martial artist…
Make my own schedule, work in a comfortable environment – at HOME. I can set my own schedule so I can decide what’s most important to me.
Depending on where one’s coming from but I believe it’s usually a combination borne out of curiosity and necessity.
Curiosity – bored of a typical 9-5 job, hating the boss and management etc
Necessity – retrenchment, unable to work in large groups etc
Most importantly, once you’re out there, you belong to a totally different community and network. It’s important to behave responsibility in order to protect the dignity and image of your new world since your living now depends on it.
i want to develop, develop and develop my skill, because much various project, and various client will rapidly making designer growth fast and regular.
of course, learn to get much friend, link, client. and to be superstar
I work full-time in government web space and there’s too much meddling in my professional role. Freelancing is good for the soul, helps friends and colleagues who are overburdened and want to shift a portion of their dev work sideways. If I get to realise my freelance goal (a mere 8 days a month) then they’ll be more time to do community work too through permaculture design.
I got made redundant from the Financial Times in 1991 and several friends with small agencies asked me to help out on a freelance basis as they were snowed under with work. So I did. Then I decided I liked the freelance life, so here I am 20 years later – still a freelancer.
I’ve worked mostly for various various business publications, as writer and editor. I was laid-off in early 2009 when a magazine (I was managing editor) went belly-up. I’ve been freelancing ever since. It has been a struggle financially but the most fulfilling, fun and satisfying work I’ve done. At my age and at this latter stage of my career I don’t expect that I’ll be hired as an FTE anywhere — so freelancing is my best option. I feel lucky that I am able to make a go of it, well sort of a go of it anyway.
Another pushed into freelancing story here. I would day dream of freelancing then my wish came true when hard financial times hit the company I worked for in 2009 and a couple of us were “made redundant”. Wouldn’t have it any other way.
I started freelancing because there was no way I was going to put my infant in day care. That was 11 years ago. I made it work because the alternative was unthinkable at least to me. I stayed freelancing because I can’t ever see myself having a boss ever again. I love the variety in projects, the ability to fire clients (and I’ve done so), having control over my day. Most importantly, being available to my kids as needed.
Plus I really suck at office politics. When it’s an office of two, there’s no politics :-)
All of you guys are so inspiring. :)
I love reading these “real life” stories about how folks got started as freelancers.
Freelancing is not a profession but a way of life. I have never worked for anyone and this I inherited from my dad who was a freelance photo journalist and covered almost all world events that he wanted to. So there is a lot of fun in being your own boss and do what you love most every single day of your life.
I worked for the family company that went to the wall, So i started making money freelancing while i looked for a new job, Then the thing that really decided was one job i’d had 2 interviews for and done a test, they when wanted me to do another test and another interview, for a job that was less than i was earning doing the freelancing. So after telling the recruitment people were to stick the 3rd interview and 2nd test. I decided to give freelancing ago 2 years later still doing well, some months are harder than others.
The main reason I become a free lancer was because I always wanted to work on my own terms and pace , to me I don’t take this as a job but just a way to supplement my lifestyle
I started out for a few reasons. Primarily because I was sick of working for companies and with people that had no idea when it came to the web. I didn’t have the authority in my role to guide or lead (despite being the senior), only to make recommendations that were generally ignored in favour of the HIPPO effect (Highest Important Paid Persons Opinion). The second biggest factor was the desire to have the creative freedom and be in a position to apply what I know without the nonsense of office politics. I’m so much happier now that I don’t need report to someone else or deal with HIPPO’s.
How is everybody going about health care? For a lot of you I assume your spouse has you covered. But I’m assuming some of you are single (or divorced like me) and don’t have coverage due to the prohibitively expensive HMO costs.
I’m curious to hear your stories, tips and advice.
Ended up in a foreign country where I couldn’t speak the language.
Had the ability / software and hardware to design documents and things for other people.
Had to be at home to look after a small child.
After more than 20 years in the communications field and many, many years contemplating it, I jumped ship into freelancing in 2009 and haven’t looked back since. My friends ask me if I miss the office environment and I absolutely do not. I think because it was a dream of mine for so long that’s why it is so fulfilling. I admit, it was a very calculated, thought out move. I have three children and was traveling non-stop for business and missing too much of their lives. Financially the time was right and thanks to my incredibly supportive husband who encouraged me I did it. I do not make a ton of money but it’s fine with me. I’m satisfied with the work I’m doing and am ecstatic that I always have projects in the hopper. The combination of steady business and future assignments is perfect. I wouldn’t trade this for anything in the world. I have officially left the 9-5 world behind and I’m not looking back!
I believe most freelancers have different reasons but also most of us have a couple of common ones.
It’s kind of hard to answer your question because I’m not a full time freelancer, not yet anyway. I guess the main motivator behind my freelancing work was money… yes I know it sounds awful but bear with me. Some of you said that you make more money by freelancing than you would with your 9-5. The same goes for me, the difference is, I guess, that my freelancing hourly wage is about 6 times bigger than my usual wage at work (I don’t live in USA and most of my freelancing work is for international clients including USA, UK, AU…) so you can image why money is a big motivation.
But it’s not just the money. Money is just a “device” which enables people to be free and this is actually my main goal, to be free in terms of working hours, projects, clients etc…
The only question left unanswered is: when should I switch to full time freelancing :)
I wish I could become a freelancer. Too many bills and not enough guaranteed income prevent me from doing it.
I want to work at my own phase :) with no pressure from the “boss”.
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