This is a post from a member of the Freelancers Union community. If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, your story, or some advice you think will help a fellow freelancer out, feel free to send your blog post to us here.
Many people choose freelancing as a form of income because it matches their lifestyle, particularly regarding desired working conditions. The ability to make your own choices about what clients you work with and projects you work on is an important value-based decision for many freelancers. But there are other areas where working for yourself can allow you the freedom to live by and promote values you find important. Below are some examples.
Work-life balance is one of the most important aspects of many freelancers’ lives, but it’s also an area where many people fall short. You start out thinking about how great it will be to set your own hours, and then you spend all your time with friends answering work emails. But by actively managing your work-life balance, you can:
• Outline specific business hours in your marketing materials and only communicate within those hours
• Have separate devices and/or accounts for business and personal use. This is also useful for tax purposes and liability with privacy concerns
• Make it clear to clients that family time is off-limits and to family that work time is “Do not disturb except in emergencies”
One of the biggest benefits of being an independent freelancer is that you have complete control (within legal limits) of absolutely everything you use in your business. You can easily choose environmentally-minded materials and practices without worrying about office politics, company partnerships, or other bureaucratic nightmares. This can include:
• Using paperless invoicing
• If you do print, using environmentally friendly inks and paper
• Setting up a recycling system that works best for you
• Fundraising in ways that focus on the environment
• Choosing eco-friendly promotional materials that align with your environmental values
As a freelancer, you can get to call all the shots as to:
• What hours you work
• What clients you accept
• What type of work you want to represent you
Of course, that doesn’t mean these decisions are always easy. Sometimes, you’ll have more work than you can accomplish during work hours, and you might feel the need to make up for it. Sometimes you’ll want to take a client for the money even if you don’t love everything about their products and business.
But you get to make those decisions for yourself. If you want to make a strong statement about your views on autonomy, you can do that by creating strong vision and mission statements about how you work with clients and how you feel personal interactions should be.
Many freelancers want the freedom to travel and work with people of varied backgrounds. In order to show that this is a value of yours, you can take steps to make your business accessible and relatable to people regardless of their culture and location. This can look like:
• Making sure your website is easily translatable and has proper captioning options for people with impaired vision
• Portraying people diversely in your marketing materials
• Specifying what country and time zone you are in so people can plan accordingly
• Not assuming default lifestyles, genders, or races in any of your promotional materials or service descriptions
There are lots of ways freelancers can live by their values and showcase them to the world. What business choices do you make that are value-based?
Jeriann Ireland is a writer, crafter, and entrepreneur near Boise, Idaho. For more of her writing, check out her blog, dairyairhead.com