Why being a freelancer is worth it

Aug 12, 2019

Imagining the situations where you don’t have a boss breathing down your neck, and no need to get up early or waste many hours traveling to and from work, can give you goosebumps. Then, you add to it the most important factors: you can do what you love, work as much as you want, with whom you want. Sounds like a fairytale, right?

Today, I am more than glad I took an opportunity and used it. But, to be perfectly honest, it wasn’t that much fun in the beginning. Oh yes, it was a struggle! After four years in the freelance community, I think I am experienced enough give my take on it — and help guide someone who’s considering this path. I promise, no sugarcoating, just facts and examples.

Finding your niche

To do a freelance job from home you need to have some idea what kind of work you could do. You should rely on your skills, experience, knowledge, interest, or even hobbies.

I always liked to write and read, and my dream was to become a writer one day. Then, I found 9-5 work and my dream slowly faded away. When I heard about freelancing, I started investigating it on the internet. I found lists and statistics about the most successful people and their yearly incomes, houses, cars, and lifestyles.

While YouTubers can make high revenues, it doesn't happen for everyone. You have to be able to dream and stay realistic at the same time.

Year one

During my first year, I was moonlighting, and can clearly remember that those days were mostly painful and exhausting for me. Willingness to learn was the most important fuel, and I tried very hard to keep it alive at all times.

Also encouraging was the fact that I could write and be creative, work on topics I'd never worked before, and cooperate with experts. I could feel my knowledge growing, brick by brick, and my confidence along with it. By challenging myself, I was able to constantly push forward. When in doubt, I would think about the independence and freedom at the end of the road. Strangely enough, repeating the meaning of the word “freelancer” helped me to overcome any moments of weakness.

Going full-time

It took me a while to be able to earn enough to make freelancing my career. I made so many mistakes negotiating before I learned how to cash my work properly. I was even tricked on a few occasions and never received the payment. Those experiences helped me learn how important is not only to be a good writer but a good entrepreneur, as well.

When you become a freelancer you will have followers, subscribers, listeners, readers or clients, and you’ll pray every day to have as many as possible. I did too. But later on, you’ll become pickier. I had to work with people who don’t know what they wanted, or didn’t know how to explain what they wanted — or with people who just don’t care for respectful communication. But I tried not to take it personally, and in time, I learned how to handle different types.

The bottom line

Freelancing made me more mature, allowed me to learn so much, and to believe in myself. It's not a secure job, as everything depends on me. I don't consider myself lucky, as it took me a while and a lot of hard work to get where I am now. If you’re wondering where it is, I am in my favorite cafe, with a beautiful view of the river and the magnificent bridge. I'm sipping my first, morning macchiato, pleasantly surrounded by everlasting Bossa Nova hit Girl from Ipanema. I have something creative and new to do today and I feel good.

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 us your blog post.

Matt Robinson

Matt is a technical writer, translator, data-driven strategist, and a passionate storyteller.