America's freelancing population is growing–and currently takes up over a third of the country. As more people trade in their 9-to-5 schedules for greater flexibility and variety in their careers, we want to know what it's like to make the change–the good, the bad, and the "ugh, I accidentally spent four consecutive days on my couch."
To start, we have actor, comedian and writer Bella Carter (@bellac_arter) talking about the "aha" moment that made her want to freelance, how working remote is less lonely than she expected, and the importance of building lasting professional relationships.
What made you decide to freelance? Did you make an active choice to leave a full-time job?
BC: When I was working a full-time job, I was watching a lot of creative opportunities pass me by. There were some things I had to flat out say "no" to because I knew I couldn't leave my desk for more than 15 minutes. I had a moment of clarity and realized I would never get where I wanted if I was sitting behind a desk. In order for me to advance my career, I had to make an active choice to take the plunge and pave my own way.
What surprised you about being a freelancer?
BC: Way more people freelance than you think! I am continually surprised by how many people are walking around my neighborhood, or sitting in a local coffee shop at noon on a Monday. It's super comforting to know that I'm not the only supporting myself in a non-traditional way.
What are some of the best things about being a freelancer?
BC: The freedom.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face as a freelance worker?
BC: Structure is a biggie for me. I've learned that I need to be really specific with both my long-term goals and what needs to get done on a daily basis so that I can keep moving forward.
What are some tips you can offer to people who are just starting out as freelancers, or even just thinking about the idea?
BC: No matter how much you prep for the transition from full-time to freelance, it's going to feel like a huge leap. At least, it did for me. Also, always be planting seeds and continue to water them. Enjoy making new, meaningful relationships. The people you meet today might not lead to a job tomorrow, but they might down the line, so stay in touch.
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