In a follow up to my last post, I want to offer the flip side to freelancing. You know, the good part.
This week has been one of the best week’s I’ve had, work-wise, since I started my own writing business. Everything came together, lots of interesting projects that stretched my skills and allowed me to learn new things, and clients who appreciate both my work and my status as a self-employed person (a/k/a they pay me right away).
These are all very good things. They make me feel successful in this endeavor. And success is important for many reasons.
I don’t want to jinx anything, but I do want to offer up some of the positives that make freelancing worthwhile.
You decide what to work on. Even if you’ve never officially done something before, you can always give it a try and see how it goes. For me it was doing some graphic design work. My clients usually hire me to write witty prose. I deliver the words and they take it from there. I’ve dabbled a bit in graphic design for personal projects, and I have worked as a team with a superstar graphic designer in the past, but she did the heavy lifting. So when I had a new client ask me to do some layout & design on a piece, I only hesitated a minute before I agreed to give it a shot. Since I knew there would be a learning curve, I offered to do the first design project gratis. The end product I created for the client turned out really well. He was happy and so was I. He got a cool marketing piece and I strengthened my design skills to the point where I will add graphic design to the services I offer. The point of this story? The freedom I have to pick and choose what I do is endless. If I had worked for a traditional employer, I may not have the freedom to venture into a new skill set at my discretion.
You learn new things. Besides learning new software programs (see above), I constantly get to learn about topics I otherwise would never explore. This week I’ve researched and written about everything from exploding smokes to tax-deferred real estate investments. And a lot in between. Besides making me interesting at cocktail parties, this random knowledge gives me insight into what is happening in the world. A big deal to someone who spends A LOT of time alone, holed up in a home office on a tiny rock floating about in the English Channel.
My schedule is mine. There is a priceless quality to knowing that if I want to sleep ’til 10:00 a.m. (I never do), I could. If I want to schedule a hair appointment at 2:00 p.m. on a Tuesday, I can do that, too. If I can’t sleep? I can get up and finish a client project at 4:00 a.m. if I am so inclined. Writer’s block? I can go for a run or engage in some retail therapy anytime. I think that this is the best part of freelancing. It isn’t to say I don’t work a 40+ hour week. I do. Many more hours than that, actually. It is just that I can work those hours when it works best for me. Of course, if you’re not particularly disciplined, this sort of freedom may not work very well for you. But if I’m anything, it is focused and organized, so I’m doing fine.
Now I think I will print this and post it in my office, so I can review it when the next rough patch of freelancing comes around. And it will. It always does.
But until then, life is pretty grand.