As a freelancer, I often get asked “Why do you freelance?” or something along those lines. What they probably mean is “Why on earth don’t you get a real job?” You see, to a non-freelancer, it can look pretty crazy to willingly ditch a secure, employed job in favour of something with no job security, no paid pension, no sick pay, and no annual leave. But for me, the lack of these things is far outweighed by the benefits that freelancing offers.
What’s so great about freelancing, you might wonder? Well, the major thing is that it gives me control over my life and my time. Perhaps I’m a bit of a control freak, but I’m willing to bet that many people would like more control over their lives—even if they don’t realise it. I was in that boat once, and I complained about the symptoms of lack of control, without realising the underlying cause or the solution.
Before becoming a full-time freelancer, I spent years working for organisations where I moaned about getting up early, annoying colleagues, boring team meetings, the measly lunch break, the communal fridge, the office cold, the dress code, the battle to open and close the window, and the countdown of how many days holiday I had left. All of these things are irritants, sure. But what they’re symptoms of is the underlying lack of control you get in employed jobs.
When you work for an organisation, to some degree, they control what hours you work, what work you do, when you need to do the work by, where you do the work, the working environment, what you can wear to work, and so on. Most of the things you do are under someone else’s control—perhaps your boss, the MD, or HR.
Even in jobs where there was flexible working, casual dress codes, and occasional homeworking, I still felt a lack of control over my daily tasks, my long-term goals, and my future. Perhaps you’ve felt like this too? For many people, of course, having job security is more important than having control over these aspects of their working lives. Especially if they have a responsibility to provide for others. I completely understand that.
So even if people don’t understand why I might want to be a freelancer, I appreciate the control and freedom it gives me. I love that I can work the hours I want to work, and choose the work I do. I can work from anywhere in the world, and have done. I can work from my garden all summer, blast the heating all winter, and wear a onesie if I want to (to clarify, I don’t). Because I control every aspect of how I work, I can make my life the way I want it to be. Not my boss, or the MD, or anyone else. Just me.
Oh, and I get to hang out with my cat all day, which is awesome.
What do you love about freelancing? Want to become a freelancer?