When I meet other freelancers at networking events and talk to people about becoming a freelancer, they often ask why I became a freelancer. What made me switch from a traditional, employed job with a regular income to something risky and unstable? So today I’ll let you in on why I decided to become a freelancer…
Why I first started freelancing
When I graduated, I applied for an employed job, because that’s what you do right? You get a 9-5 job, you pay the bills. That’s what I thought back then. I hadn’t even heard of freelancing, let alone considered it as a career path. But I knew I wanted to work in publishing—and employed opportunities to do that were practically zero where I lived. So, I started freelancing without really realising that’s what I was doing. I started editing in the evenings and at weekends, and I built up a freelance client base. But my aim was to gain experience of editing so I could bag a job at a publisher.
Why I stopped freelancing
Eventually, my freelance experience landed me my dream editorial job at a small, niche book publisher. I spent a few years working in the fast-paced, exciting world of publishing alongside fellow bookworms. And I stopped freelancing for the most part, aside from a few ongoing clients, because it was tiring working on books all day only to go home and do the same thing. So I largely forgot about freelancing, and it gathered dust on the shelf.
Why I started freelancing (again)
After a few years, I quit my dream job to travel the world for a year for my husband—as a very extended and incredible honeymoon. I packed my laptop and a few clothes into a small rucksack and became a digital nomad for a while. For that year, I worked on the road, in forests, beside lakes, on beaches, and wherever I found WiFi and a plug socket. I’d kept hold of some of my ongoing clients and found some new ones, and through that I earned enough to fund our travels further.
Why I nearly stopped freelancing…again
Although I’d dabbled with freelancing as a side hustle for years and freelanced while travelling, when we got back home (with no money, I might add)—I automatically started applying for traditional employed jobs again. I still didn’t feel like freelancing offered a sustainable, stable income and career path, so I applied for in-house jobs and even considered returning to the publisher. Within long, I was offered a full-time editorial job at a marketing agency that paid well, so I accepted.
Why I became a full-time freelancer
I should have been relieved at getting a job, but that night I couldn’t sleep (which was strange because I’m basically a sloth). I felt like I was making a mistake, so I called the company first thing and politely declined the offer to instead pursue freelancing as a full-time career. I thought my family and friends would think I was crazy for turning down a solid, reliable job in favour of something completely intangible. But thankfully, they were very supportive of my dreams—as one would hope their loved ones are. That said, even I was a little worried about my risky move and had freelance fears.
Where I am now
Three years later, I’m so glad I turned that job down! Although the first six months of my freelance career were a real struggle, I now have my dream job of being a nonfiction book editor and a freelance lifestyle that offers a way better work-life balance than any office job ever did. I get to work from home every day with my cat, control my own time, manage my own life, and pursue my own goals. Basically, I’m free to do what I want with my life, my time, and my career, and that’s pretty amazing.
Why did you decide to become a freelancer? Was your freelance journey straightforward or meandering like mine? Comment below or get in touch.