In the aid of fairness and all that, the other day I talked about three reasons not to freelance. So today I’ve decided to talk about three reasons for freelancing. Why? Because, in spite of all my grumbles and complaints about unfairness and poor pay checks, I actually really love what I’m doing here.
Sure, it’s not as profitable as an “ordinary” job so far, but I know that I could never be happy in a retail customer service role; I could never be happy repeating the same year, the same month, the same week, the same day, over and over again, year in and year out at an ordinary job. I know what they all say about every day being slightly different and having different challenges but to me, it’s still too similar.
I love a good challenge. I need a good challenge. And freelance writing is that challenge. I’m honing my customer service and public relations skills, I’m learning about financing and invoices, I’ve increased my typing speed from 50 wpm to 60 wpm in 6 months… the list goes on of all these little things I’ve achieved that I never thought I could so. It’s been a real confidence booster for me but that’s just a bonus.
Here are the real reasons freelance work appeals to me:
This was the biggest draw card for me seven months ago when I first discovered online freelance writing. I was a full-time student at university here in New Zealand, and I needed a little extra money coming in to help ease the bills a little. At first I was actually rather sceptical and hesitant about taking the leap because I didn’t know which sites were scams and which weren’t.
In the end though, I decided that since I couldn’t find a “real” job, I’d take the leap and try a few sites that were free to sign up. I read the terms and conditions for each very carefully to make sure there were no hidden costs to come back and bite me and took the plunge.
What freelancing has allowed me to do is continue to have a life while still making a bit of money. Remember, I was a university student – I really wasn’t making much. Now that I think about it I was probably studying 20 hours a week and working on my freelancing for a similar timeframe and maybe earning $50 per week once I average it out across the weeks I didn’t earn anything. I was happy with that though – people were taking me on as a relative unknown; I had no established portfolio, I had no samples to show, I had nothing.
Flexibility of your schedule has meant I don’t have to apologise to anyone when I took Tuesday last week to continue moving house. I don’t have to apologise if I want to take half a day out to attend a craft group, no apologies for turning up to work late, and no apologies for falling asleep at work. (This is not to say I don’t get any work done – I get plenty done around my other commitments, but say, if you’re a mother, you can go to your child’s school play without having to beg your boss to take a day off; you are the boss.)
Choose Your Own Pay (almost)
I know, I know, I said last time that there are clients out there who expect to pay a pittance for a lot of work. But I realised today that what I said then could give a bad impression – I have had plenty of clients who are willing to pay a decent wage for good work. My first client was one such.
I submitted a proposal on a whim, thinking I really had nothing to lose – I wanted a job and I wanted to write. I set the price at $100 for 1000 words. In my naivety I had set a price that a lot of far more experienced writers than I would still not ask, even though it is a fair wage. Surprisingly, I got the job and my client was extremely pleased.
My lesson to take away from this is: don’t sell yourself short. If you’re a good writer, clients should pay the price and there are many who are willing to do just that. It’s about having standards and sticking to them even when the going seems rough. Set your price and stick to it.
Work from home
Possibly the most enjoyable aspect of freelancing for me is the ability to work from anywhere. I love to work from home and I will often be so lazy as to pick up my laptop and start working before I even crawl out of bed in the morning (I wake up around 9 am). My work during the day is rather leisurely because there are far too many distractions such as cooking and cleaning and arranging my furniture and belongings still in boxes from moving.
It is in the evening and at night that I get the most work done, when the house begins to fall quiet and I can sit on my bed, since my desk is buried in junk, and work on writing a website or proofreading and editing a manuscript or whatever my work happens to be that day. I don’t have to spend money on nice clothes for work for the most part, I don’t have to pay for petrol or public transport to get to the office each day – I’m there already.
There are many more positives and negatives to being a freelancer, but to me, the positives far outweigh the negatives or I wouldn’t be still doing this seven months on from when I began. The road has been bumpy, it has been difficult and there are many different skills to learn and hone. It’s one constant challenge on which I can thrive and grow, and that is what matters to me.
Can you think of any other positives I’ve missed? What experiences have you had? Share in the comments.