I’ve been a half-time employee. I’ve also been a full-time employee. And since December 2013, I’m a freelance writer, editor, and translator. I’m glad I’ve spent some time in a regular working structure but I love my freelancer status and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It is so much better than a nine to five job; here’s why:
1. Freedom That urban myth that freelancers are the most free people on earth? It might be urban but it’s not a myth. It’s real. We’re free people; we’re free to live wherever we want without taking into consideration commute time (and discomfort); we’re free to travel the world over for four months if we choose to. We’re free to work on New Year’s Eve and we’re free to say no. We must bear the consequences of our decisions but that’s the point: We take the decisions.
2. Time Management To be sustainable and even make big bucks, us freelancers might need to work approximately the same amount of hours as full-time employees but we can manage our working hours the way we want to. We can spend the day at the beach and then work until five in the morning. Yes, we need to respect deadlines. Yes, staying awake until sunrise everyday is not the healthiest thing to do, but as long as we deliver, we can do whatever the hell we want with our days (and nights). Our time, our rules.
3. Risk-free I know this sounds controversial. In most developed countries, there are perks that come with full-time employment –think health insurance and other benefits - but being your own boss gives you a certain type of security. No one can force us to do something we’re reluctant to do, whether it’s writing an article that serves an advertiser’s interests or sign a very cheap-looking website with our name. We don’t risk anyone imposing a project and we don’t risk the boss’ second-generation cousin climbing the ladder instead of us.
4. Sense of self-achievement A lot of freelancers I know often ask for lower rates than what they should be getting. There seems to be a universal lack of self-confidence –and sometimes even self-shaming- in the world of freelancing; people seem to think that those who can’t work freelance, and we often ascribe to that myth. However, freelancers who know their value get a much bigger sense of self-worth than full-time employees- blame it on all those employers who take pleasure in not rewarding their employees for their individual achievements. When we’re commissioned for a project, we know it’s because of our quality work, not because we “belong” to a multinational company with downtown headquarters.