Third of Freelancers Consider Kids To Be More Important Than A Traditional Career How can freelancers act on their desires, while at the same time making sure they don't compromise their work?

By Chirag Kulkarni

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There's a revolution in the world of freelancing.

And it's not the revolution you originally thought of.

The first revolution happened in 2008 when the financial crash happened. It threw many people into a world of freelancing in the first place, as their previously solid careers melted away around them. By 2020, 40% of the American workforce are expected to be freelancers.

It's no surprise that, according to a survey from the freelance network Toptal, 91% of freelancers are from Generation X.

They eclipse both millennials and Baby Boomers, indicating that most freelancers are those who were displaced with the financial crash. Traditional careers are on their way out, but most people are not in this for an alternative career. They are in this for the kids.

A Desire to Spend Time with Children

Toptal is an organization of freelance designers and software engineers. They host events all over the world to help freelancers connect. They are also dedicated to providing both mentorship and scholarship opportunities to help freelancers build their businesses from the ground up.

They surveyed 2,000 freelancers in over a 160 countries. They discovered that about a third of them have kids, and 31% of them went freelance so they could spend more time at home with their children.

It's a startling shift, and shows that priorities are changing. But actually making this work is another conundrum entirely. There's no easy way to blur the lines between a family life and a working life. With the office providing this boundary, a new level of self-discipline is required.

So how can freelancers act on their desires, while at the same time making sure they don't compromise their work?

People Have Different Approaches

While the Toptal survey didn't examine the success levels of the freelancers involved, it did take a look into how people set boundaries at home. Remarkably, the numbers don't indicate any real trend at all. Exactly 50% of freelancers have work areas where their kids aren't allowed to enter and 50% allow their kids to interact with them while working.

Outside Interaction is Important

It's easy to get carried away with your newfound freedom, but a parent who is constantly at home can negatively impact their child's development. Most freelancers recognized this in the survey because 77% said it was still extremely important for children to interact at school.
Despite more and more parents working from home, there's no indication that this is going to lead to an increase in the number of homeschooled kids and a general lack of social interaction among their peers.

Set Yourself Up for Success

It's important to set yourself up for success. 95% of respondents said they feel more productive working from home. This shows that the act of working remotely is not enough to lead to a general lack of productivity. At the same time, people need to be aware that they have to set themselves up for success, which is one of the harsh realities of being an entrepreneur.
You must create some form of designated work area. Striking the balance between supporting your children and maintaining a constant level of work is the key challenge you are going to have to overcome.

So how do you do this?

  • Create a schedule. Divide your time wisely.
  • Be flexible. You are not working conventional hours so you have to be willing to change your schedule accordingly.
  • Maintain a healthy balance between work and play. It's easy to burn out when you get fully engrossed in your work. 42% of freelancers said they take regular breaks while working long hours, and companies are changing their ways to accommodate new demands from younger workers.

A Chance for Development

Only 7% actually miss the office environment, according to the lifestyle survey. And this is why Toptal has managed to create such a tightknit community. It brings together the best of what the office has to offer with the flexibility of working from home.
Nearly every day, Toptal hosts an event somewhere in the world. Freelancers can use the freedom they have to carve out time for professional development. Toptalers are able to utilize their lifestyles to grow at a faster rate than everyone else, and that's what allows them to build successful companies.


Technology and the power of remote working has changed the way people work. The world is changing and it's happening all over the world.

How do you balance home and work life as a freelancer?

Chirag Kulkarni

CMO of Medly

Chirag Kulkarni is the CMO of Medly, a digital pharmacy in New York City.

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