To be perfectly honest, I really never thought I’d make it as a freelancer. There’s so much uncertainty around the role, so many worries about income, I didn’t, at the beginning, see how I could make this work.
Fast forward a little over five years. I’m still at it, with a growing client list, and a growing bank account. I’m even working for an actual journalistic publication, which makes my college degree so very happy.
The idea of freelancing has changed, I’ve changed, and I see this career choice as so much more than an in-between opportunity. To sum up my personal update, before I even really begin, I was meant to freelance.
FIVE YEARS AGO THIS MONTH
Five years ago this month, we were headed to Charleston for spring break. I had just lost my job, but had enough severance to keep financially contributing to my family for a while. I was going to take a break, a whole month off, and not work. I deserved the down time I could grab between mom responsibilities.
That lasted for about a week.
I made my first contact while on vacation. An old colleague of mine had referred me, and to prove myself, I had an assignment to complete while at the beach. I haven’t looked back since that first assignment, rarely taking a day off no matter what.
As a freelancer, there’s always something you can do.
WHERE I'M AT TODAY
While that first client of mine still pops up every now and again, today, my regular client list is up to 11. I’m definitely working more than part-time, but I’m still setting my own hours and only accepting projects that I want to do.
I’ve given up on having weekends where I don’t squeeze in at least a few hours of work, but I honestly don’t know what I’d do with that time otherwise. I still grab lunch with friends some weekdays, do most of my errands while my kids are at school, and keep us caught up on laundry. I even manage to take a book and read for a solid 45 minutes every Monday while waiting for my daughter to finish gymnastics.
Sometimes, it’s still stressful, but I’m proud of the career I’ve built and can’t imagine things being any different for me at this point in my life.
WHERE I WANT TO GO
I’m not sure if I can answer this question. Ultimately, I’d like to go to an early retirement, where, once an empty nester, I can travel, see movies at noon on a Wednesday, and make spur-of-the-moment plans. I feel like, doubling up as a freelancer and stay-at-home mom, I’m working longer days than most people who go to an office. I’m definitely juggling enough to fill a 40-hour work week and then some. Early retirement can be my reward.
For my career, I want to keep writing, and the best way to do that, for me, is to keep freelancing. As the world has shifted from freelancers being in the minority to a whole gig economy emerging, my possibilities have greatly increased. Not only am I already poised to work on an assignment-by-assignment basis, but I’m good at what I do.
That potential, and my love of working, will most likely keep me in the freelancing game for quite a while. As long as I keep getting to meet interesting people, and work in different industries where I’m learning new things, I can see myself happily sitting at my computer each day, typing away.