I started my freelance career back in 2003 and have stayed that way ever since. My decision to go into a freelance work was partly incidental and partly experimental. In both cases, I felt I was prepared to take on the challenge. When the software outsourcing company I helped form closed down its operation for reasons that were entirely out of our control, I felt it was time brush the dust aside and actually take control of the situation. With years of experience and skills under my belt, exploring the freelance programming world just comes naturally for me. I thought, there could be a lot companies who would need and actually benefit from the services that I have to offer. So I made up my mind and took some action. And that means resisting the temptation to apply for a good number of attractive job offers that come my way.
Over the course of years, I have talked with several people who became freelancers like myself. I was delighted to know how we share most similar reasons why we go into our respective freelance careers. Here are some of top reasons I have collected:
1. Declaration of Independence
Different people call it with different names. Here is a sampling:
- being your own boss
- firing your boss
- being in control
- to be free as a bird
There are many names that people use to describe it, but in essence the meaning is the same: taking full responsibility for one’s professional destiny. This is perhaps the biggest reason people want venture into a freelance career. Idea of doing what you want to do and without someone (the boss) looking over your shoulder and giving your orders as he pleases.
2. Control of Time
One of the advantages freelancers have over their employed peers is the level of control they have over their time. Many freelancers choose the kind of work that allow them to work virtually any time of the day. This makes a lot sense. Some people can be very productive at some particular times of the day and feel like totally blank at other specific times. There are programmers who become animals and enter the Flow State at 10 in the evening when the neighbors are fast asleep. One strange author wakes up at 4 am as if getting inspiration from a dream. He writes a book, takes a break at 9 am and writes again until he drops at 2 PM.
Many freelancers love being in control of their time though sometimes it could mean having to work twice the amount of time they usually spend as employees.
3. Change of Career
Another reason why people go to work freelance is for a change of career. An accountant who loves drawing since he was a little child studies CorelDRAW and gets a steady flow of work from advertising agencies who like his design concepts. A farmer becomes a top-notch lawyer and enjoys working as consultant to several real estate companies.
I personally know of a very competent nurse who choose to become a chef setting aside a lucrative job his peers are enjoying abroad. Did he feel jealous of the success of his pals? Well, according to him, “never.” He is doing the real love of his life: cooking.
An interesting hobby, a passion to do something different, or an intrinsic motivation for self-expression are usually the deciding factors to change careers. The decision usually leads to the feeling of fulfillment for doing something that is dear to one’s heart.
4. Financial Rewards
Being an employee gives one the feeling of security that comes from having steady flow of salary every pay period. This is okay for most people. But for others, this is too limiting. There are people who actually believe in their heart that they can earn more if they can just get out of the current job and risk doing something else. Some people go into business while other practice their professions by being a freelancer where the income knows no bounds.
Are you a freelancer or do you think of becoming one? What are some factors that attracted you in becoming a freelance professional?