Does being freelancer set you free?

Does being freelancer set you free?

As a freelancer, you will ask this question to yourself at some point. Because the word, “freelance,” includes the word free, I certainly hope it means working freely and not for free.

What is your definition of freedom?

Everyone’s definition of freedom is different. Unless you’re Yeonmi Park who grew up in North Korea, we are already lucky to enjoy the basic freedom that we have. By the way, if you haven’t read her book, In Order to Live, I highly recommend it, because it will give you a new perspective on life.

Creative Freedom

For people like Tom Kuegler, it’s the creative freedom. As he put it in this piece,

Complete freedom from other people telling you what to work on.

This is the same reason why some software developers still write code for their side projects after coming home from their full-time developer job.

The freedom to decide what do you want to create is the most satisfying and scary thing to realize.

The irony is when we don’t have a person telling us what to create, we don’t know how to choose what we want to create.

Doing freelance work and your own projects help you make more connections between your brain.

Freedom of Choice

Freelancers can choose the clients they work with, but what if the projects are just not that interesting. The ideal situation every freelancer dream about is where the clients are great, the project is inspiring, the pay is awesome, and the expected delivery date is reasonable.

The reality is that not every criterion will fit your expectation. Sometimes you will just have to make a decision based on your financial situation.

Value is not determined by those who set the price. Value is determined by those who choose to pay it. — Simon Sinek

The main question that I ask myself before diving into a project is “If this person doesn’t pay me, do I still want to help this person?” In that way, I know that I am not just doing it for the money. At the end of the day, freelancing is all about helping another person with your skillsets.

Freedom of Time

I used to pride myself on having a flexible schedule because I am a freelancer. Then I realize the better job I did led me to more jobs and projects, which means less time.

Less time means that I need to be smarter about how I use my time. Batching similar works in groups. Remove distractions while I work. Prioritize on the issues that bubble up.

In the end, freelancing is still the “dollars for hours” game. When you stop working, the money stops. You will have more freedom on time when you decide to make less, but that goes against the basic human instinct of wanting more.

Freedom of Location

Home office? Co-working space? Cafe with free wifi?

This was the biggest reason why I wanted to learn how to code. Because when I lived in a shared-house in Taiwan, I often saw travelers with their laptops. They traveled between countries. They only needed laptops and internet to work.

What they didn’t tell you is the late conference calls or the constant messages buzzing. You will still have to meet your clients from time to time. Because you don’t want to give your client the impression that you’re “Out of sight, out of mind.”

You do save a lot of time from commuting, which I love, because public transportation in Shanghai can be a pain.

Conclusion

Freelancing gives you certain degree of freedom. It depends on what kind of freedom do you pursue. Being grateful for the opportunities at hand, we can continue to make incremental changes to our situations.

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