What it means to be a freelancer?

What it means to be a freelancer?

Freelance is an interesting word.
Are you full-time? Are you part-time? Are you self-employed? Are you an entrepreneur?
It’s like looking at a spork and say, “What are you?” “A fork?” “A spoon?”
Dictionary.com defines freelance,
a person who contends in a cause or in a succession of various causes, as he or she chooses, without personal attachment or allegiance.
“As he or she chooses” is a huge part of freelancing, but I would argue with “without personal attachment or allegiance”
Yes, we have choices. The ability to choose the work that you enjoy and fulfills you.
If you do choose by this standard, be careful with your “yes” and “no”.
Whenever you say “yes” to a client, you will be bestowed the responsibility to carry out your words.
Therefore, you are willingly participating in the project that you care about.
Over time, you will become in love with your craft and become personally attached.
When I was starting to freelance, I was not careful with my “yes” and “no”. I wanted to get paid and prove to my friends and family that I can make a living freelancing.
Without focusing on what I wanted, I scoured the entire internet to find jobs that I can do. I know Chinese, Japanese and English, so I dove into translation. I did translation for all kinds of cases, audio transcription, video subtitle translation, on-site translation, medical document translation, speech recognition training, etc.
Few months into it, I did get paid, but I was not very happy. Translating documents became very tedious and repetitive. And most importantly, it was taking time away from what I really wanted to develop,  skill in computer programming. Then I decided to hire myself to do a website, because my skills weren’t good enough for the market, shutting down the whole translation operation, I took learning and developing myself as a full-time job.
Opportunities appeared after I had a website to show, then it led me to start doing freelancing as a software engineer.
Because I consciously chose to pursue this route, I enjoy the projects that I am involved in and the responsibilities that comes with it.
Freelancing is often associated with freedom. The freedom to do whatever you want, but that freedom comes with responsibilities. Responsibility to choose what’s right for you and the client. Responsibility to follow through your promises.
If you find yourself already doing freelancing and not happy with it, identify what’s making you unhappy and what would you rather do?
Once you decide, finish your current commitments and go pursue that route you designed. Go forward and have faith in your craft.

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