Freelancing is often considered to be “too hard” or “not for everyone”.
The funny thing is these terms are often defined by well-established freelancers who are making a comfortable living from it.
I’m not sure if they’re afraid of you taking over their jobs or if it’s just plain jealousy. Because my experience of working as a freelancer for over six years has been amazing and life-changing.
Sure, freelancing can be difficult at first. It took me over 4 years to get it right. Mainly because I had no one to ask for advice.
Nothing is ever easy. But, once you get on the right path, freelancing is also one of the most rewarding careers you can ever pursue.
Here’s how freelancing changed my life.
Fewer Depression Episodes
One of the biggest benefits I’ve had from freelancing is relief from depression and anxiety.
I’ve suffered from depression and anxiety since I was a kid. And it strongly affected my entire life including my education and social interactions.
My depression got worse when I started my first job. The tight deadlines, having to respond to an angry boss, and getting harassed by other employees were all too overwhelming for me to handle. I actually quit my first job after the first day. Never went back.
The next couple of jobs weren’t too easy either. Each day I went to work my depression intensified.
I still remember the day I quit my last job. I woke up that morning, sat on my bed, and started crying. I knew I can’t live like this. It’s not worth it.
I didn’t last longer than six months at a job.
Depression is not something you can cure. You can only learn to manage it. And I’m glad to say that ever since I started freelancing, I’ve had fewer episodes.
And, more importantly, I haven’t been depressed or anxious because of my job after becoming a freelancer.
Because I love and enjoy the work I do right now.
Learned New Skills
Unlike most other people, I never look back and wonder about going back to school again. My school years are some of the worst years of my life.
However, I found a new interest in learning since I started freelancing.
Especially as a freelance writer, I was constantly challenged with learning a new topic or a subject. And I loved everything about it.
Over the years I’ve read so many books and bought a lot of online courses to learn about things that interest me. Even topics that had no connection to my work, like cosmology and photography.
In a way, this newfound interest in learning helped me to become a better freelancer. I became more confident and educated about the work I do.
If had stayed with a normal 9-to-5 job, I’d still be doing the same things every day, over and over for the rest of my life.
Learned How To Run A Business
Freelancing is a lot like running your own business.
You have to go look for clients. Get them interested in your services. Make deals. Plan projects. Process invoices. Handle taxes.
These are skills that are never taught in schools.
I even started my own web design agency after learning web design. I prepared a plan to reach hotels and businesses. And offered to design and manage websites for them.
This involved careful project planning, managing hosting servers, and sales skills. Even though the business didn’t pan out, I learned a lot from the experience. Such as negotiating, persuading clients, and proper communication.
I learned all this while freelancing.
Bought A New House
I was born into a middle-class family. We weren’t poor but we never owned our own house.
We lived in rented places. I was constantly traveling from one place to another. In fact, we’ve lived in 16 different houses since I was born. 16 houses in 30 years.
I get a stomachache when thinking about all the packing and unpacking we used to do.
Because of this experience, one of my biggest goals in life was to buy my own house.
When I started getting a decent amount of money from work, I started saving. And I finally bought a house of my own.
A place to call home. Never having to move to another place again. It’s a dream come true for me. All thanks to freelancing.
Oh, and I also bought a car too. All the years of riding my bicycle for 6 kilometers to go to the town are finally behind me.
I Got Married
In 2021, I got married to a beautiful lady. And it wouldn’t have been possible without freelancing.
In countries like Sri Lanka, the social stigmatism around careers and wealth is strong. While my wife always believed in me, I had to work hard to prove to her parents that I have what it takes to take care of and protect her.
Proving that freelancing is a good career was especially tough since the concept is still new to most people in our country. But after Covid and many people switching to work from home systems, it was clear to everyone that freelancing and remote work is the future.
This made things easier for me to prove that I’m the right track. And of course, freelancing is what helped me to pay the wedding bills as well.
Found Time To Write Books
We all have passions that we love. Whether it’s sports, reading books, or climbing mountains, it’s that thing you just love doing.
Although, once we get older we find ourselves drifting apart from our passions. Mostly because of busy jobs, family life, etc.
Not for me. I was able to find time to pursue my passion for writing because of freelancing.
Freelancing provided me with more free time to work on my passion projects. Such as writing books and blogging.
They aren’t selling like a hundred copies a week. In fact, they barely sell at all. But I don’t care. I enjoy writing and creating content. And that’s what’s important.
Over To You
I didn’t talk about these things to brag about the things I’ve achieved. I only wanted to inspire you and show you how freelancing can be a great career path for outliers, school drop-outs, and socially awkward people, like me.
I’m fairly confident that freelancing is one of the few future-proof careers you can choose.
I’m not talking about freelance work like data entry jobs and translation jobs. Those jobs can be completely replaced by an algorithm or a bot in a few years.
I’m talking about work that requires creative thinking. Something that robots can’t replicate.
Choose that path you enjoy doing and you’ll find it quite rewarding. And probably more secure than the jobs your parents want you to pursue right now.
Images via Freepik