I have been advocating the freelance lifestyle on this blog for some time. I am genuinely happy with my work as a freelancer and I think a lot of other people would be happy as freelancers. I also advocate freelancing in person and if we meet and talk you’ll find out! I wanted to share a few stories about friends who have recently made the transition to freelancing and what their experience has been like. (All names changed to protect the innocent).
I met Steve in my Thai class in Bangkok. Steve is a web developer and had been working for a web agency in Bangkok for a couple of years. A couple of months ago Steve messaged me. He had just been told he was probably going to be made redundant because the company was bankrupt. On top of that his girlfriend had recently become pregnant so he was understandably nervous! He knew I was a freelancer and wanted to talk to me about what it was like.
We met up for a beer and discussed the freelancing lifestyle, how to get clients and what rates to charge. He was a bit worried about how long it would take for him to ramp up his business as babies are not inclined to wait while their fathers get their finances in order!
I recently met up with Steve again and was delighted to hear that he was happier than he’d ever been at work. In his own words he’ll “never go back”. Steve had teamed up with his colleague and formed a partnership. They got in touch with all the contacts they had made and found a few clients who wanted to work with them. Steve is now working half the hours that he used to and making the same money. He is also at home to help his girlfriend and he can’t wait to spend lots of time with his baby when it arrives.
Paula and I have been friends since high school. Paula is a graphic designer by day and an artist by night. She worked for years in very high pressure work environments and was always super stressed. Last year she quit her job and decided to start working freelance. She wanted to earn enough by freelancing 50% of the week that she could afford to spend the other 50% focusing on her art.
I met up with Paula last weekend and she looked happier than I had seen her in a long time. She had used the contacts she made during her salaried career to pick up 2 big businesses as regular clients. These 2 clients pay her well enough that she can work half her time and create art the rest of the time. She is renting a studio where she goes on days that her clients don’t have work for her. She seems extremely happy and I am glad to see my friend looking relaxed and healthy.
What’s Your Point?
Freelancing is awesome!
In seriousness, I think this is demonstrative of the world we live in now. The opportunities for freelancing are many and the flexibility enables people to have more control over their lives. The 2 examples here were enabled by contacts made during a salaried career, and that is definitely an advantage. That said, contacts of any kind are beneficial. My main takeaway is to focus on talking to people and making more contacts. You never know where your next opportunity may come from.
If you would like to know more about getting started freelancing get in touch.