I’m a freelance queen. I don’t want it to sound braggy, but it’s the one thing I have done consistently since my undergrad and the only thing I’m super proud of. I started freelancing as a journalist when I was 19 since then I’ve then tried my hand at business writing, copywriting, brand writing, to now being a consultant (for most parts). For about five years now, freelance work has been the only constant in my life. Earlier, it paid for the clothes I wanted to buy for myself, the trips I took, and the parties I’d go to. In 2021, it paid for my rental deposit, fun money, and some investments.
Now, I’m no torchbearer of hustle culture. I’m accustomed to freelancing and enjoy it. I freelanced when I was doing my master’s research (the most exhausting time ever), so well, why wouldn’t I be able to do it with a full-time job? Everyone has different ways in which they want to spend their time. I like to spend some of it working for something different from my job, it keeps me active. I know the idea of working outside of your job is not the most appealing. And I know that I could be perceived as an absolute psychopath for saying this…but freelancing can actually be good for you, both mentally and financially.
This is primarily the reason why so many people do freelance. It’s a pretty valid one too. Most of us have slim savings and are trying to increase them with stronger budgets. While that’s great (stick to your budget, sis), having a bit more money really does ease things out. It goes a long way when you’re building an emergency fund or saving for a specific thing. And there isn’t much to lose here. If you have a skill, chances are someone out there needs it. All you’re doing is trading a bit of your free time for better savings. This really works out if you have financial anxiety or are stressed about saving more. Now, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Freelance gets easier when you get the hang of it when you apply some method to the madness. Some aspects of it are taxing to me even now, like outreaching and finding the right clients. Finding a client that’s on the same page as you, values your individuality and time, can be super difficult. But if you do something you enjoy for extra money, it looks like a win-win situation to me.
If I had to do just one thing everyday, for months straight, I’d definitely get burnt out quickly. Freelancing keeps work exciting in my life. I don’t think of freelancing as a hobby or a passion project, I think of it as work. Naturally, work doesn’t make us happy, but having different things to do regularly just adds excitement to your work life.
Here, I have the option of pausing something which drains me and switching to something lighter instead. Funnily enough, it helps me at my day job and vice versa. What I do as a freelancer differs from my day job. While my role there is more leadership and management-oriented, as a freelancer I write articles, consult fun startups, and even mentor high school/college students. All the other things you do add a different value in your life, and give you that confidence boost on blue days. If you’ve found the right client, freelance is even relaxing. It lets you explore the sides you wouldn’t otherwise.
The one thing that got me invested in freelance was learning. Through freelance, I’ve got to speak to people with expertise across finance, business, healthcare and so much more. You learn things you wouldn’t have the slightest clue of. Let’s say you do end up enjoying this, you’ve got a new sector or skill that you’re good at and you have the experience to explore that field.
For people in their early working years, I can’t even emphasise how good having hands-on experience in your skill and a similar industry looks like on your CV/portfolio. Not only does it increase the chances of you getting that dream job or school, but also prepares you with the skills to tackle it when you get it.
There’s only a few things that can match the security of knowing you have a strong backup in case things fail. In the possibility that you lose your job, or decide to shift jobs, it’s good to know that freelance will have your back. Sure, it might not always make the same money your day job did, but it can support you till you find something new. Moreover, it moves your eggs to different baskets. From the people you talk to, to the fun you might have at work, it’s all diverse and fresh.
The one thing we can all agree on is that networking opens a whole new avenue of jobs, gigs, and roles that you’d be able to do. Not only is it becoming increasingly essential today, but it also adds to your legitimacy. Being known and knowing people across industries, cultures, and work styles adds to what you bring to the table. I don’t even have to state this, but it all adds to your value. What networking does on a purely mental level is make you see outside of your perspective. I didn’t know that there are jobs dedicated to writing tweets from the handles of CEOs until I networked. It calms me down to know that there are multiple possibilities out there, and that I don’t have to limit myself.
Freelancing really works for me because I can’t stand being inactive for a long time. I can’t binge-watch too much or go out too much or stick to one thing for too many hours. I like to do a bunch of things in my day, and freelancing fills in those gaps when I need it. Now, if you’re like my friend and think your free time is more valuable than some extra money you can make, it’s valid. We all have our ways to manoeuvre around.
While there are clear advantages to freelancing, if it’s something that can stress you out, exhaust you, or make you feel anxious, it’s not worth it. There’s a whole lot of ways to increase income, if freelancing isn’t your idea of it, you aren’t missing out on anything.