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To be or not to be a Freelancer?

I heard recently that there are some entry level jobs which ask for 4 – 5-year experience. Well, I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t waste time on a college degree!

But still, this does beg the question: How am I, a purpose-driven millennial, going to find and achieve my purpose when faced with the impossibility of employment given this catch-22?

The celebrities of the 21st century are no longer located in Hollywood but rather in Silicon Valley. Our expectations to be solopreneurs conquering the Free Economy have never been this high, and yet, romanticizing freelancing as the starting point of your own empire will in most cases lead to frustration once you realize how truly difficult it is to work for yourself and on your own steam.

To avoid disappointment, I think it’s important to have a real think about what you want to achieve, and whether this mode of work is right for you. So here are some of my thoughts on Freelancing which I hope will help get you started.

Freelancing is Freedom

“I will no longer sit in front of a computer and work for others in the prison that is a company office space.“

People think that freelancing can take them away from a mundane lifestyle. More time for friends, family and fun. We all know that freelancers do what they like, right? Well, no. Freelancing is the exact opposite, at least in the beginning.

Endless nights in front of an eye-damaging screen, self-employment tax, zero paid sick days, accountability, responsibility and financial liability are just the standard order of the day when you join the freelance work-force.

Of course, after a while, you will harvest the benefits of being responsible for yourself. And once you bear this fruit, be sure to regulate yourself, as the service or product your clients expect must be tailor made for them, and they’re sure to have high expectations on deadlines and quality.

But this doesn’t come easy, and in truth, at the beginning, freelance work can be emprisoning.

Freelancing is self-fruition

“I can finally be free and do something for me, myself and I.“

Everyone wants to work according to their strengths. It’s only natural to avoid the pain of incompetence and ignorance. Do you think that being a freelancer will make it possible for you to do only those things which you perceive yourself to be good at? Well, think again. As a freelancer, you’re going to have to do everything under the sun to keep the business alive and well, and this can be difficult and exhausting.

Take the case of two photographers: Tom and Berry (no, not their real names…). Both of these tried to gain a foothold as a freelance photographer. They’re practically of the same skill set, both technically and creatively, except Berry is more of an extrovert than Tom.

This means that in order for Tom to actually land a client, he has got to leave his comfort zone and be more like Berry, putting himself out there and actively looking to attract clients. And so even though networking is uncomfortable for Tom, still, he has to do it to get by. The same could be said for Berry, who is great with people but extremely disorganised. Berry gets lost in paper work and finds it a little difficult to meet deadlines.

So freelancing is not something which will give you what you want, when you want it; it is very much an uphill battle with yourself striving to achieve those things which perhaps do not come natural to you.

Freelancing is Avocado Toast

“The only way to fulfil my purpose on this planet is by being successful in my professional life.“

Many young professionals seek opportunities to work in a field to create something worthwhile.

The outdated model of an economy that leads you to work in the same job for 40 years and at the same time nowadays makes an unlikely (and cliché) piano falling out of a top-storey building to flatten you whilst crossing the street seem quite appealing. In contrast, the trend of the Gig economy, which creates opportunities for individuals with a diverse skill set, nourishes hope as well as a more positive outlook for Generation Y.

However, we are still human beings and therefore we strive towards fame and success on whatever level we can get it. Being a solo – entrepreneur is, therefore, feeding into our desire to be recognized. But being recognised shouldn’t be the end-game, but a result of doing something meaningful. And how do you do something meaningful? By following a purpose:


“Without a sense of purpose, we are more vulnerable to anxiety, boredom and depression. Having a sense of purpose gives you a much better chance of having a longer life than anything else.”

– Professor Steve Taylor (senior lecturer in psychology at Leeds Beckett University)


And so living a fruitful life is dependent on having a purpose. But, as we all know, trying to pursue a purpose is in itself an anxiety provoking thing to commit to. So you need to take a step back, try and understand your own, personal reasons behind the drive of becoming a Freelancer.

Is there anything else that can provide you with the purpose you seek?

If the answer is no, then you probably already know what you are looking to do in the Freelance World, simply because you have this one thing constantly grabbing your attention, this one thing that doesn’t let go of you whilst you’re eating your avocado toast.

Freelancing is your skillset

“I have photography skills, now I can be a Freelance Photographer!”

Sure, you may be skilled in photography, and of course you have strong work ethics, and you excel at using spreadsheets, but being a freelancer takes much more than this. Have you ever heard of a top performer born with all skills necessary to practice their craft?

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be able to switch on a skill you need for a client, yet simply don’t have. In order to deliver top quality, you need to attain all the skills necessary to perform at high levels of productivity and deliver quality work.

Improvement comes bit by bit and we won’t achieve a massive change for the better without taking all those small steps and making those mistakes to ultimately use them as our bricks with which we pave our path to being a top performer.

Should you be a Freelancer?

Have a close look at who you are. What’s your current situation? Are you located in a country that is ideal for Freelancers? You need to find your niche, do your market research and don’t forget to have a close look at who you are and the reason behind your decision of becoming a Freelancer, and make sure that you believe that it’s right for you, because when you believe in something with all your heart, your chances at succeeding are that much more realistic.

If you feel that this is the right path for you, check out our article on How to Make your Freelance Work more Productive and Grow your Business.

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