The Fulfilling Freedom of Freelancing

We all have to work for a living, right? Then why not do it on your terms, working on the things you love, the things that make you feel complete?

Self-satisfaction is not something we all find in our job. I have so many friends who dread getting up in the morning, putting on a suit or some stiff work attire, sitting in on meetings, slaving away in their cube farm devoting their time and effort to a daily routine of 8-10 hours (sometimes more) a day where they’re ultimately unfulfilled. Counting down the days, hours, minutes, until the weekend arrives.

That’s not the kind of life I wanted and I have managed to be very lucky doing freelance work. In fact, I should really take a moment to reflect on how good I really have it. I don’t have to clock in and out, I don’t need to commute to an office, I get to work from my home. Of course, there are jobs that require me to go and meet clients face to face. For the most part, though, I can speak with them via phone or Skype. I work with an international clientele so I can’t always meet the client in person.

But I pretty much get to work from the privacy of my home. I have an office and I have hours that I work. The boys are at school for much of the year so I try to schedule my time around when they’re not here, but the times that they are home and I’m working, they understand that Mommy has to be left alone and she has to concentrate. It’s not always easy to enforce this rule. Daniel, being eight years old now, has an easier time comprehending this but Sebastian is still grasping the concept, and by that I mean he has no idea what it means. When he needs Mommy, he needs her now. My husband is very helpful in that regard, ferreting the boys off to some exciting activity when I’m trying to get a project finished.

That brings me to another important aspect about freelancing. It takes discipline. There are friends of mine who envy my freedom and the joy I get out of my work, but I have others who tell me that they couldn’t do what I do. Not just the work itself, but the circumstances of my situation. The ability to work on my own terms, my own parameters. I have deadlines but I get to meet them while I work from home. They tell me that they’d love that kind of freedom, but they probably wouldn’t succeed. Too many distractions at home, too much freedom perhaps. To some extent, they are right. I might be able to make my own hours, but at the end of the day I need to show results. I can’t just wake up and crawl out of bed at 10:30 in the morning, have some breakfast, catch some TV for an hour or two and then get around to firing up my laptop and see what’s going on in the world before getting down to business. This is still my full-time job, I need to be on point. Otherwise I won’t get hired for other freelance gigs and next thing you know, I’m driving to a crappy job that I hate at an office full of people that I may or may not get along with day in, day out. I have a very structured regimen every day of the week, I wake up early in the morning and get my day started immediately. Breakfast is important, so I usually make myself a healthy and nutritious smoothie with the fancy food processor I picked up at Mrs. FoodPrep. Put a whole bunch of tasty fruits in there, some protein powder, and it’s just the boost I need to get my day off on the right foot. Then I work until it’s time to get the boys and my wonderful husband comes home.

That discipline is also important when it’s time to disconnect from work. Since I work from home, my office is here. I don’t leave the job at work when I’m home. My work is my home and my home is my work. Which means it’s always there, next to me, calling me to come pay attention to it. Discipline is knowing when to get away from it all and focus on the family, when to put the work away.

Now that’s not always so easy.