It could end up being a very positive change.
- Going freelance means taking certain financial risks.
- It could also mean getting the freedom to live life the way you want to.
When I first gave up a salaried position in favor of going freelance years ago, I was admittedly nervous about taking that leap. After all, I was saying goodbye to the security of a steady paycheck and swapping that for a variable income and lack of benefits.
But even though I had my share of “what the heck are you doing?” moments during the early stages of my freelance career, I was able to approach that choice with a fair degree of confidence. Not only had I made a point to boost my savings account balance before quitting my full-time job, but I also made certain to line up a few clients before tendering my resignation. As such, I had a modest amount of work to look forward to.
Years later, I can say with certainty that I’m so glad I made the choice to go freelance. And if you’ve been on the fence, here are a few specific life-changing benefits you might reap if you go a similar route.
1. You can move to a new city — or country — without repercussion
One of the factors that spurred my transition to freelance work was that I wanted to move out of New York City, where my job was located. I wound up moving to an area of New Jersey where commuting technically would’ve been doable, but lengthy and miserable. But at the time, I had no idea if I’d stay in New Jersey (I moved there to be with my now-husband) and I wanted the freedom to be able to pack up and move anywhere.
That’s the beauty of freelancing. You’re not tethered to a specific part of the country, so if you’re looking to move someplace where you can access more space, better weather, or lower living costs, you have that option. You can even look at living abroad for a while if that’s something you’re interested in doing.
2. You can more easily manage your household responsibilities and children
When I first went freelance, I only had to take care of a small dog. These days, I have three young kids who need to be fed and taken to different places, like school and activities, as well as a large dog who likes to demand my attention (and will seriously plant his giant head in my lap until I get up from my desk and take him for walks). Plus, the laundry in my house somehow doesn’t get done unless I pick myself up and tackle it, so I need time in my week to handle that and other household chores.
The upside of being a freelancer is that I have the flexibility in my schedule to tend to my family’s needs and my household tasks without risking my job. Because I’m not committed to set hours, I can work when it’s most convenient for me, even if that means putting in some time on the weekends because my weekdays are busy.
If you have children, going freelance could make parenting worlds easier due to the flexibility involved. And that might help you attain a better balance.
3. You can feel good about the work you’re doing
If I’m asked to write a story about a topic that bores me to tears, I have the option to say no. When you’re a salaried employee, you largely have to do what you’re told. That could lead to a situation where you’re bored, unhappy, or just not satisfied on the job.
Being a freelancer means getting to not only pick and choose your work, but also, propose work you find meaningful. Granted, some companies are great about letting their employees propose projects to run with. But as a freelancer, you may have far more opportunities to do work you actually enjoy.
Clearly, I’m a big fan of going freelance, but it’s important to note that it’s not right for everyone. If you’re not great with time management, you might struggle without the structure of a full-time job. And if you don’t have a decent financial cushion, you may find that your variable income makes it difficult to pay your bills. But otherwise, it pays to give freelancing a try, especially if it’s something you’ve been wanting to do. You may find that it lends to a better quality of life on a whole.
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