I recently realized that it has been almost a year since I decided to leave my job and start a full-time freelance story - and it couldn't have been better. Don't get me wrong, the job wasn't bad. However, it was quite stressful and demanded a workload that ended up taking up almost my entire day.
So, when I think about these last months, I can't help noticing how much more pleasurable this new routine has become. Although there are challenges, I decided to list all the positive changes that freelancing brought me and hopefully inspire you if you are at the beginning of your freelance journey as well.
A Sense of Freedom
Without any doubt, freedom was one of the greatest achievements of my new career. I've always handled autonomy really well. It’s the best work life balance for me. For example, I love exercising at home and during college, I always learned faster by studying alone than throughout the classes.
I also love the feeling of freedom to organize my goals, schedule, methods, etc. But in my professional life, this didn't seem possible. Spending 40 hours of my weekly time at work has always been my reality. And, at that time, work became my priority, and I ended up leaving behind things that are very important to me.
Thankfully, as a freelancer, I now have much more autonomy and flexibility on my schedule to choose my priorities and be more connected with them. Now, there are days when I work more than I used to work at my nine-to-five job, but then, on the next day, I have the freedom to give myself a day off, for example.
Working at my pace
In general, fixed-hour jobs do not consider variations in our pace. It didn't matter if I finished all my activities in a short time or if those were the days when my head wouldn't let me yield almost anything - I had to stay 8 hours a day at work.
This aspect has always been something that bothered me in my professional life. After becoming a full-time freelancer, I started to respect the dynamics of my productivity much more. This does not mean that I do not set goals and organize my routine. But I do in a more personal and efficient way to offer myself a more productive work life.
Following my pace means realizing that in a few days I’m capable of not only fulfilling my goals but going beyond them, while in others, the process is a little slower. As long as I coordinate the deadlines I have agreed to, I now listen to my body (and brain!) and adapt my work schedule.
Flexibility allows me to organize my day according to what I perceive from my pace. If I notice that in the morning it is difficult to focus, I can go and do another activity and return to the texts later. Exercising this self-knowledge makes a huge difference to my well-being.
Being with who (and where) I want to
This point is one of the greatest reasons for happiness’ increase since I became a full-time freelancer. Although I really liked what I did in my old job, the burden of putting my personal demands in the background always got me.
The obligations took over and, when I saw it, I was just waiting for the next weekend. Have you ever felt like that? Our life cannot be reduced to waiting for the next vacation. As cliché as it sounds, we have to be happy right now.
The opportunity to work from any place that has wifi really increased my satisfaction with my weekly routine and made me more available to other people (and places!). Now, not only I manage to spend more time close to my friends but I can also work from places that are way more interesting and inspiring than a busy office.
Taking care of myself
I don't know about you, but health has always been one of the first things that stood aside in the midst of my work routine. Sleeping well and including physical exercise in daily life was not always possible. Housekeeping had to be done at night or on the weekend (needless to say, I was exhausted). Not to mention medical appointments, that always had to be after work hours - which meant facing a lot of traffic.
As a freelancer, I have more time and flexibility to take care of myself and of my house. This doesn’t mean that I don’t face obstacles in my daily life, but I have undoubtedly been less stressed in these last months. But there’s an important point to highlight: in addition to becoming a full-time freelancer, having planned and saved for this transition certainly helped me achieve this balance.
Getting the best out of my profession
Last but not least: freelancing brought me greater pleasure in doing what I do. Starting a career as a freelance writer has given me way more freedom to express my ideas in ways and around topics that really motivate me. I’ve learned a lot from this experience because I have time to learn a new set of skills from working at home to now know how to run a business. Today, my profession brings me way more than just an income. It's also a huge source of satisfaction and growth.
If you’re looking for tips or more inspiration to start your freelance career, here are some of my favorite articles on the theme: What Does It Take to Be a Freelancer? ; How I Make a Living as a Full time Freelancer; and How Freelancing Changed My Life.