In the back of my mind I had always thought that the long term goal for me would be to go freelance. The concept was quite nebulous and I hadn’t given it too much thought till recently, or figured out the specifics of how I’d go about getting to that stage. One thing I’ve done regularly over the past few years is read a lot, specifically blogs and essays written online by other designers/developers I admire, and like a sponge, I feel that I have absorbed a ton of information.
The challenge that I am faced with now is to use that information along with my unique circumstances and experiences to formulate a plan of action- one that will put me on the road to independence.
So here are my thoughts, split up into 4 parts that cover prologue, requirements, risks and whether I should do it.
There are a few simple reasons for going freelance, none of which is something new that I’ve come up with. But it is critical for you to know what those reasons are as they apply to you. For me, those reasons are:
I want to do what I love doing. I realize that it is possible to do this while working for someone else. For me to get to that stage, it could be a long or uncertain road, unless I bit the bullet and took the risk and worked for myself.
I cannot do my best work if the work I’m asked to do is not interesting to me. That’s just me and you might not be the same. As a freelancer, I will have more opportunities to pick projects that interest me, in return I can give my best. Realize that in the beginning, this probably won’t be the case for most projects, but one can actively work towards it.
I would like the option of setting my own work hours. Most employers/agencies are not open to this system, but there is a growing number of employers and thought leaders advocating this sort of system. This is not to say that I want to be a slacker and do nothing all day. I want the option of waking up at 6 some days and working hard till lunch time, or not starting work till 11 and working till 7, or taking a 3 hour break from 11-2 during a regular working day. If I can do my best work around these schedules and get the work done, why do I need to have it approved by someone else? If I want to take a week off at short notice, I would like the option of doing it.
Life is too short to waste it doing something you don’t want to be doing. Cliche, I know, but it is true. Not everyone has the option of doing so, and if you’ve put yourself in a position where you can exercise that option, then you owe it to yourself make it happen. If you are not in a position to do so, ask yourself what you can do to get there.
The next post will deal with the requirements for freelancing, so stay tuned.
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