As some of you may already know, I started my corporate career in the heart of London, England. A cosmopolitan city known for its international competitive nature and rigid organizational structure. I didn’t consider becoming a freelancer because I had no idea how to embark on such a career or if I was even capable of making a decent living as one. As I continued down the stagnate path of corporatism, I longed for flexibility, free thinking, working into the late night rather than early mornings, and the ability to skip unnecessary meetings. After attempting to find the right corporate culture for myself, I finally threw in the towel shortly after moving back to the states. I met a brilliant small business owner who gave me great guidance, a small push, and tips on how I can become a freelancer and have the elements of a career I’ve been yearning for at my fingertips. Within a month I had my first client and within a handful of months, I had acquired 3 clients and felt exhilarated.
Keep in mind, although the professional life of a freelancer was everything I expected and more, I also realized there were challenges that I hadn’t considered. Given I didn’t have a direct boss, I realized I had to more stringently manage my time. I’ve always been quite organized, but psychologically speaking, not interacting with a manager/boss daily initially affected my organizational skills. Of course, I learned from this and began implementing more strategic ways of managing my time. For example, I maintained a schedule, daily correspondence, and weekly phone/Skype calls with every client. Furthermore, I kept a desktop time tracker to make sure I wasn’t spending more/less time than I should be on a designated task.
As with all things in life, there are pros and cons to every environment/situation. Here is my personal assessment of working as a freelancer in comparison to working in a corporate environment.
- Flexibility: I set my schedule. This is so valuable to me given I don’t mind working into the late hours of the night, but I had such a difficult time waking up at 6am everyday! Psychologically, I feel so much healthier taking control of my schedule and still producing great results for my clients.
- Valued: I wholeheartedly feel much more valued as an employee than I ever did working in a corporate environment. My clients provide me with ongoing, genuine feedback and I strive to maintain and exceed their expectations. I actually feel needed and that’s a pretty awesome feeling in a career.
- Time: Every moment I spend on a task/project given to me by a client is worthwhile and productive. I don’t experience idle time or obligation to attend meetings that were not conducive to my professional development.
- Independence: I enjoy social interaction and collaborating with team members, but not as much as I value my independence. I noticed I am much more of a lucrative asset when I work independently and have the space to explore creativity and strategic thinking.
- Social: Yes, I am more of an independent worker, but I still need the collaboration and integration of community support. I’ve had to consistently reach out to business social groups, conferences/seminars, and lectures.
- Benefits: No more weekly free cocktails with the colleagues. More importantly, I’ve had to find alternatives to health insurance, pension plans, etc. which I did take for granted in the corporate environment.
- Compensation: Starting out as a freelancer didn’t provide me with quite the same compensation package as my previous corporate employers did. As anyone starting out in a career, you prove your abilities, skills, and talents in order to be rewarded with higher pay. However, know what you’re worth and never be afraid to ask for it.
In conclusion, I am absolutely ecstatic. I have found a career direction that complements me and encourages me to utilize my skills, cognitive abilities, and talents. Furthermore, a career that values my independence, creativity, and quirky nature. If you’re interested in becoming a freelancer but not really sure where to start, please contact me on my blog platform or connect with me via my social media links. I would love to help your career aspirations finally come true!