The Freelancer Chronicle: falling in love with Mondays
Even Spiderman struggled with his powers at first. I don’t own a superhero suit and can’t climb skyscrapers, but freelancing has been a learning curve!
Going solo is terrifying. And for many millennials, it’s also the dream.
When someone asks me what I do for a living and I say I’m a freelancer, they think my situation is special — that I’m one of the lucky ones. Well, sorry to break it to you: I’m not. Anyone can do it.
I just got to a point where, after 10 years of 9–5 corporate jobs, I decided that I would rather be scared but happy with my choices than trapped in an office for 8 hours or more every day. So I decided to take the leap. With a lot of faith and a pair of very unsettled parents (who thought I would starve to death!), I just quit.
Now I’ve just completed my first year working as a freelancer, working as a project manager and content writer. It’s been good…very good, to be honest.
My first goal was to make ends meet at least for three months before I gave up. With hindsight, this plan was a little ambitious. I currently live in Argentina where the financial situation is particularly unstable. Yet somehow, I made it through a whole year making decent money, in fact, beyond my greatest expectations; by my second month, I was already earning double than in my previous job.
But it didn’t happen without a lot of sweat and tears.
For these past twelve months, I’ve worked much harder than I ever did before, and feel more focused, more engaged, more motivated than ever.
I created my own work space in my living room, and spent long hours by myself. I worked weekends and nights, and even missed social events so I could make a deadline. Not to mention the daily stress from working with clients and submitting to crazy deadlines.
There were times when I really appreciated my landlord’s flexibility with rent payments, as I was late paying rent almost every single month. But somehow, I made it through. And it’s all been worth it for those warm, sunny Fridays when I can just indulge myself with a nice lunch and a free afternoon with a book.
As a result, I’ve become a happier person, one of those weird people that loves Sundays but also Mondays.
My only long-term relationship is with my notebook and my back is begging for a proper chair after all those long sitting hours, but for once I can say that the grass is greener on this side of the track. I’m proud of what I do. But if there’s one thing I’ve learnt, it’s that discipline is key.
Being your own boss, choosing your own projects, not knowing how much you’re going to earn next month is hard, scary and challenging, but above all, it’s a choice.
I choose to get up early and respect my deadlines. Even though nobody is checking up on me, I work hard to complete my work regardless. This is what motivates me most: every day I remember that I chose to do this, and that how much I earn, how hard I work, is all my responsibility. That kind of power is exhilarating… you could say it’s my drug of choice.
But even Spiderman struggled with his powers at first. I don’t own a superhero suit and can’t climb skyscrapers, but it’s a learning curve understanding how to cope, what works for me and how to use my time and mind wisely. I’m an overachiever and a perfectionist, so I try to be nice to myself when things don’t go my way, or if I mess up.
Even though I’m happy, I’m not jolly all the time. Sometimes it gets lonely and by 8pm I realise I’ve spent the whole day in my house, not seeing the sun and just talking to the plants for company. That’s when I go to a bar instead of working from home, when I bake that new fruit tart recipe, or I decide to go to the movies just by myself because I can. It was this yearning to meet people and share the ups and downs of remote work that I decided to join Flylancer, and launch the community in Buenos Aires.
So, if you’re working in an office, my message to you is this: if you have that ‘itch’, scratch it. Jump in, this whole freelance thing is just getting started and is already revolutionising the way people work.
Find your own way, respect your time and only take the next step only when you’re ready. I waited ten long years to achieve this lifestyle, and shed a lot of tears in the process. Even though I’ve always known I wanted to be a location independent professional, there was a lot I had to learn and experience before I knew I could be successful or even comfortable in this position.
So listen to your own voice. In my own experience, that’s how to get what you want and make sure that in one year’s time, you’re still sane and happy. I’ve never looked back: 2016 was a blast. And 2017 is going to be even bigger, better and brighter.
As the iconic meme has taught us: unicorns do exist and nothing is impossible.
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