Why Would You Become A Freelance Writer?
It’s scary as hell
It was never the question if I wanted to start out as a freelance writer. I was 21, got offered a pretty cool writing job on a freelance basis. So that was that. I cycled to the Chamber of Commerce and got myself a VAT-number. In minutes, Ingelise de Vries wasn’t just a person anymore. I was a company. I was young and I went where the life would take me.
Scary as hell, if I look back now. I had no proper education, a full time job, had bills to pay, wanted to eat. But hey. Mentally as well as financially this was the right decision. It was time to move on up in life. I mean, I was 21, it’s like the end of your peak years. If you’re not publishing your first novel within the first four years after, your pretty much done. Or at least, that’s what I thought. I’m wiser now. And still not the proud author of a novel.
Sorry, I digress. I’m still thanking my 21- year old self for doing this.
Older and wiser (well…)
Because these days, I’m getting closer and closer to the dreaded thirties. I’m getting older and every once in a while, wiser. If I had an okay job, working for a boss, I doubt if I would make the same decision. Giving up security for freedom. Because yes, working as a freelance writer freaks me out every now and than. Especially in times like this, when we don’t know what’s going to happen to our health, loved ones and our economy.
In The Netherlands, there is extra social security for people like me because of the corona crisis. But that’s not what scares me. What if all my assignments stop? What if I cannot do my job as a freelance writer anymore? Does that make me a bad freelancer? Should I’ve even started? Right now, it’s still going okay. Some things stop, but there are new assignments. That’s like the whole point as a freelancer. Nothing is certain.
It wasn’t just in the beginning I had to work hard to get enough clients. It’s something that’s always a thing. And when do you even have ‘enough clients’? When do you say no, when are you reaching that turning point in your work-life balance? Do you take on extra clients just to be sure you have a financial buffer for the days you won’t have enough clients? Some weeks or even months, this seems easy. And sometimes, it is hard to find that balance.
Even in good times, I panic every once in a while. I usually call it the ‘periodic freelancers panic’. The don’t-forget-to-do-your-taxes-panic. The did-I-make-the-right-arrangements-for-everything-in-life-panic. Getting-ill-panic. Will-I-ever-be-able-to-retire-panic and the can-I-go-on-holiday-panic. Well, at least that’s something I’m sure of this year. No, due to corona we can’t go on holiday. One thing less to stress about. And yes, I also have the am-I-nice-enough-panic. Because I am so not cool, compared to all the other freelancers on social media.
Best job ever!
Some days or even months aren’t that good. But up until now, I’ve always been able to pay my bills without any help. So I shouldn’t worry too much. And I keep telling myself that. Even though while I’m writing this, I’m knocking on wood. As a freelancer, you better be sure.
So why would you start out as a freelancer? Because it’s the most amazing thing in the world. I truly have the best job every. Before I started out as a freelancer, I worked with a lot of entrepreneurs and startups. I’ve always wanted to be like them, do what day do. I never thought my ideas would be good enough. Until I realised I don’t have to have those ideas. I have words. Stories to tell. And I’m good at that.
Opportunity to fail
It’s my way of being that entrepreneur. My way of enjoying the freedom it brings. The creativity, excitement, traveling, the meeting new people, networking and most of all, doing what I love. Which I’m apparently pretty good at. It’s worth every minute of panic. The freedom it brings but also the space to try new things, the opportunities to accelerate every once in a while. And the freedom to fail miserably if it doesn’t work out. That’s okay. I hate failing but it brings me so much more joy when I do succeed.
So the panic, the insecurity, I’ll take it. It’s worth it. Because once you’ve got your freelancing business up and running, it’s the best job in the whole wide world.
Hi! I’m Ingelise de Vries, a journalist and (copy)writer from The Netherlands. That means I’m Dutch, so there could be a mistake in this piece. Spotted one? Don’t hesitate to let me know through email@example.com. Want to know more about me? I’m telling you all about it right here.