The Perks of Freelance Work

7 thoughts on “The Perks of Freelance Work”

  1. What I like most about being freelancer is choosing your own niche and expertise you want to develop. When I worked in an organization they were asking about my ‘flaws’ and how to develop those (soft skills). They never asked about expertise and if I brought this up, they rather wanted me to work within the existing knowledge domains.

    1. Hi Joitske, many thanks for dropping by and for the superb commentary! Much appreciated! I can totally relate to your thoughts shared above, but one would only hope that, already in 2016, companies would be looking more to highlight and potentiate the strengths of their own workforce than focusing on their weaknesses, right? I mean, every single business that focuses today on identifying the weaknesses of their employees simply wants to perpetuate that system of rewarding employees via scarcity vs. thriving on the abundance of a diverse skills set and strengths. And that will only jeopardise workers to no-end, because those businesses clearly demonstrate they may not have learned much over the course of the last 50 or 60 years, so why keep working for them in the first place? Time to move on with the times, I would say…

      I agree with you 100%, Joitske, how the game changes when doing freelance work, more than anything else because finding your niche of expertise is tied in, precisely, with finding your purpose: why would you want to do what you would want to do?

      And while I realise it’s a rather tough question to ask one self, more than anything else, because we haven’t asked it before and therefore we aren’t used to it, it’s a very much needed exercise altogether. For instance, to me, it took me an entire month to try to figure out what it was I wanted to do based on my strengths, but, once I got that right, things start to run smooth, more than anything else, because there is an opportunity to explore the potential of augmenting those strengths over time acquiring new knowledge and connections. Talking about self-determined learning, right? 😀

      Thanks a lot, once again, Joitske, for the great feedback!

  2. A superb post. I’m with you all the way. But it sparked some self-examination. On a somewhat trivial level first, I can set my own travel budget. If I want to stay in an expensive hotel or have a great meal before a challenging meeting then I don’t have to get someone to sign off the expense account. To be sure the costs come out of my pocket but all the stress of travel vanishes as a) I made the initially optimum-to-me choice and b) if I have to change to something more expensive to get the job done well I don’t have to explain it to an expenses form.

    At a more important level I only do interesting projects. That way the client gets 110% commitment and I learn from pushing my experience envelope. Of course if I don’t do non-interesting projects there is a cash flow implication but I build that into my business plan and the fees I charge for the interesting projects. In 17 years of business I have only had one unprofitable year and that is when I carelessly doubled counted some revenue and had to reverse it out of my accounts at the end of the year. My accountant now does quarterly management accounts so that won’t happen again – ever!

    Then finally I can do pro bono work, which enables me to give something to an organisation that they need but could never afford. This year I sorted out a messy what-CMS-shall-we-buy project for a charity by turning up at a meeting for a few hours and gently knocking some heads together. Since I don’t need to bill every working day (if you do your business plan is broken) it cost me nothing and it was a highly satisfying day of work. They don’t appear on my client list as I was just a visitor to the office who inadvertently walked into a meeting.

    1. Hi Martin, thanks ever so much for the kind comments and for the wonderful feedback! Glad you have enjoyed the blog post and very happy to read it resonated with you as well. What a treat for yours truly!

      Here are some additional thoughts as well to keep adding into the conversation:

      RE: ’setting your own budget’, you bring up such an excellent point! Your advice shared above is one that I follow as well rather regularly and you have also given me an idea to put together another blog post where I can share plenty more of the mundane logistical tidbits we freelancers need to handle as I am pretty sure there is an opportunity to learn a lot from our experiences. It’s really funny how even though we have gotten started at different times and over the years we seem to have developed similar techniques for when we are on the road. You will like the post I will put together, I am sure! 😀 heh

      RE: ’interesting projects’, this is just such an important piece of advice and one that I also try to follow it religiously over the course of time, more than anything else because of a little detail you have included above as well already: the client gets 110% commitment. I know that this would not apply to plenty of freelancers out there, as they may be dependent on generating certain amount of revenue per month to keep things going, so some times they are bound to work on client projects where the interestingness may not be there and, while unfortunate, it certain helps pay the bills. I have seen it all the time. However, your point is dead on, it’s always what I aspire to when working with clients, more than anything else, because it sparks a whole new level of conversations into exploring the true potential of projects for maximum impact over the course of time, not just the short term outcomes.

      Also, and rather typical, there is a great chance that with an interesting project there is always an opportunity to have a good challenge as well, never mind the opportunity to do great work, which means there is always a learning curve involved, both for the client and for us freelancers. This is also what I like the most about having such a luxury of us choosing the client projects and knowing when to kindly and gently say ’No, thanks!’.

      RE: ’Pro bono work’, oh, yes, this is another topic I touched base on, but not on this particular blog entry, but on the one where I talked about the downsides of freelance work where I tried to make a distinction between doing pro bono work and being poached around left and right by getting asked to work for free on specific projects where you know you are going to be abused. It’s a very very thin line, I know, but it’s one we keep learning, through iteration, how we get better and better time after time deciding what pro bono work is really worth while doing to help other folks and what’s just plain abuse of one’s good will. Have a look into that blog post and see what you think. See whether you can relate to some of those drawbacks from your extensive experience as a freelancer, Martin.

      Many many thanks, once more, for the fantastic feedback and for taking the time to drop by and share it across! I very much appreciate the inspiration and the generous contributions!

  3. Hi Luis, being a freelancer it’s never been an easy endeavour, but all the work, time and sweat spent in your own projects pay off in the long term. The perks you pointed out sum up the benefits of freelancing. Flexibility and freedom are some of the qualities people use to relate to us but there are many things beyond that. Meaning is definitely a big pro of this ‘profession’.

    I agree so much with you with the rest of points, but I see them as qualities freelancers have to have in order to succeed. In my case networking was always a big advantage to avoid struggles during lack of projects, but besides that I lost the count of the quantity of documents, articles, reviews, books, reports… I have read to learn to do things. I found interesting that all the sites that talk about this coincide with the same qualities of freelancers and entrepreneurs, like Forbes, Market Inspector, The Guardian…

    You explained it in a way we feel identified. Thank you for this reading. Keep up the good work, Luis!

    1. Hello Randall, many thanks for dropping by and for taking the time to share those lovely feedback comments. I very much appreciate it. Apologies for the long delay on the response, as I have just noticed your comment got trapped in the spam queue and just had to recover it accordingly. Phew! Thanks for the understanding and for the patience.

      Indeed, you are so spot on with your comments shared above. There are plenty of benefits and perks for being a freelancer in today’s day and age and I guess after a couple of years of having written the above article I suppose I ought to update it from where I left it. I wholeheartedly agree with you that *meaning* is right up there in terms of my favourite perks and still remains the same, even today.

      It’s rather interesting to notice as well how I have been freelancing now for nearly 5 years and one of those work related activities that I can no longer underestimate still remains *networking, networking, networking*. And somehow I keep having way more fun with it than ever before. I suppose it’s all due to one other innate trait I have learned to love and treasure a fair bit: *curiosity*. Freelancers usually are rather curious about the work they do and the folks the work and network with and I’m certain in an upcoming follow-up article it will come again!

      Thanks again for the wonderful feedback and for sharing the link adding into the conversation! Much appreciated.

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