The 9-5 routine. I was there once, and for a long time. I dreaded Mondays and the resulting knot in my stomach that came along with it. Sure, this routine paid the bills and kept a roof over my head, but was I happy? Nope.
Something had to give, and give it did. I started researching the freelance lifestyle – an alternative way of working, a break from the monotony that had controlled my life for far too long. To cut a long story short, I made the leap. Am I happy now? Yes! Is it scary? Yes! Am I fulfilled? Hell, yes!
There are many great things I’ve discovered from making that momentous life-changing decision.
1. The Day Starts When I Say It Does
Breaking out of the 9-5 routine was one thing I struggled with from Day 1 of my new freelancing life. It took me a while to realize I was no longer tied to these hours and that I was tying myself to them unnecessarily. I was institutionalizing myself! Today, I start later and work later. It works for me.
2. I Embrace My Fears Every Single Day
Freelancing isn’t for everybody. For those looking for a stable, secure and profitable future, freelancing may not be the best route. Some days I get scared. Those are the days when I don’t have any work. Fortunately, they are balanced out with days or weeks where I have so much work I feel jubilant and a roaring success. This fear and uncertainty keeps me focused and ensures I never get complacent.
3. I Never Stop Learning
I know that to stay ahead in my profession I need to stay ahead with my own personal development and training. As a freelancer I don’t have the luxury of paid corporate training, so I have to be quite creative about how I keep my skills up to date. I tend to do this through online training courses that allow me to dip in and out of modules when my time allows. Self-paced learning is perfect for freelancers like me and ensures my skills never stagnate.
4. Holidays Are on My Terms
I love taking a holiday. Who doesn’t? It doesn’t have to be for long; even a day spent away from my office will give me the creative reboot I need. Since I started freelancing I’ve probably taken fewer long vacations than I took when I was caught up in the 9-5. However, that is solely because I enjoy more freedom in my routine and am passionate about my work. Knowing that I can take a holiday whenever I like is enough for me.
5. I Do What I Love and Love What I Do
I love my work, I really do. Making the decision to do what makes me happy for a living was quite a simplistic step in the end. The answer to my happiness was staring me right in the face for years. It was just waiting for me to realize this and take action.
6. The Power to Say No
I’m happy to say that I have come to the point in my freelancing career where I have the power and freedom to turn away work. It may be because I am busy on another project or it could be because the project isn’t right for me. The important thing is that I can make that decision for myself.
7. I Focus on My Dreams and Not Somebody Else’s
Working the 9-5 for somebody else can be energy-sapping and soul-destroying, especially if there is no room for fulfilling dreams or personal growth. Freelancing, on the other hand, gives me the freedom to focus on the long-term and to develop my skills so that I can meet the goals that I set for myself.
Before you go writing your letter of resignation it’s a good idea to reflect over your personal reasons for wanting to ditch the 9-5. You’ll need a plan, you may need some savings and you’ll need to consider a backup plan should things not work out as you hoped. There are many pros and cons to the freelancing lifestyle, but sometimes the only way to discover those is to take a leap of faith. I did, and I have never once looked back!