What do you value most about the freedom to work independently?

In honor of Independence Day, July 4, I’ve been thinking about the things I most value about the freelance life. There are many wonderful things about this life, but here, in no particular order, are the things that rank highest for me:

  • The freelance lifestyle
  • The ability to be creative and get paid for it
  • Flexible schedule
  • Power to choose who I work with
  • Freedom to increase income as needed
  • Personal autonomy
  • Doing what I love and getting paid for it

As far as I’m concerned, the freelance life is the most interesting, challenging, potentially profitable, enjoyable life available. All the positives come with a flip side, though. There’s also the burden of complete responsibility for results. If things are not going well, it’s difficult to blame it on anyone else when you’re a solopreneur!

Over the years I’ve met many freelancers who are often dubbed “lucky” by others. I’ve studied what makes them successful, what they do that others don’t, and how they live their professional lives. I’ve learned a lot about what makes one independent writer or editor more “lucky” than most of his or her peers, and one of the things I’ve found is that they have completely embraced the freelance life, and have been ready, willing, and able to search out and learn what they needed to know in order to be successful.

I’ve been so impressed by the consistency of what I’ve seen in these Lucky Freelancers(tm) that I’ve been practicing and teaching the core principles that set them apart. I absolutely believe that when those principles are put in place, success must follow. The key lies in making the choice to embrace the freelance lifestyle and determine that you will learn what you need to know in order to be one of the “lucky” ones.

What do you think? I’d love to hear what you like best about the freelance life, and what you’d miss most if you had to go back to a j.o.b. Any observations about what makes some freelancers more successful than others? Leave a comment, and let me know!

***I’ve added two new talks on my Speaker Page. If you need a speaker for your event or group, be sure to check them out!

“Those who prize freedom only for the material benefits it offers have never kept it for long.” 

Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859)

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About Janice Campbell

Before becoming Director of NAIWE, I spent most of the past two decades working as a freelance writer, speaker, entrepreneur and online literature instructor. I graduated from Mary Baldwin College with a B.A. in English (with honors), and thoroughly enjoy working in a field that I love.

10 thoughts on “What do you value most about the freedom to work independently?

  1. Hands down, the scheduling. I’ve seen several writing/editing jobs in my area that I would apply for, except for the sole reason that I don’t want to have to do my best work on someone else’s schedule. I am well aware of my best circadian rhythms, when my brain is at its best, and so why should I not use that? Not to mention that I have specific goals and desires for my children, and I want them to think of me as having been “available” and “present” in their lives and their schools.

    As for “lucky” — yes I work at home. Many many people want to work at home. Many peole think I’m “lucky”– guess what? It’s not luck. It’s tenacity, planning and masive discipline. I am a disciplined person and that’s why I’m only 32 (today!) and already a well known freelance writer pursuing my dream career. Discipline.

  2. Let me say, first, that I am not a full-time freelancer. At one point, I was was very close to doing it full-time, but then I got the job of my dreams, and now while I still do freelance work, I have scaled it down over the past two years. However, before that I have to say that I liked the fact that I was in charge of myself for the most part. I scheduled my work and life how it made sense to me. I didn’t have to answer to someone for clocking in 5 minutes later or five minutes early or whatever. I never missed the “water cooler” or “politics” that often make up many office jobs these days either.

    I love my job, but I still keep my foot in freelance and hope to go back to it fully when I retire in about 10 years. Your post is very appropriate and inspiring considering the holiday!

  3. Great topic, Janice. As a full-time freelance writer, editor, and photographer, I love the fact that all my efforts, all my work, go toward something I believe in, something I control – with God’s guidance and blessing, of course.

    When I worked as an employee, many times I ended up working for causes I didn’t believe in or understand. Being my own boss gives me freedom to champion causes that mean something to me personally, and the freedom to step away from a project for whatever reason.

    What I would miss most if I had to go back to an outside j.o.b.? (Dirty, three-letter word!) Two things instantly come to mind – and I promise I’m not a control-freak, but I would miss the control I have over my daily life; and I would also miss my uniform – JAMMIES! :-)

    Thanks for asking. Happy Independence Day!

  4. What I like best about the freelance life is the freedom to create the day as I need or want it to be. The freelance life gives me time and mental/emotional/spiritual strength to become the me I want to be. I’m not inclined to try to be the me a day job would require. The freelance life gives me time to value the worth of words in a way that a day job never could.

  5. I tend to be a pretty restless and have fairly short attention span. So I love that freelancing allows me to move from one kind of project to another within just a day, each completely different from the next. I love that I can just pick up my laptop and work wherever I want to–home one day, a cafe the next. Right now I’m miles away from home at a friend’s place getting to see a new city and work at the same time! What’s not to love?

  6. Writer, speaker, mentor in ministry – not freelancer. But I love the FREEDOM – and flexibility! My ministry flows out of my homelife that is top priority. I am at home with my family (most important), able to work when it best fits in – both to family life and inspiration.

    Late nights or early mornings when the house is quiet are my most productive times – for writing anyhow. Alone, thinking time. I don’t do speaking or mentoring in the wee hours – except by email, blog posts, and audio recordings.

    I love being creative, and sharing what is on my heart at the moment. Not having deadlines, but being able to work on several projects at a time. I’m a woman of passion that would not fit well in a box. I write what I am passionate about, a life led by God. I’m too much a free spirit to survive in the confinement of a ‘job’ or dictates of writing assignments.

    I love that what flows out of my life, God touches and uses to bless others. What more could I ask for?

    Living Coram Deo – before the Face of God,
    Lisa @ Me and My House

  7. I’ve been freelancing full-time for five years now as a writer, editor, writing coach, and small publisher. I love it for all the reasons you listed. As for what makes some freelancers more successful than others–for me, calling has been a big factor. God has definitely stepped in to provide for me when I needed work, and I know I can expect Him to do so because He’s called me to this. On the flip side, I work hard to be “faithful in little.”

  8. It seems to be that creativity is all about freedom to imagine, to capture the life and images that arise in the mind. When we are able to respond to the tap on the shoulder from a character, from an idea that flashes into our mind, we are in synch with a great force in the universe. And the ability to help others when we edit and coach just makes the world go round in such a great way. I love words, and the way that words create worlds. Thanks for this question, as it makes all of us think for an extra moment about what we do.

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  10. I like your point: “There’s also the burden of complete responsibility for results.” Many miss that inside and outside a j.o.b.

    While not freelancers, the attitudes seem to fit:

    “Learning from mistakes and constantly improving products is a key in all successful companies.” – Bill Gates

    “Whenever I go on a ride, I’m always thinking of what’s wrong with the thing and how it can be improved.” – Walt Disney

    Jim

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