I’ve been freelancing for just over 8 years now. While I never dreamed or planned on being a freelancer, there is certainly no way I’ll ever go back to traditional employment. Looking back on those eight years, though, makes me think what a long strange trip it’s been through ten random thoughts:
- I graduated with a degree in Psychology, but started freelancing doing web programming with no experience. I even write what you see here after many past failures in writing. Uhm, what just happened?
- My most valued possesions are now whittled down to just a computer, Wifi, PayPal account, passport, and discipline. Sunlight, too, but I don’t really own that.
- Of all my clients, who are located in Spain, USA, Canada, Australia and Sweden, I haven’t met 93% of them face-to-face.
- Of those remaining 7% of clients, all except one live in the same city. I actually travelled 5266 miles once to see that last one. Not even the one in Australia either.
- Out of those who I haven’t met personally, I can recognize 22% through their voice, YouTube video, photo in Facebook or a Gravatar. Who knew a “gravatar” would become a univeral means of recognition?
- Probably my worst occupational hazard has been a severe addiction to caffeine and Swedish tobacco pouches (a.k.a. “snus”).
- Definitely my worst occupational hazard… current withdrawals from drastically cutting back on each.
- All of these will happen at least once in your career: You get stiffed on a payment, your equipment gets lost/stolen/damaged/eaten, you’ll survive a week on a $10 food budget (borrowed from a friend).
- Then again, the following will also happen at least once too: You’ll find a cash cow of a client (through pure luck), you’ll truly enjoy that first vacation you take and you’ll also truly savor those meals when you begin to eat out again.
- Then there is the discovery of one of Murphy’s Law of Freelancing: If there ever is a point when you are so desperate for work, that you consider the sex trade, it will be immediately followed by a period of so much work that you won’t be able to stop complaining about it.
And while we're on the subject...