10 Random Thoughts On Why My Freelancing Career Is As Weird As Yours

Posted: August 11th, 2010

Photo by Bigandyherd (Flickr)

Photo by Bigandyherd (Flickr)

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.
More on the author, Johnny Spence
Johnny is the founder of The Freelance Rant and a freelance web programmer with 8 years in the business. Have a visit at his company Oscarrr!web or see what he's up to on Twitter.

9 Comments. Join In!

  • Jon Buscall

    August 12th, 2010 at 8:14 am

    Oh, how I recognise some of these. I’ve learned to just embrace my caffeine addiction and not worry too much about it, having cut down on other vices (especially peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!).

    I love the journey, but I worry most about my pension! Oh, and going back to having to live off lentil soup again.

  • P.S. Jones

    August 12th, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    I recognize ALL of these. So either you’re not so weird, or I’m much weirder than I thought.
    P.S. Jones´s last blog post ..To Blogher or Not to Blogher

  • Tweets that mention 10 Random Thoughts On Why My Freelancing Career Is As Weird As Yours - The Freelance Rant -- Topsy.com

    August 12th, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Theispot.com, Averill Buchanan. Averill Buchanan said: My life in a nutshell. The weirdness that is freelancing: http://ow.ly/2owpM […]

  • Johnny

    August 12th, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    @P.S. – My bets are on the latter 😉

  • Johnny

    August 12th, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    @Jon – I don’t think you want to quit the caffeine anytime soon. Those withdrawals are a killer. You’re right about those pensions, too. Maybe taking up a pack-a-day smoking habit will fix that issue.

  • Nicole Foster

    August 13th, 2010 at 5:02 am

    We’re not weird, we’re interesting 😀

  • Johnny

    August 13th, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    @Nicole – Ah, who are we kidding? We’re both!

  • John White

    September 4th, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    I’d like to see the results of a poll in which you ask your followers/readers to complete the sentences you started here:

    “All of these will happen at least once in your career:”
    “Then again, the following will also happen at least once too:”

    I can’t think of a better service you could do for aspiring or wannabe freelancers, quaking in their Wingtips and wondering whether they should dare entertain the possibility of going outside.

    My brain tells me that most freelancers would give wildly varying answers, but my gut tells me the responses would in fact be eerily similar.

    Get on that, willya, Johnny?
    John White´s last blog post ..Show Me Some Marketing Science

  • Johnny

    September 5th, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    If the noobs don’t get anything out of it then at least there will be some great campfire stories to come from it. Thanks for your idea John!