What Freelancing Taught Me...

This post was originally published on LinkedIn.

Last December, I quit my full-time job in a reputed company to become a freelancer, which meant I was no more eligible for paid holidays, allowances, reimbursements, fixed salary or respect from people.

But it also meant freedom. Freedom to choose the way you want to work, freedom to express your opinion without the worry of falling in the bad books of your manager or getting terrible ratings in your appraisal. Not to forget the luxury of spending quality time with your friends and family.

It's true, freelancing is a risky thing to do especially if you have family and financial commitments and you are not assured of a fixed income every month.

But if you do not have too many commitments or if you are willing to take a risk, then let me tell you, there are multiple advantages of becoming a freelancer.
  • One, as a freelancer you become everything - a manager, a sales person, a marketing expert, an HR. You are a one man army handling all aspects of your work.

  • Second, you are always on the run. Contrary to the popular beliefs, becoming laid back is not an option for freelancers. You might become laid back in your full-time job and feel demoralized if no work comes your way. In freelancing, you are constantly in search of new projects. If not projects, you will be seen following-up with the client for your payment. You forget what comfort zone means when you do freelancing.

  • Third, you learn new skills and discover the hidden potential within you when you are on your own. For example, I never knew I can network with people till I became a freelancer. My income depends  on how well I network with people for new projects. This was an area that I never explored before in my full-time job. It also taught me to communicate better with people around me because we don't know opportunity could knock anywhere.

  • Fourth and probably the most important aspect about freelancing is that you have the freedom to work on multiple projects and learn multiple things about different sectors, industries, and latest industry trends through these projects.
Freelancing is often misconstrued as a useless or lazy thing to do or the last resort of earning income when unemployment hits hard. But that's not the case. Freelancing can be a voluntary decision too, as it was in my case. It teaches you things that a full-time job fails to teach you.

However, I would recommend you to do a full-time job for few years before becoming a freelancer because that gives you an authority to put across your opinion to your clients. Experience is definitely respected over inexperience especially when you are a freelancer and people take the word ‘free’ in your title quite literally.

So if you are ready for some risk, I would recommend that you try freelancing at least once in your lifetime. It’s tough, but it’s creatively enriching too!