Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Why I liked being a freelancer

While freelancing wasn't all rainbows and butterflies, but it wasn't all bad, either. There were actually quite a few good things that came out of freelancing.

Finding community and building a network
Prior to moving to Miami, I did not know a single soul here. I had heard about a cousin on K's side of the family, but that was it. So I got to work. I began volunteering at Dress for Success Miami. K and I got to know the long-lost cousins and got plugged into a local church. Now, a year later, I can say that I have some very dear friends here in Miami—people I can text for a quick dinner or shopping trip. Friends (yay). I also got to make connections that weren't only personally fulfilling, but also professionally beneficial. Not only was I finding people who could toss some opportunities my way, but I was also building up my ability to be a resource for others.

Trying new things
There were a lot of firsts during my year as a freelancer, though not all work related. Sure, there was my first BNI meeting (which was great, but I already knew I wasn't staying freelance and it is pricy). My first business proposal. My first homemade gnocchi. My first diaper change. My first speed-friending session and first speed-friending friend. My first nonprofit board experience. My first book proposal (still in progress). And my second in-person glance at a Kardashian.

Refocusing my career
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, freelancing gave me a much better picture of what I want to be doing in life. I learned (a bit late in the game) that I hate grantwriting. It makes me tear my hair out. And just because I'm good at it and it pays well doesn't mean it's what I should be doing. My freelancing experience also reminded me of how much I loved working for a nonprofit that aims to serve others and bring about greater good. While much of my freelance work was still with nonprofits, it also required a lot of time spent concentrating on myself and my business, which to me was a distraction.

Free time
Let's face it. The best part about freelancing was the free time I had when I (1) wasn't drumming up business, which I hated doing, and (2) wasn't working, which I didn't do much of because I wasn't doing (1). This was free time to make our place a little more homey, try out some new projects, hang out with new friends and really just hang out. I was a stay-at-home mom with no kids (and a husband who does his own laundry and ironing—score). After several whirlwind years of full-time work, freelancing on the side, blogging, serving in church, being a wife, flying to see family and friends frequently and other commitments, I was beat. So tired. The past year was pretty refreshing, but I'm ready to get back in the game.


  1. You did speedfriending?! Awesome. The rest is so interesting to hear - I get some of the good stuff as a telecommuter, which I enjoy, but sometimes I miss the work community too.

  2. I learned something from every one of my previous jobs, and you seemed to learn a lot from your time as a freelancer. You're right that trying new things can show us what we like AND what we don't like. For me, I never want to send a permission to reprint request again!

    1. I'm with you — I've loved some aspects of every job I've ever had. I think I felt afraid to say no to some types of work being sort of new in my career, but now that I have some years under my belt, I definitely feel more confident specializing and delegating. :)

  3. I totally get the being beat part. It's good to unwind at some point.

  4. I thought this post was really interesting. I'm glad to hear that you still felt productive during your freelancing career, even though it wasn't what you expected it to be.

    1. Thanks, Alex. I definitely did enjoy parts of it, but in the end I knew I'd be happier back in an office. :)

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