By: Revanche

Would you make a living as a freelancer?

May 19, 2010

It’s amazing how much you can get done without a regular 9 to 5 taking up most of your day. Your day can start as, well-rested and refreshed, you have that leisurely cup of coffee or tea, basking in the morning sun with the paper. Work and errands are queued up, run on your schedule and so much more gets done.

Or does it?

Sometimes, after a round of several appointments and errands I’d feel terribly accomplished, but there was a sneaking suspicion that it simply wasn’t sustainable productivity.  After all, it was rarely producing any income. On the flip side, getting up pre-dawn for work five days a week and squeezing in the personal stuff when and if you can feels so constrictive that the lure of the open schedule is a siren song. Of course, that alone is hardly good reason to stop working full time and I’d be unhappy if I weren’t being productive and earning money to hoard like a treasure-loving dragon.

There are days, though, that the idea of building an empire of something that is nearly self-sustaining, doesn’t require endless meetings to keep alive or keep moving, and doesn’t rely on the vagaries of a single entity for survival is awfully enticing.  That and all the new Dr. Who and Caprica episodes that I know I’m missing are nibbling away at my patience.  Ok, again, I know, not a valid reason.  As a reforming workaholic, I claim right of not yet knowing how to balance work and play.

Have you considered the merits and drawbacks of being your own boss? If you could make an honest and respectable (however you define that number) wage, would you?

Mrs Micah recently asked Are You Ready to Become Your Own Boss?

I know that’s Nicole of RainyDaySaver‘s goal;
VH of Funny About Money is doing quite well sort of running her own show between the CopyEditor’s Desk and her community college classes;
Mrs. Money’s really liking the idea of ditching her full time position because she’s not happy with her job, thence to perhaps become a SAHM for at least a year;

On the other side of the fence, Paranoid Asteroid has no intentions of going freelance or entrepreneurial, and several people agree with her.  Unfortunately I can’t find that post! 

Which side of the fence do you prefer?

13 Responses to “Would you make a living as a freelancer?”

  1. eemusings says:

    I don’t want to hustle for business, or chase payments. A nice steady paycheck, for now, wins out.

    I think it might be this post here: http://paranoidasteroid.wordpress.com/2009/11/12/but-i-dont-want-to-own-my-own-business/

  2. I really want to make a go of the freelance life, at least just to say I tried. I’m pretty regimented and organized, yet I have a pretty crappy way of letting time get away from me when I start doing “research” for new jobs or additional business. So for now, I just have a side gig in addition to my FT. Freelance isn’t for everyone, that’s for sure. And there’s that little bit about needed to make enough money to live on comfortably.

  3. Sense says:

    While I admire those that work for themselves, a la tim ferriss, I’m pretty sure I’ll never go freelance. My dad owned his own business for much of my life–he only spent 2-3 years working for someone else (as an apprentice) in his whole life. I’ve seen the other side firsthand, and I didn’t like it. he worked 20 hours a day. when his health failed, he had no recourse and he lost everything he had spent 25 years building. those are not the only reasons that I don’t even want to go work for myself, though! I am neither motivated enough nor have enough experience to go ‘freelance.’

    one, I don’t think it exists in my line of work (academic scientific research). two, I work best when I am told what to do, and able to report to someone and get feedback about my performance. three, steady paycheck. four, I pretty much make my own schedule anyway. I am built for the machine.

  4. My father had his own small business for many years. I remember many weekends when we would all (including 2 teenagers) pull all-nighters trying to get work done before deadline. Then I remember the months with nothing coming in. It’s a rough life–with rewards if successful. I would never want to depend on self-employment. It’s so insecure.

  5. Saturday was the first day in two weeks that didn’t start at 5:30 a.m. and end around 10:00 p.m., with one or two breaks for food.

    Just now it’s quarter to 8 (p.m.). I started working around 9:00 a.m., and yeah, I did get a lot done — for a change, things I wanted to do, not things the clients needed done. But I still haven’t had a chance to clean the house…

    LOL: “Retirement” is more work than work!

  6. Red says:

    “I’d be unhappy if I weren’t being productive and earning money to hoard like a treasure-loving dragon.” Hehehehehe.

    I freelanced for a summer after an internship with a local newspaper. And while I loved the freedom of being able to choose assignments and basically make up my own schedule, I don’t like the idea of living with a variable budget. In fact, I think living with a variable budget would be the undoing of me. Maybe once I’ve reached my big goals – paying off student loans and purchasing a home.

  7. Serendipity says:

    I think I’d really like the opportunity to be a freelancer but I’d had to sit and be realistic with myself. I don’t have alot of discipline and would probably put projects off alot and be writing at the last minute, kind of like I do now with writing papers. But, I think I’d be able to write quality work and I also think I’d be able to crank out some awesome articles at 2am.

  8. eemusings and I are on the same wavelength here: the steady check is amazing. It would really unnerve me to not have enough income, especially so early in my profressional career when I don’t have enough saved up to sustain myself. Maybe later on in life.

    But I do think about it every morning. Right after I snooze for the fifth time…

  9. Anonymous says:

    I’m a freelancer, and have been one for nearly ten years. So yeah, I would make a living as a freelancer.

    Based on your description, I think you have some misconceptions about being a freelancer. I love what I do, but I couldn’t describe myself as having an open schedule or a self-sustaining empire. And I think that if you said that to any of the other freelancers I know, they would laugh. Being a freelancer long-term in my circles means maintaining a reasonably high level of demand… and the thing that they’re demanding? Is your work, insight, and expertise. That takes time and productivity on your part as an individual.

    For most people, work is work, whether you’re salaried or self-employed. Just how it goes.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Fig says:

    I’m on the freelance side. That’s what I currently am doing. I’m squeaking by, it’s not exactly the path to wealth quite yet. But I enjoy the freedom it gives me even if gives me a few headaches too.

  12. I’d probably stink at freelance, but if my blog ever makes more than $40,000 a year, I will retire from my full time job. I’ll also probably be eating flying pigs for dinner… 🙂

  13. Revanche says:

    @eemusings: I do hesitate over having to constantly hustle for new/continued business. But I still think that I’m only one layer removed from that.

    Thanks for finding that link!

    @RainyDaySaver: I think you’re going to find a way to do it, I’ll be watching and learning! 🙂

    @Sense: My parents are pretty much in that same boat. Worked for themselves my entire childhood and look where it got them.

    @Frugal Scholar: I worry that I would work myself to the bone and beyond if I were to freelance because I have MAJOR baglady syndrome.

    @Funny About Money: A dear retired friend of mine says exactly the same thing: she’s more busy now than she ever was working. You are the same example! 🙂

    @Red: Variable income and only variable would probably drive me to distraction.

    @Serendipity: There are some things you’ll learn or acquire and I think discipline is one of them. As long as you want that line of work or life bad enough.

    @Investing Newbie: Odd, we seem to think about FLing at the same time!

    @Anon: That’s not what I *really* think being a freelancer is like, it’s what I WISH it could be like. And I do understand it’s a lot of work and uncertainty, which is why I’m so hesitant.

    @Fig: Do tell us more about FLing and how you make the budget work sometime!

    @Crystal: I hear they’re tasty 😉

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