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by | Jul 13, 2012 | Featured, Finding Work | 3 comments

When I first started working as a freelance writer, I was a bit insecure, worried and, quite frankly, scared out of my mind.

It was something different from what I was accustomed to. I spent hours a day planning, researching, contemplating, asking opinions and hunting down advice.

It is hard to believe this was just a couple of years ago at this point. I have learned so much in the time I have been writing.

Sure, some of it is about fancy Japanese electric toilets or the best refrigeration car for hauling Penguins, but I am surprised every day about how much I have learned about myself and the rest of the world as well.

I thought it might be helpful to list some of these things. Not only can it help those of you wondering about the freelance lifestyle and work-at-home jobs, but it could serve as an interesting reflection point down the road.

Freelancing is a Secret Many Do Not Want You To Know About

Things you see on TV about freelancing:

  • The ads that proclaim that you can be a millionaire overnight by following these never-before-seen secret tips for only 18 easy payments of $49.95
  • The stories about people that make millions with the latest as-seen-on-TV product
  • The innovators who change the way we think of the world and make a killing doing it
  • The reports of the economy falling apart and no one doing anything to fix it

Things you don’t seen on TV about freelancing:

  • The mother or father who took the risk to do something different and it paid off
  • The news stories about the rising popularity of working from home and the possibilities of passive income
  • The stories of Fortune 500 companies turning to freelancers to make their businesses work
  • The stories about how much power over your own life you truly have

In an era of rampant inflation, rising gas prices, frequent foreclosures, drastic unemployment and daily global upheaval, it is easy to brush freelancing and other similar options under the rug.

It is scary to most people. It is unknown. It is uncertain. In fact, many people would not consider it if it were the only option available.

Why? Because we’re all trained from childhood to believe that the only real, secure and dependable form of income rests in showing up and making someone else’s money for them.

You are not taught to be an entrepreneur or innovator in school, you are taught to be a worker.

So instead of following dreams and pursuing goals, we collectively find that job that is tolerable enough to show up to every day, we let our interests and dreams die for the sake of the day-to-day and we rest easy in the comfort of that our job will always be there because someone else gave it to us.

Then events such as the recession happen. Hard working people who have invested their life in a company, find that they are jobless. Banks and bill collectors swoop in and take everything.

In the end, no one is there to stop them. In a less than 12 months, much of America and the world woke up to some very harsh realities.

The sad truth is that we are so accustomed to the nature of being employed, that we do not even see the opportunity we are handed when we lose a job. It is immediately a jump into the classifieds, canvasing the area with resumes and hitting up any avenue to find another person who can provide the security that only a ‘real’ job can offer.

What many do not realize is that these same skills are some of the most important skills for being a successful freelancer. Marketing yourself and your services, finding areas where your skills are useful, dedication to finding a source of income. This is all overshadowed by things like medical insurance, retirement and pressure to be successful in society’s view.

Why Freelancing is Kept Quiet

So why are things this way?

I’m not a scientist, sociologist or politician, so my thoughts have no fancy surveys or studies behind them. However, if you take away everything and look at it for what it is, the places that many show up to work for are, in essence, freelancers themselves.

These businesses have not always existed. They did not pop into existence with a certification of success. They were built. They are money making machines that needs things to survive. One of these things is employees.

If everyone was told they could be their own boss and given the tools to strike out, find their talent and make a legitimate go of it, there would be less people clamoring to help those that have already done so make even more money.

There would be less people working three jobs to support a family and a mortgage.

There would be less people willing to graciously accept anything that the business world is trickling down to them even when it is simply not enough.

The simple truth is that freelancing is power.

It is power over your own life. It is power over your daily happenings. It is power over who you are and what you will become. It is power to quit being a consumer, quit making other people rich and quit perpetuating a cycle that only rewards a select few.

It is the power to be who you want to be and achieve true success.

Anyone Can Build a Freelance Career

As mentioned before, freelancing is not that different from job hunting. You choose a skill, you find people willing to pay for that skill and you reap the benefits.

The difference here is that you make the money, you hold the reins and you decide your level of success. As a freelancer, you decide you own fate. 

Is this a scary thing? You bet it is.

Is the risk worth it? I wish I would have found this all sooner before investing 15 years of my life in a system that ultimately was designed to keep me in the system and provide no real results.

It took nearly 18 months of solid unemployment, substantial credit card debt and some introspection to realize that I already had everything that I needed to be successful.

I did not need a building, cubicle or hierarchy of management to succeed. I needed to commit myself and dive in.

Freelance opportunities are available in nearly any town, city, state or country in existence. In fact, freelancing is rising in popularity on a global scale.

Whether you are starting a landscaping business, selling handmade food or items, writing for magazines and websites, offering web design or entertaining others, everyone has something they can contribute. You just have to take the risk, find your real value and start.

You Can't Fly If You Never Jump

We all have dreams and things we want to do.

Sure, we might not all be archaeologists, princesses or pilots. These simply are not viable freelance careers in many ways.

But far more aspirations and dreams never see reality simply because they are never started.

If you do anything with this information, simply take the time today to consider writing that book you have always wanted to write, find a market for those amazing brownies that grandma taught you how to make, get that app published you have been searching for in vain, sell those cabinets you enjoy making on the weekends in the garage or take the risk and promote yourself and admit your own value and power.

Just as easily as your dream can fail, so can the person’s dream you are supporting for eight hours a day. At least when you are working on your dreams, you are in control.

If you do not think you have a marketable talent, just check out Fiverr, crowdsourcing sites or Etsy and it’s alternatives. You just might be amazed what power you hold.

Do you have something you have always wanted to do but never taken the risk? If you are freelancing, what pushed you to start? What stops you from taking that first step into the world of freelancing? I want to hear about it! Just leave a comment in the box below!

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About The Author

Jon Stone

As a full-time stay-at-home dad of a two spunky kids--2 and 9 years old--Jon Stone spends what little time he can form coherent thoughts working as a content marketing specialist and copywriter. He loves coffee, fantasy novels and Minecraft. Sometimes, if he's super lucky, he reads the back of his own eyelids. Most times, he's just busy scribbling notes like a madman or playing with his kids.

3 Comments

  1. storytellerdeb

    This was inspirational. It is a few years old, so could you write another article telling us about how your career is going? Thanks.

    Reply
    • Jon Stone

      Thanks Storytellerdeb! I’ve definitely meant to post more updates in that regard. I’ll see about working something up here in the coming days.

      Short version – I’m still writing full time and keeping a client roster filled enough that I don’t get to this site nearly as much as I’d like.

      The key is consistently reaching out, building a network of clients/fellow freelancers and keeping time management on point.

      I’m still learning more every day. Even 6 or so years in now? Always something to consider, improve or roll out 🙂

      Reply
  2. all jobs

    Hi there! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my previous room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this write-up to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

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