What I Learned About Myself By Going Freelance
Updated: Mar 1, 2022
And What I Learned About Freelance For Myself
You’ve probably heard the news. People are quitting their jobs.
And going to new jobs? Well, not always. Increasingly, people are going freelance. What does that mean? Well, we did write up a nerdy etymological explanation at the bottom. But we thought you might prefer to hear what going freelance means to actual people who have taken the leap and become their own bosses.
So, what IS freelance?
Well, it’s not what it once was. As strategist Joe Lee said, “To be brutally honest, 10 years ago I would have associated ’freelance’ with starving artists scraping to get by while desperately seeking clients.”
In reality, the freelance life can actually be one of taking back control. Strategy Director Nick Rigano describes this as one of the best things about freelancing with Jumpsuit. “The variety in the work that I get to do every day is one of my favorite parts of working as a freelancer. I get to work on new projects (and with new people) on a week-to-week basis which really fits my personality well.“
It even goes beyond work itself, as Creative Director Courtney Tsitouris learned. “I had to leave my last company because they weren’t flexible with my hours (during a pandemic). Which meant at least 40 hours a week and often overtime. Since joining Jumpsuit, I decide my hours. And I’ve never once had to miss my kid’s bedtime.”
This flexibility can even empower people to realize maybe freelance isn’t the right choice for them. Nick Rigano says, “I also know that I could always return to a more traditional job if I ever wanted to. Networking and keeping strong connections has always been a passion of mine.” Plus, the flexibility of freelance can create even more opportunities to discover and develop connections.
Now, we’re not going to present freelance as the pinnacle of employment, the perfection of labor. So before you put on those rose-colored independent contractor glasses, let’s be honest about some drawbacks. Joe Lee admits, “Work/life balance can be unpredictable. While you’re in total command of your hours, how they get filled is driven by the clients, projects, and their needs.” And, well, we all know how clients can be.
Nick Rigano agrees, “I'm slowly redefining my personal boundaries with work as I navigate freelance life.” Which can also lead to some struggles about the actual work itself. “I am someone who prioritizes flexible and remote working but at times I miss seeing real people in a real office.” Then again, more traditional employment situations are increasingly remote, too.
Worst of all, the numbers! Joe Lee laments, “Taxes, insurance, and retirement accounts were some of the many things that I had to do some serious math on, as well as contingencies if things went south.” But he does see how the numbers can also tell a good story: “Freelancing is no longer a backup option. It’s one that can absolutely compete (and exceed) financially and development wise with any corporate job.”
Freelance can be good not just professionally, but personally. Joe Lee has seen self-discovery: “I feel like I’ve become much more aware of my own strengths, weaknesses, and what I want out of my career. At previous jobs, I ultimately felt success was just being the person my bosses needed me to be. I never really thought about what I could do or who I could become outside of the box that was given to me.”
Nick Rigano concurs: “I have become even more confident in my own abilities and in how to market myself since going out on my own.” Even through virtual calls and the ever-exhausting toll of making sure his mute button is off.
This even helps create a greater sense of balance. Courtney Tsitouris explains, “Since joining Jumpsuit, I’ve stepped into a fuller, more balanced version of myself. My work doesn’t define me anymore. I can work hard, be a great mom, and take care of my parents—while not worrying about losing my job.” Plus a little extra time to work on great bedtime stories.
So, is freelancing for you?
You may want to consider it. You may already be considering it. If you ever have so much as briefly thought about it, Nick Rigano suggests, “It is worth exploring further! Here are a few questions to ask yourself: Do you have confidence in the work that you do and the value that it provides? Are you a person that likes networking with people? Do you enjoy proactively solving problems?”
And perhaps the biggest consideration comes back to the issue of control. As Joe Lee explains, “I think it really comes down to how important freedom and choice are to you. While I’m doing similar work as my previous corporate job, I feel so much more ownership over my career and job that I’ve never experienced before.”
You could always quit your job for another job. Or you could quit it for something totally new and different. Maybe even a Jumpsuit.