The Freelancer Lifestyle
I am writing this blog sitting at a coffee shop while eating a whole grain Western bagel sandwich and sipping Chai Latte. This is what happens when I chose to become a freelancer. Just think, I could be stuck in a cubicle doing engineering drawings and preparing technical documents and waiting for lunch time. The awesome weather outside would be something we talk about but not experiencing.
Six years ago I quit my Engineering job at a Nuclear Services Company to go to film school. At the time, my boss refused to accept my resignation and asked me to think it over the weekend. I took one look at his stress-filled life and his cramped office and asked myself: “Is this where I want to be in ten years?” That following Monday I handed in my resignation letter, signed.
Being a freelancer is not all rainbows and unicorns as we know. After completing film school I came back to Ontario and started my own film studio. Projects were many but the financial gain was unsustainable. So I went back to do engineering at another company for another year. I call this the transitional year. Finally I quit engineering altogether and joined a couple of film workers unions. This was a good move. I was part of a much bigger network and projects started to come in.
The second year after I became a freelancer my annual income equalled my average engineering income. Though in my peak engineering years I doubled that figure. The lesson is that freelancing is a lifestyle. It is not as easy or as hard as people say. It is exactly what you make of it.
Here are my two cents for those people thinking of entering the freelancing world:
A) Be Hardworking. There is no way around this one guys. Hopefully your parents instilled in you the work ethic you will need to succeed. If not, get it and get it fast. No pie is going to fall on your lap anytime soon, or at all. If you can work hard, people will take notice and you will be in their good books.
B) Be Adaptable. If I was too hard-nosed to go back to engineering for a transitional year, then I would have hit a bottom that I can not recover from. Be realistic and change with your situation. If you need a part-time job take it. If you need to learn new skills learn it. All roads leads to Rome as long as you don’t lose the map.
C) Be Social. You can not be a freelancer if people do not know about your existence. I am speaking to all you introverts out there. I am one of you. My focus and strength comes from within just like you. But we are living in a world of ultra-connectivity. You cannot sell your talent and skills unless people find out about you. So go to that networking event, join toastmasters, say yes to a film festival invite. Learn to be a high-functioning B-Type personality.
In closing, I love this freelancing lifestyle. I am free and creative. I am answering my calling to fulfill my full potential. I would never look back on that decision six years ago. IT IS WORTH IT! Because we only live once.
Ps, go to my website to see all the skills I had to acquire to become a freelancer: www.trexmultimedia.com
As always, I appreciate your thoughts. Please leave a comment below.