I started my company in the end of 2013, in Sweden, one year after graduating from university, and with almost no work experience (except a couple of summer jobs and two internships, in France only). It took me about 5 years to set up the lifestyle I have today, based on my freelancing activities.
Needless to say, I wouldn’t give it up for anything; the flexibility and the feeling to be in control of my life are simply priceless. And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I’m almost never sick, while so many traditional employees around me throughout the years went on sick leave due to burnouts, or were feeling stressed all the time; that’s what happens when we don’t know why we wake up in the morning, that we feel (even unconsciously) that we don’t control our lives, and that the time spent on a given activity isn’t proportional to what it gives us (something I’ve already discussed here).
Moreover these years of struggle have also made me a better person; just as determined but more patient, friendly & caring yet more selective of the people I grant my attention and my time to. And that’s one of the benefits of being self-employed; much like diamonds that must be polished before revealing their beauty, facing hardships brings out (or perhaps allows us to acquire?) our full value.
I hope the ideas presented here will help others succeed in their freelancing career, and through it to establish a lifestyle that suits them, which in turn will perhaps inspire others to follow along.
At the same time this is an endless fight: customers that leave and others that come, evolving needs and technologies, times of scarcity during which we must decide between relaxing or boosting our marketing activities, and times of complete madness where we must fight to preserve our life balance… Moments when everything is working smoothly are, in the end, pretty rare, and often short-lived. So instead of envisioning success as a time when we can simply let our business “carry us”, it’s probably best to see it as the birth of a deep feeling a peace, rooted in the belief that whatever happens (no jobs for a while, losing a major customer, rise of a disruptive technology, schedule overflowing…), we have the skills, the experience and the knowledge to handle it.
Now, what about you dear reader? If you’re a freelancer, do you agree with the tips highlighted here? Is there something you’d like to add? And if you’d like to get started, has this post helped you? Did you learn something new or did you know everything already?