The American workforce is now made up of over 55 million freelancers. One of the primary reasons many people choose to freelance is because they feel it will make them happier than having a traditional job.
We asked some of the top freelancers on FreeUp what makes them happy as freelancers. Here’s what they had to say, and what’s in store for those who switch to freelancing.
Control over time came out in our survey as the top reason that makes freelancers happy. Having the ability to say where time is spent was mentioned by almost every freelancer we asked.
Ruth Moore <firstname.lastname@example.org>
For me, one of the greatest things about freelancing is the ability to organize my own schedule and the freedom that allows.
Freelancers have all the freedom in the world to choose when they work, unlike traditional employees. They are free from the set work hours imposed by companies. This means that they can work less — or more! — hours on any given day. They can work when they feel like working and rest when they need to. They can also work whatever times during the day or night they choose.
The fact that time flexibility is a highly valued freedom in the freelance world is not surprising. Having to show up for work and working all day long both rank high on the list of reasons why people hate their jobs.
Having the freedom to attend to the needs of family members and having time to spend bonding with them is an important part of freelance flexibility.
Hannah Regiebel Jaum <email@example.com>
What makes me happy as a freelancer is that I get to be with my children while I work. I will never trade it for any corporate work.
Most freelancers can work from almost anywhere, as long as they have access to a computer and an internet connection. This means that they can choose to work from home to be with their children and other members of the family any time they want. They can also be there for family whenever they want — pick up a child from school, meet a spouse for lunch, visit a parent on a lonely afternoon, etc.
Another important part of freelance flexibility is the freedom to relax whenever they need to. They don’t have to stay up longer than they want to or get up earlier than they want to (as long as they keep a good work schedule, of course, and don’t take on too many projects).
Other activities are also possible for the freelancer because they set their own schedules and work only as many hours as they want to. This means time for reading, exercise, games, meeting with friends, volunteering at church, and whatever else they enjoy doing for their mental, physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.
About half of the freelancers we surveyed also indicated that they value setting their own schedules because it means that they can work when they are most productive. For some, this may mean first thing in the morning, after lunch, or even all night. The point is that they can choose to work when they are most capable of producing the highest quality output.
Being able to work at peak productive times also means having more free time throughout the day. When someone is productive, they can finish work not only with a better standard of output, but faster. As an example, for morning people, this can mean having their day’s work done by lunchtime. That leaves the afternoon completely free for errands, house chores, family, recreation — whatever they need or want to do outside of work.
A few freelancers mentioned how much their productivity improved when they switched to the freelance life. When they worked in an office, the traditional 9-5, 5 days a week schedule sucked all the motivation out of them. The set times did not work with their natural biological rhythms, so it became a stressful daily obligation that did not produce good results — not for them, and not for the company they worked for.
Moreover, the office environment is not conducive to everyone. Not all people can focus in that type of environment. Introverts most especially are more productive when working alone in a quiet area. This makes working from home the perfect solution for them.
Freelancers have lots of control over the types of projects they get to work on. This is especially attractive to people who get bored doing the same thing every single day.
Sonia Corredor <firstname.lastname@example.org>
What makes me happy as a freelancer is the freedom to choose the projects that most fit with my skill set.
This ability to choose is very different from the corporate world, where projects are assigned and employees have no choice but to do the work. The autonomy that freelancers enjoy in this area makes them very happy.
Freelancers can choose what type of work best fits them, which means that they are not competing with people who are better equipped to do that work. They can shine in their own niches, gaining confidence and being fulfilled at the same time as they earn good money for their time and talents.
Freelancers can also choose what type of projects they would like to work on at any given time. They can choose to pick up a long-term or a short-term project depending on their capacity, availability, or simple desire to work more or less for a given period.
Rather than being handed an inflexible employment package, freelancers are independent contractors who set their own standards. This means earning what they want to earn plus all the doors that this financial freedom opens.
Rebecca Shenkman <email@example.com>
I can choose what rate I am comfortable with… Working remotely as a freelancer has allowed me to be very independent, and has afforded me the luxury of traveling while I have steady work and reliable income.
Employees rarely get to choose what they get paid. Unless they are top-level executives, they are told what they will earn for how many hours of work. They are also told how many days of vacation they will be allowed. Freelancers set their own rates, choose their own working hours, and plan their own vacations.
As one respondent mentioned, “We’re not put on this planet just to work!” Freelancing gives people a level of work-life balance that they cannot expect to achieve in the corporate world unless they are perfectly suited to its rigors and demands.
Are you interested in learning more about freelancing? Check out this helpful resource.
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