Yesterday, I posted a Facebook story celebrating my second year as a digital nomad. Within the hour of posting, I’ve had a handful of feedbacks and inquiries regarding online freelancing and how I became one. Understandably, more and more people are thinking about becoming an online freelancer since the early days of the pandemic.
However, there is a notion that freelancing is unstable, unreliable, uncertain… While this is true, your potential to earn a handsome ‘salary’ is also enormous. You can do as many projects as you can. But in the online freelancing world, working hard does not mean 20 hours of work a day. No, my friend. Work smart, instead. The key is knowing how to properly charge your clients for a job well done.
I became a digital nomad to have some sense of flexibility. Traveling is my burning passion and being tied to a desk would render great inconvenience on my part and my company’s. This was sort of the case with my last corporate job. Back then, I could only go on ‘paid vacations’ for about 3-4 weeks per year and prior arrangements are mandatory to ensure that everything runs smoothly while I’m away.
For a few years, it was fine. Until it wasn’t. I was gaining seniority at work which means my presence in the office was crucial on most times to handle important and urgent tasks. Simultaneously, my wanderlust was growing stronger. I was left at a crossroad.
Ultimately and inevitably, I had to make a tough decision: leave my stable job as a Software Engineer for a Fortune 500 company or follow my passion. Obviously, I took a leap of faith and lived happily ever after. I wish!
In case you didn’t know, following one’s passion is a trying time. It strips you of your financial and social security, among others. Then, it opens up a lot of your insecurities and test you to your limits.
In life, nothing comes easy, especially when you make a decision with no point of reference. I didn’t know anyone who was freelancing at that time. I had no mentor. Heck, I did not even know how and where to start. I was lost. Frankly, I did not know what I was doing with my life and I’ve had a whirlwind of emotions and personal crises.
I was distressed, frustrated and honestly, discouraged.
I had no direction.
I was lost.
But, I did not give up. My husband got my back. He got me right back to my feet so I could recenter.
I toughen up. I experimented. I researched. I educated myself. I learned new things not yet taught in the universities. I improvised… I was not awarded the ‘Most Resourceful’ back in high school for nothing. I had to make it work so I could live the life of travel and flexibility. The life that I want…
Eventually, I found a client that launched my freelancing career. This client believed in my abilities despite that I had no prior experience nor formal education on this kind of job. This milestone gave me the confidence to pursue freelancing and I carry it to this day.
As a result, I could then travel spontaneously for weeks or even months on end without having to make any arrangements at work since I am basically location independent. As an example, just a few weeks ago, I did a month long trip with Interrail without any hitch on the work side. I worked in between trains, during down time at my hostel, when I wasn’t out gallivanting or anytime I feel to, predominantly. That’s the beauty of being a digital nomad.
Every time I have a chance to talk about freelancing and how it changed my life, I grab it. I wanted to inspire and spread the word about freelancing. However, I am not trying to convince anyone to follow my path. After all, it still depends on each person’s abilities as not everyone’s made for freelancing. That’s the hard truth. Everyone would be doing it if it was easy. It comes with a great deal of challenges and uncertainties. So, if ever you decide to freelance in the future, prepare for a wild ride. Hang on to people who motivates you and find inspiration on the little things. Anything is possible.
Looking back, the only regret I had was not starting sooner.