Here is a fun fact: though I’ve been a freelance worker since leaving college almost three years ago, I didn’t even know “Freelancer” was a possible career option until very recently. Growing up with the privilege of attending a great K-12 school and later University, let’s just say that becoming a freelance professional was probably not on my parent’s list of “potential post-graduate career options for Celia.” It wasn’t really on mine either.
I remember how when growing up people would ask me the question, “What do you want to be?” I’d always fire back with jobs that most would consider to be full-time positions. One day, it would be “Maybe a lawyer like my parents” or “A dentist” or “An English teacher” or “I’ll work in advertising!” Of course coupled with all of those full time careers, I’d always also mention “Oh, and maybe an author, too! I want to write books” or “And an actor!” Basically, I always planned on being something, but I also always planned on being everything.
When I was 12, I remember specifically having it all figured out– “I’m going to be a writer that turns her novels into screenplays and then directs, produces, and stars in those screen plays, and also I’ll have a pet shelter and be a zookeeper.” It made sense. And part of that whimsical dream actually came true when I made my web series “Quarter Life*” a reality last year. Thanks to the freedom that freelancing gives me. See what I did there?
Until very recently, I did not realize it is pretty possible to do everything that I’ve always wanted to do. You just need a little drive!
This is not to say that I’m “rolling in the dough” from all my freelance ventures. Not by any means. But I do make enough to live on my own, cover my bills, take care of my furball Binx, and indulge myself in the “finer things in life” like (delicious) cheap sushi, Netflix Binges, and of course the occasional online shopping splurge (often afforded additionally through my use of Ebates.) I also even get to travel a fair amount, with the help of discount-plane-ticket apps and a super flexible schedule.
But while I may not be making as much income working freelance as I might be working a full-time job at a 40+ hour per week company– because, let’s be honest, in America full-time jobs are very rarely just 40 hours/week– what I might be missing out on in income, I make up for in freedom, flexibility, and the ability to pursue my passions. And for me, that’s everything.
I also have steadily been increasing my income every year. This shows me that though I’m not climbing any sort of corporate ladder, I have through every position developed important, valuable skills and social connections. And those, as it turns out, can go a long way.
As a brief overview, here is a list of all of the freelance jobs, in basic order of acquiring them, that I have undertaken since graduating college. Those in italics are my current regular jobs. I guess this will start as base-line. As this blog grows, I will probably speak individually to each position, how I got the position, what skills are needed, and how you can enter these fields as well.
Freelance all the things:
- Personal Assistant
- Instacart Shopper
- Restaurant Hostess
- Touring Children’s Theatre Actor
- Theatre Actor
- Social Media Coordinator
- Videographer/Video Editor/”Preditor”
- Voiceover Artist
- Web Series Producer/Writer/Editor/Marketing [to be fair, I made zero money personally from this, but it gave me a lot of skills, filled a huge creative need, and my creative partner and I did crowdfund $10,600 to make it happen.]
- Trivia Host
- High School Theatre Director
- High School Lecturer
- Elementary Shakespeare Theatre Director
- Graphic Designer/Promotional Design (Though I’m not the queen of photo shop or anything, I can work my way around it. And I’ve definitely made some income just helping friends and family out with this.)
- Babysitter (…My longest source of income, since age 13 )
- House sitter/Pet Sitter (Need me to water plants? It’s not too far away from one of my regular gigs? On it.)
- Catering Assitant
- Film/Commercial Actor (I’m with a wonderful Agency as of October, just waiting on that first breakthrough gig <3)
- Blogging (I’ve been blogging for a week and have made $5 already, so I’ll count it.)
So. That’s a lot of jobs to squeeze into 2.5 years, right? The thing is, there is still so much I want to do. My next “big focus” is obviously growing this blog into a good source of side income. But additionally, one day I want to also try out creative consulting and actually writing the novel I’ve been developing in my head for years. Maybe even YouTubing, Podcasting, or Life coaching!
As this blog is kind of a testament to, I want to do all the things. And, let’s be honest, I always have. I was diagnosed with ADHD later in my college years, but that incessant energy to do and my “hyper focus” on new thrilling ventures has always been a part of me. So, honestly, instead of predicting I’d be in a 9 to 5 job every day starting right out of college was way off, young Celia!
So get to the point: Why Freelancing?
Freelancing keeps me interested. It keeps me excited to go to work. Because of it, I feel present in every job I have. It keeps me sharp at the many skills I’ve developed over the years. Finally, it has also given me a confidence in myself that I didn’t know that I had. It’s given me the strength to say “no” when a job or position is not fulfilling me the way it used to. It gives me the freedom to know I’ll be safe and okay if I do have to give something up. It makes me pretty amazing at pitching my skills to fit new potential positions. God, I love it.
[Above, a video I got to lead the charge on and produce/film/edit at my videography and social media job.]
Now, it’s not all sunshine and roses, of course. Taxes are crazy every year, with all of the different forms, expenses, receipts, and the whole fact that as a full time freelancer you end up owing money to the government. (Thankfully I discovered an awesome banking app, Qapital, that has really helped me with keeping that on track!)
There are also days when I come home totally wiped out, and also feel annoyed that I spent over 3 hours in the car driving from place to place in Atlanta traffic. But then, I of course remember that there are many that work in this same city and sit in the car the same amount, just because they work 9 to 5 and only drive during high traffic hours. With my freelance schedule, I can literally schedule around traffic. Aaaaand oh! I do. I would not wish Atlanta traffic upon my worst enemy.
Well, this post is getting long, but I did want to get an intro into freelancing out there. And also write this “love letter” when I was really feeling the love. While freelancing has some cons and is certainly not for everyone, for me it is the perfect thing to be doing right now. Maybe that will change with time, maybe it won’t. I’ll just have to wait and see.
If you made it this far, thank you for reading! Do any of you freelance, even partially? I’d love to hear about your own experiences in the comments. 😀