It’s been exactly 2-years now since I left my full time agency position of 6-years to pursue independent contract work.
If you would have told me 2-years ago that I’d have worked with clients based in Egypt, Bermuda, New York, California, Vancouver, and the Cayman Islands, I would have laughed at you.
What a great ride it’s been so far.
Everyone should try freelancing at some point in their career, even if it’s only a brief stint. If anything else freelancing has taught me to be more entrepreneurial and get outside my comfort zone by taking on responsibilities beyond just being an art director or designer.
Reading Dustin Curtis’ post concerning the bad habits shared by some Y Combinator founders I immediately started thinking about the parallels to freelancing and why some people struggle with the concept of charting their own path:
They don’t realize how independent they can be. When you’re a child, your parents tell you what you’re supposed to do. Then, you’re in school, and you’re part of this institution that tells you what to do. Then, you go work for some company, and the company tells you what to do. So people come in like baby birds in the nest and open their mouths, as if they’re expecting us to drop food in. We have to tell them, “We’re not your bosses. You’re in charge now.” Some of them are freaked out by that. Some people are meant to be employees. Other people discover they have wings and start flapping them. There’s nothing like being thrown off a cliff to make you discover that you have wings.
My takeaway is that the freedom and diversity offered by the self directed variety of freelance work is perhaps too daunting a proposition for most people to swallow. Some people know exactly what to do while others just fizzle out.