On this blog, I often talk about finding the time for travel and little adventures at home, but I know that can be really difficult in today’s busy, always-connected world. So today I’m going to share my biggest “time finder” with you and some steps on how I achieved it.
They can be scary steps to take, but ones that can make a world of difference in your life – and give you more opportunity to see the world.
First, I’m going to point out that I know this way I found extra time in my life for travel and adventures isn’t going to work for everyone and every situation. And I get that. But if you are in a place in life where what I’m about to tell you could work, you should go for it.
So what main aspect of my life is my biggest time finder?
Being a freelancer.
In my case, it’s freelance writing and marketing, but there are so many ways to shape your career into becoming a freelancer.
How does being a freelancer help me find time for adventures?
Because I am in charge of my time. I can work when and where I want as long as I’m delivering for my clients.
Sure, there are the last minute requests from clients that come through that cause me to have to drop what I’m doing to immediately work on it…but those times are rare due to cohesive communication with my clients and pre-planning. Also, typically on vacation I still allot some time to work (but I was usually doing that when I was an employee, too).
(Read my top tips for working as a freelancer while traveling.)
But overall, being a freelancer means I can choose what hours of the day to work. I have typical hours I usually work each day, but I can rearrange them if needed in order to take part in an activity that comes up, like meeting some mom friends for a hike or heading into the city to check out a museum (much less crowded in the middle of the week).
Being a freelancer also means I can choose where I work.
I live in another state from my family and I see them much more working as a freelancer because I can fly to where they are and work from there. This has freed me from the feeling of always feeling like I had to choose whether to use my precious vacation days allotted by my employer for traveling to a new country or traveling home to see my family. I’ve spent many hours as a freelancer working at my grandparent’s kitchen table, typing away as my grandma bakes cookies and my grandpa reads the newspaper. That is so special to me and would never be an option in my office job.
Freelance life isn’t stress-free, though. Not by a long shot.
You always have to be hustling and thinking “If this client leaves tomorrow, what is my next step? Where is my next paycheck?”
Still, it’s worth it for all of the above reasons.
So how do you begin this new life as a freelancer?
The first step to starting your freelance life (after making the initial one to become a freelancer – yay for you!) is to figure out what your strengths are in your career and what services you can offer other businesses. Is it writing, is it design work, is it getting into their systems and applying enhancements, is it consulting (this one can apply to so many fields), or something else uniquely you?
Chances are if you’re a professional worker, you can figure out a way to go freelance.
Does that mean you should quit your job tomorrow?
It took me a year of networking and pitching to get to the point where I felt comfortable leaving my salaried marketing position. Not to mention the time it takes in the beginning to put together a business plan, set up a website, create a logo, and register a business.
I spent that year working furiously in the evenings and on the weekends. It was hard and tiring, but at the same time exhilarating and uplifting. I was taking steps toward a way of life I knew would be a better fit for me.
The year after I quit my job, I traveled to 13 different countries. This was before I became a parent. Today, I take advantage of my flexible schedule by being able to be home during the day with my daughter (though we do have a part-time nanny so I have dedicated work hours each week) during which we spend a lot of time exploring this vast Pacific Northwest wonderland we live in. And we still travel as much as possible. My freelance work makes family vacation planning easier, too, since my husband still has a traditional job (with fairly generous vacation time, luckily) so we only need to work around his schedule instead of two working schedules and vacation restrictions.
Want to learn more about becoming a successful freelancer?
I share my top freelancing tips every Friday on this blog as part of my Freelance Friday series. So be sure to check back here every Friday, or even better — sign up for my newsletter and I’ll send you links to recent Freelance Friday articles and other exclusive tips and stories from my freelancing experience.
Here are some additional blog posts about freelancing for you to read now:
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