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A Few Thoughts on Quitting Your Job and Going Freelance

a-few-thoughts

A little over a year ago I quit my job at a publishing house and went freelance full time. Freelance writing, that is. Which has also meant some freelance PR and some speaking and some other ways that I found out I can be “freelance.”

My overall thought on being a freelance writer is that 1. I really love it and 2. it’s really hard.

It’s not for everybody, I don’t think, and there were many times this year that I thought it wasn’t for me. Like the time in January when I had been working from a desk in my living room for four months, and I thought I was going insane, and then it turned out I just wasn’t around people enough. So in March I found an office listed on Craigslist in a building with other actual people, and I decided that my sanity was worth the extra cost per month to rent it. That turned out to be a really good decision.

There was also the time that I took on too much work. In the spring I said yes to four things, and then in the fall when all four things were under contract and happening, I thought I was going to die. It was great to have the money, but it was not great to be working at night and on weekends. I am not really one of those work-all-the-time kind of people, so I have learned to think about my calendar in advance and only say yes if I know it won’t make me crazy or want to die.

So there have been times that I didn’t feel cut out for this, and I haven’t even mentioned all of the times I’ve been in Excel, and looking at my taxes, and trying to do math and attempting all the business-y things that I am not naturally good at. I especially doubt my freelance abilities on my “get your finances in order” days.

But there have been some really good days too. Like when my sole task for an entire morning or afternoon or both is writing, just writing. I don’t have to be on email constantly or go to a meeting or feel pulled here and there because this is my job now, and my boss isn’t really a person anymore so much as it is a deadline, and deadlines? Well, I like them, and I can meet them, so they are just fine for me as a boss. That’s when I feel cut out for the freelance life.

There have been other times too when an opportunity came out of nowhere that let me work with former colleagues of mine but in a totally different capacity, and I think, “I never could have done this or had the time do this if I wasn’t a freelancer.”

And, there are perks. I can adjust my working hours so that I can grocery shop at 11am when Kroger isn’t a madhouse. I can wear whatever I want, though I do try and wear real clothes most days instead of yoga pants every day. But I have had weeks… And I have my office, but I can work at a coffee shop or on my couch or on a plane or just about anywhere else if I want to or need to.

The biggest thing for me though, the thing that makes me feel deep down that I am on the right track, has been how I feel at the end of the day. When the work is done, and I close my computer, I’m not zapped. I feel energized. I feel like I can go to the gym and to dinner with a friend instead of picking just one. I feel at peace in a way that work never made me feel before. I guess this it what it feels like to do what you’re supposed to do.

I didn’t know what that felt like before or that it was possible. I grew accustomed to the frenzy and the stress and the dread. I thought that was what work was supposed to be. But now, I don’t think that anymore.

One of my biggest emotions this year has been gratitude. If that’s an emotion. I am so grateful to get to do what I do. I think gratitude and peace are probably pretty good indicators that you’ve chosen a good career for yourself. You won’t feel grateful and peaceful all the time of course, that’s just ridiculous, but underneath the less desirable feelings you have on any given day, you will be saying thank you under your breath, instead of saying obscenities, and you will feel a rest in your soul that’s assuring.

I am thankful. So thankful for this past year, even the insane lonely months in my living room, and the headache I had from January to April doing taxes. I am even grateful for the stacks of un-filed, important documents lying around my office. They are a sign that I’m getting to do what I love, and that is a rare, rare opportunity for most.

I don’t think everyone should be a freelancer, or a writer. I certainly don’t. But I do think and hope that what you do brings you some gratitude and some peace, and if it doesn’t, I hope you challenge yourself to find something that will.

 

Psst! After writing this, I decided I might turn some of these paragraphs into longer articles, like “should you be a freelancer?” “what is it really like to be a ‘writer’” “how to know when it’s time to quit your job” “how to never miss a deadline again!” (haha) etc etc. I have thoughts on these things. Lots of thoughts. So be on the lookout for some more focused pieces on freelancing, writing and quitting your job. And shoot me a note to let me know some questions you have on these topics. There might be a Q&A session in our future.

17 COMMENT

  1. Ibukun | 17th Nov 15

    Thks andrea again.For always speaking to the deep parts of me.How can I be a freelance writer?

    • Andrea Lucado | 17th Nov 15

      Stay tuned! That’s a big question, but I’ll be posting more on the topic. The first step is to figure out what you want to write about and where that type of writing is being published and then you can start pitching yourself.

  2. Bekah | 17th Nov 15

    I love this! I quit my radio job in June to be a stay-at-home wife and writer. My journey hasn’t been as packed as yours {yet} but it has been perfect for me/us. Breathing for the first time in four years was a blessing. Writing a whole book without giving up evenings with Ryan was a blessing. Reading again was a blessing. Finding out what I have in my house and weeding it out was a blessing. Time to stop and pray when needed was a blessing. I have no idea how long God will allow me this season, but I am so grateful for it. And I nodded enthusiastically with all your points about freedom. You nailed it!

    • Andrea Lucado | 17th Nov 15

      Bekah, that is wonderful! Sounds like you are made for the freelance life. It’s giving you space and time to breathe and think. Not all people crave that, but I certainly do. Totally get it. I hope you get to do this forever! 🙂

  3. Matt | 17th Nov 15

    I have been a freelancer for the last 5 years. A lot of that time I have questioned my sanity and most days it is a financial struggle. But, I pay my bills and I am happy for that. I’ve learned to branch out and have taken jobs simply because they pay. Because of working freelance I was able to help my father recover from kidney and hip surgery. Because of working freelance I have met some wonderful people that I otherwise would not have met. Do I hope for more? Absolutely. Have I given up? Never. In fact, I have this cool idea of doing a short documentary about an aspiring young writer and the confidence and grace that motivates her.

    Keep moving forward and growing.

  4. Charlotte | 17th Nov 15

    I would be interested in hearing more of what you have to say. I work part-time outside the home and am looking for an opportunity to work from home. Thanks for any suggestions.

  5. Charlotte | 17th Nov 15

    I would like to hear more about this topic. Thank you so much. I am researching how to be a stay at home mom and work from home as well.

    • Andrea Lucado | 17th Nov 15

      Hi Charlotte! Well I don’t have any experience juggling being a mom and working, but I hear it can be done 🙂 My sister is actually venturing into that world right now, so maybe she could guest post for me…

      • Charlotte | 17th Nov 15

        Thanks Andrea that would be great.

  6. Kate | 19th Nov 15

    Andrea, this is so cool! I’ve been following your blog for a while now and it never ceases to amaze me. Thank you for somehow being able to articulate the things I never can. I am journeying into the world of freelance just to see if it’s something I could do. Here comes the onslaught of questions portion: How do you actually find jobs? Are you commissioned? Do you ever get jobs purely online? How do you know they’re legitimate?
    Thanks so much!

    • Andrea Lucado | 19th Nov 15

      Great questions, Kate! Be on the look out for more posts about this. I know some people much more knowledgeable than I on these subjects, so you’ve given me the idea of having them do a guest Q&A on here. Word of mouth is how I get most of my jobs, but I know there are some great freelance websites where you can get work from. I’ve just never used them. I’ll do some research!

      • Kate | 23rd Nov 15

        That’d be awesome, thanks!

  7. virgobeauty | 1st Dec 15

    This is uplifting and beautiful to see everyone working within an area that proves satisfying, and filled with perks. Soon I hope to be joining the freelance community. I’m already expressing gratitude in advance.

  8. Erin | 3rd Dec 15

    Love this, Dre. “I feel at peace in a way that work never made me feel before. I guess this it what it feels like to do what you’re supposed to do.” I experienced this sentiment this summer and over the last three months of being back stateside have wondered whether it was just a dream. Thank you for reminding me to keep hoping and moving towards what God has in store :). Love you!
    -Erin

  9. Lauren Day | 4th Dec 15

    Girl, this REALLY spoke to me. Thanks for getting real and sharing your journey.

  10. Lois Myers | 18th Oct 16

    Dear Andrea. I am not a freelancer…I am a retired Pastor’s wife, who has followed your father with teaching many of his books. I am looking forward to your writing and books! I was blessed by this read and plan to share it with my current Bible Study (interdenominational ladies group) next week. We are discussing this very subject in a chapter of “Living A Purposeful Life” – Sheila Walsh and Women of Faith series. This is EXACTLY what we discussed today so I will share as an example of Doing God’s will and having peace with it. Thank you again for your insight. May the Lord bless your writing. PS I have never answered a blog like this before. LOIS

  11. Elizabeth Fadare | 19th Oct 16

    Andrea, this is amazing. Thank you so much for sharing your journey. It definitely gives hope and more clarity on a path that many, myself included, feel God calling us to take. I would love to hear more about the legitimate work at home opportunities, as well as avenues for reading/previewing books or any literary material, and editing/copy editing/proofreading for publishing companies as well as for website proofing/editing, and even online websites and platforms for securing editing/proofing jobs, opportunities, and contracts of all kinds; and also tips on what steps to take to start a self-owned business and how to best handle the financial and administrative side of things. I’ve been following your blog for some time now and genuinely appreciate all your posts and am so glad I found you through an article that showed up in my newsfeed on Facebook. The warmth and transparency with which you share is genuinely heartening and infuses hope into many of our hearts. You are appreciated tremendously.

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