- According to a recent survey, about 83% of self-employed people say they made the choice to ditch their full-time jobs to work for themselves, and 70% have better work-life balance in self-employment.
- Those stats may surprise some, but not me — I went full-time freelance five years ago, and I’ve never looked back. I make five times more now than I did in my old full-time job, and I feel more secure than ever.
- Since I work for a number of companies, I won’t be flat broke if one of them decides to let me go. Plus, I decide how much I work, so I can make more money when I need to and take time off when I need it.
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A few weeks ago, I read a report from FreshBooks that stopped me in my tracks.
First of all, according to the accounting-software company’s 2019 Self-Employment in America Report, 70% of the 3,700 respondents to the study found they had better work-life balance in self-employment than when they worked in full-time jobs.
Plus, 83% of those surveyed said they made the choice to work for themselves (meaning they weren’t forced into freelancing because they lost their jobs or couldn’t get hired).
The final stat that caught me was the fact that 55% of respondents found themselves earning more money in self-employment than in full-time work, which isn’t necessarily expected when you ditch your regular job.
There are plenty more interesting stats from this study, but the point is, the responses from those who contributed are mostly positive.
But of course that doesn’t surprise me. I’m self-employed — by choice.
Why I quit my job to work for myself
When I left my job in the funeral industry to write full-time in 2013, most of my circle thought it was a horrendous idea. My old career wasn’t perfect, but it came with stable hours and a paycheck I could predict. Plus, people were “dying to get in there.” In other words, I had job security — at least, that’s why I was always told I should stay.
But I got tired of working harder and harder to only get a 3% raise every year. And I was tired of feeling like I did the work of three people, which I really, actually did.
I was also o-v-e-r driving into work every day, getting gussied up in suits and makeup, and smiling. I was so sick of the smiling!
I decided to work on my blog and write-full-time, but I made my move slowly by writing during part-time hours at first. It didn’t take long for me to replace my full-time income with freelance income, and with that, I put in my one-month notice and never, ever looked back.
Funny thing is, family and friends thought I had lost my mind. They told me it was impossible to earn a living as a writer — and that my income “wouldn’t last.” They also said I would regret it when I had to find another, potentially lower-paying job in a few years.
Thank god I didn’t listen. They were all wrong — totally wrong.
4 reasons my job is safer than a full-time position
The reality is, I’ve found over the years that my freelance career is not only satisfying but also safer than my old full-time job, or really, any full-time job. It doesn’t matter if you’re a teacher or an engineer or a middle manager — my job is still more secure. When you have a full-time job with a single employer, you’re just one downsizing or layoff away from watching your income disappear overnight.
But me? I’ll be just fine. Here’s why:
I have 10-20 jobs at any given time
Life as a freelancer means juggling multiple clients, and I often work on projects with five to 25 different people or companies at a time. Sure, one might cut their budget and let me go, but what are the chances they’ll all fold at once? I’m not sure, but I know it would be almost impossible to lose all my freelance work overnight, whereas any full-time employer can put an end to your job with one fell swoop.
I can get more clients if I need to
Plus, I can always try to get more clients if I want to. I don’t normally reach out to people for more work because my current roster of clients keeps me so busy, but I have the skillset to do so. I also have a LinkedIn profile that ensures a merry-go-round of businesses continually contact me about my writing services. So, even if I lose some work, there’s more to be had.
I learn new skills all the time
As a freelance writer who works entirely online, I have mastered an array of internet-based skills that could apply in many careers. I know how to use WordPress and write content in HTML, for example. I have some serious SEO skills that can help articles land on the front page of Google, and I probably use 10 or 15 different software programs for a variety of clients.
While automation is slowly killing jobs, technology is creating many more — and I just so happen to be in constant learning mode when it comes to marketing, blogging monetization, and online content creation.
I can control my income
Finally, my favorite thing about my job — and another reason it’s more secure — is the fact that I have ultimate control over my rates and my income. Where I couldn’t earn more at my old job without asking for overtime hours or hoping for that annual raise, I have the power to raise my rates or simply complete more work if I want to boost my income.
And believe me, I do. I typically work 40-50 hours per week when I’m not traveling, and I could easily get by working 15 or 20. I love having the ability to earn extra money, and I believe it makes my career safer because it proves I have the power when it comes to how much I earn — not an employer.
Oh, and for the last four years in a row as a freelance writer, I earned more than five times my old salary.
The bottom line
I’ve been self-employed for many years now and my income has only gone up. My confidence in myself has also ballooned as I’ve seen my hard work translate into a certain amount of consistency and a steady stream of work that keeps me busy all year long.
Now that I’ve been a solo worker for a while, I simply cannot imagine having a full-time job. I wouldn’t feel safe if I did, and I definitely wouldn’t feel in control.
The truth is, my freelance life is much safer than a regular job because I don’t have all my eggs in one basket. I don’t need a 401(k) match or employer healthcare, either (I pay for my own plan). I would much rather have all the power and my personal freedom instead.
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