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The Thankful Freelancer

thankswordleBy  Allison VanNest, Grammarly.com

At Thanksgiving it’s not only acceptable but even encouraged to count your blessings. As a freelancer, whether full-time or part-time, those blessings can occasionally feel a bit thin on the ground. Every freelancer faces lean times, difficult clients, and long hours from time to time. Even when it gets challenging, however, working for yourself is still the best un-job ever. Here are 18 awesome things about being a freelancer that you can be thankful for this holiday season:

  1. The flexibility to work when you want, where you want, and how you want. The world is your cubicle. Middle of the night in your pajamas? Totally okay. Early morning at a coffee shop? Awesome. On a tropical beach while sipping a cocktail? Yes, please!
  2. The variety of projects you take on means that work never gets boring. Weird, yes. But not boring.
  3. Great clients who can describe what they want, give positive—or at least constructive—feedback, and pay on time.
  4. Spending more time with your family, especially if you have kids at home.
  5. Public libraries that offer quiet places to work, free internet, and tons of glorious books.
  6. Constantly learning new things, both from research for new projects and by taking advantage of free or low-cost online learning opportunities and forums to develop your skills.
  7. Being your own boss means freedom from soul-sucking meetings and performance reviews. You also miss out on nasty office politics!
  8. Setting your own hours is a gift for night owls and early birds alike.
  9. No commute. ‘Nuff said.
  10. Using your creativity to make a living.
  11. Building a network of clients and other freelancers so that although you may work for yourself, you’re never truly alone.
  12. Exploring new streams of income. As a freelancer, you’re not pigeonholed into just one job description. You can be as nimble as you want and branch out into areas related to your main source of revenue—creative writing, SEO work, editing, proofreading—or try turning a hobby into a part-time job.
  13. The personal pride you take in a job well done.
  14. A direct connection between effort and the reward. In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell wrote: “Those three things—autonomy, complexity, and a connection between effort and reward— are, most people will agree, the three qualities that work has to have if it is to be satisfying.” In other words: be a freelancer!
  15. The freedom to go for a walk on a beautiful autumn afternoon.
  16. Saying no to a project or client when the work doesn’t feel right. If a job is too far out of your wheelhouse or the pay is too low, you don’t have to take it on.
  17. Websites and online tools that make your life easier. Online dictionaries, encyclopedias, and other reference guides save valuable shelf space and make searching a snap. A proofreading tool such as Grammarly saves valuable time and serves as a second set of eyes for even the most seasoned writer. Check out this awesome list of 43 tools to manage everything from productivity to billing.
  18. Coffee! And coffee shops with free wi-fi.

In many ways, you actually have more job security than someone working in a traditional career. Because you’ve stayed flexible and diversified your income, losing a client or an entire revenue stream won’t devastate you the way losing a 9-5 job would.

Doing what you love every day…and the joyful fact that people will actually pay you for it!

What’s your favorite aspect of freelancing? Tell us in the comments!

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Image: Attribution Some rights reserved by woodleywonderworks

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