After spending 16 or so years in the insurance industry, hating every moment, doing what I needed to do to put food on the table I found myself kind of being forced to take the step I had always wanted to take but had not been brave enough to take. Circumstances had forced me to resign as I could no longer be in the office full time and my boss offered me an independent contract to continue fulfilling certain job functions. I also found myself with opportunities to do what I love and which had been a part-time buffer… write.
The first morning waking up and not having to go into the office was mammoth and working at home was a novelty. With three hours a day of commuting taken out of the equation I also had more time for the important stuff – like taking my son to play in the park on a sunny afternoon or going for a bike ride along the sea. Sleeping just a little bit longer and being home for lunch are also other perks.
I know I’m painting a rose-coloured image of freelancing but I assure you it isn’t all sunshine and beach walks. The reality is that without regular hours, there is also no regular salary – rather daunting if you have always received a fixed salary. Of course there is opportunity to earn more than before, but this takes time – building up a client base where you didn’t have one before, structuring your time to meet each deadline, and throwing all form of budgets out the window. It is stressful initially, and there is always doubt that the work will come.
In the very beginning I took my son for a treat one Saturday morning and we found ourselves at Mugg & Bean. Enjoying my cappuccino I looked at the paper coaster on my saucer and smiled at the synchronicity – “Do What You Love, Love What You Do” it said, and I was reminded of the slogans on the waiters shirts at another restaurant some time back: “Work is love made visible” – a Khalil Gibran quote. This is important – we spend so much of our lives working, earning a living, that it is important to love what we do. I don’t want to spend another minute of my life doing something I hate just to earn money.
Freelancing is challenging, it is disheartening at times, but I love writing and right now the only way I can earn an income doing what I love is by freelancing. That is until my books become bestsellers or I am offered a top position at a leading publishing house or magazine. Yes I have big dreams for my art. But whether those dreams come true or not, I am loving what I do. And that is more than most people can hope for.