Freelance:A person who pursues a profession independently, and not as the employee
of an organization. Definition from The Collaborative International Dictionary
I love the term freelance. The idea of being able to market a talent or a skill, and then be able to select which job offers best meet your interest, time, and financial needs. Had I not made the change to my current job, I was on the verge of calling it quits anyway, and strike it on my own. Needing decent health insurance and kid number three to put through college made the idea impractical and frightening, but not any more than continuing to work in an atmosphere of stress and pressure. My son, is a freelancer, though more because he is trying to establish his career, rather than having the luxury of picking and choosing what jobs he takes.
Even though I enjoy my job and the increased time it has allowed me, I want to develop a five year plan, that makes the option of self employment viable. In five years, I maximize all the long term benefits this job had to offer, things that impact my short term cash flow, but have massive long term features, so to jump before then would be short sighted. We have a savings goal of having all the tuition and room and board for DD#2 secured by or within her first year, of college. This is an essential part of the five year plan. There is the unknown of what college she picks and how much tuition inflates, but we're basing the goal on the cost to send our other two, with inflation. The big change in cash flow makes this an overwhelming task, but not impossible, since we have contributed something since she was born, just not enough.
Exploring what to '"freelance in, is part of my challenge. I have done a fair amount of project development and launch. There could be some gigs in that, particular in the fledgling non-profit sector where funding for start up and pilot programs are plenty, but sustainability funding is tough. There is a need for people that can hit the ground running, develop systems and operating procedures, and then exit, having helped the organization incorporate the work with existing personnel or funding streams. Essentially this is what my current position is, though the expectation is this will be a growing program with not just sustaining but increased investment. There is also the fund and resource development arm, territory I also have a back ground, though would not be apparent on my resume, through job titles. I'm helping a friend right by doing the leg work and grant writing for a program component for a very small charitable organization that she has started. I've done volunteer efforts like this in the past with success.
The charm right now is that I can explore possibilities, while feeling like I have a safety net under me. Nothing is a given though, so exploring and envisioning a freelance career is a safety net in and of itself. There is no such thing as a secure position and anyone can be made redundant at any time. Keeping the door open for self employment, freelancing, would help me know I have a back-up plan should one be needed. For those of you that made the decision to be self employed, what was the biggest challenge in making the change? What keeps you awake at night? If others are like me, exploring but not yet ready to strike out on your own what is holding you back?
|picture from dreamstime.com|