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How Freelancing Has Made Me a Better Person

I started freelancing for the flexibility, travel opportunities and just to be my own boss.

I’d never had expected that running a business was also good for me, as a human being.

I thought I’d share this week the ways freelancing has made me a better person

Forced me to look at my “money issues”

People get weird about money.

The quickest way to stay poor as a freelancer is to stay weird about money.

The income in my business is in direct proportion to how I feel about my own worth and asking for the sale.

I was sceptic about “manifesting”, “abundant psychology” and “clearing your money blocks”. That is, until I hit some lean months. I put some work into valuing myself, examining the money values and setting feel good goals.

I realized, If I don’t believe in my work, how could a client?

The benefits of tackling my money issues didn’t end with my bottom line. It’s improved my confidence, my communication skills with my partner and helped me to be more forgiving of others.

 I’m better at making friends

Growing up, my friends were fellow students. When I got into the workplace, my friends were colleagues. I choose friends by the defaults of proximity and interests.

As a freelancer, we don’t have colleagues. This is one of the reasons I started FTF. I wanted to make friends, share knowledge and be part of a larger team not hindered by where we live.

I now easily build friendships and reach out to people in person and online. I send and receive emails that sounds a lot like: “Hey, I love your website. We should be friends. Want to skype?”

No excuses

The double edged sword of working for yourself is that there is no one to make sure I didn’t forget anything. No one to enforce an 8 hour work day. No one to call when I’m sick and can’t work.

It’s all up to me.

There are no excuses when you’re a freelancer. Clients pay me to do the work and so the work needs to get done.

This has allowed me to take greater responsibility in all areas of my life. With that “no excuses” approach I feel more confident about what I can do.

I’m better at taking care of myself

My work suffers when I burn out. When my work suffers, I suffer.

When I worked for someone else, I didn’t notice. There were colleagues to check the mistakes, lower expectations of me in general and I could always call in sick if I needed to.

Now I eat well, sleep well and get exercise. If I don’t, I burn out fast. I’ve even taken up meditating with my Headspace App as a way to keep my mind fresh.

Slowly over time, I’m learning what I need to do to keep the work humming both personally and professional.

Giving & Receiving

The saying “the more you give, the more you receive” has never been more true for me.

It’s easy to write off that statement in a 9-5 corporate job that doesn’t care about you.

But one-on-one in my business, I see it in everything. I see it in Freelance to Freedom and the community that grows and gives. I see it in how well Stress Less & Impress was received.

Whether it’s simply answering questions in Facebook groups, putting out helpful free info on my blog or going above and beyond what my clients are paying me for, the more I give freely, the more clients and friendships and freedom I receive.

Everyday I see in REAL time how you receive when you give. This inspires me to be more of service to others in every area of my life.


“Boundaries” was a word I used to hate. It evoked feelings of conflict and fear. Now I see boundaries as a way to set myself free. I set boundaries with both clients and myself.

When it’s 10 o’clock and I haven’t seen jazz hands (thats my French man), I force myself to stop and spend some time with him before going to bed. That’s a boundary. Previously, I myself pushed harder and would work until 2 or 4am.

I’m clear with my clients, my partner and my family what I can and cannot offer. When I need me time, I know I have to take it.

Ultimately, there is less conflict in my life than before because I set the boundaries and ask other to respect them.

Has freelancing made you a better person? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments.


Leah Kalamakis Leah Kalamakis is the founder of The Freelance To Freedom Project and a web designer/developer for brilliant entrepreneurs. When she’s not hanging out in the FTF Community, you can find her people watching on the streets of NYC. Come say hi on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

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{ 34 comments… add one }
  • Congratulations on your first anniversary, wooohooo! 😀

    I did go (and still go through) some of the same challenges you mention. Of course, money being the biggest.

    Now the friendship component is interesting. I actually avoided making friends in college or workplace because I felt like I was in the wrong place anyway, so the people I met there were “wrong people” for me.
    Most of my good friends I met in casual situations.

    But now I’m thinking about how closed up I am and how I’m not actually reaching out enough, asking for support, and actively working on making new friends.
    I made a pledge to myself that I am going to reach out more and try my best to make new friends, online and offline.

    It’s really wonderful what you created with FTF, and it’s so great to be in a community of such mutually supportive folks!

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      Oh man, I completely know what you mean about closing yourself up. For awhile it was just me all the time. Luckily I had a mastermind group that gave me some close biz friends to get support from and that made me realize quickly how much better freelancing is when reaching out and making connections. Thanks for sharing and I’m so glad you’re part of the community!

  • Congratulations, Leah!

    I loved this post. You put words to feelings I’ve had floating around for the past year (my anniversary is also this month). I had no idea I had money issues until I quit my corporate job, and I’m also learning to take care of myself so much better.

    I complained for years about how consuming my job was, and now I’ve realized that was partly my fault, so I’m learning to set boundaries. Sometimes I excuse myself saying it’s ok now because I love what I’m doing and I’m working for myself, but I know I’m not kidding anyone.

    I still struggle with reaching out to people. I’ve always had some social anxiety and reaching out to strangers online freaks me out a bit. But I’m working on it because I see such awesome relationships happen like you described, and I want in on that awesomeness!

    Congrats again and thanks for this awesome blog, it’s one of the few I jump in to read as soon as it hits my inbox.

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      So glad this post resonated with you. It sounds like we have a lot more in common than just our anniversary dates! I understand the social anxiety part, just take it one step at a time. No need to try and have a million biz friends to start. I’m glad you enjoy me jumping in your inbox 🙂

  • This is an awesome post, Leah! I’ve read a lot of quotes that talk about how owning a business can force us to evolve and grow. Boundaries are a huge thing I’ve had to work on since starting my biz, and the way it’s affected my personal life (for the better) is amazing.

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      Evolve and grow- that’s for sure! Boundaries evolve as well, but so important to keep a constant eye on!

  • Congrats, Leah! I couldn’t agree more about becoming a better person because of this dreamy-reality of freelancing. Ultimately, though, the biggest and best benefit to me is the freedom. Nothing beats it! I’d rather work harder, longer, and of course, smarter, to be able to continue doing this forever…and never, ever have to go back to a “traditional” job. Today, I’m celebrating my freedom by going to see a really cool exhibit at our fine arts museum…at 1:00pm!! Heck yeah…in the middle of the day…with no guilt…because I can keep working later!

    Keep you the great work…and keep enjoying this amazing life we’ve created for ourselves! :):)

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      So true! Reminds me of that quote that goes something like “entrepreneurs work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week”

      That sounds like a great celebration of freedom- nothing better than getting to do what you want when you want.

  • Love this post, and the thread of everyone elses.

    I didn’t really pick up on my money issues until a year ago. I spent 15 years being a starving artist. Since I started working through the issues- everything’s changed.

    I take more responsibility in who I bring into my life too. I see when drama appears that sometimes it was my own anxiety, or fear of not having enough that made me agree to a not so great client.
    great post leah!

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      Thank you Farideh 🙂 I think it’s easy to get stuck in “starving freelancer” just as much as starving artist. Glad you are working through that along side me!

  • Paige

    You are doing wonderful things, Leah! Ever since I discovered FTF, I’ve been showered with motivation and inspiration to build my business. I’m so glad I found this community of people. Thanks for creating this– keep it up!

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      Thank you Paige! So happy to hear the community has given you that inspiration!

  • Congratulations! All of this is SO true! Especially the money stuff!

  • Rebecca Gruenspan

    Yes! Makes so much sense to me. I haven’t gained FULL freedom yet, as I haven’t quite figured out how to let go of my other full time job which provides my son and I security. BUT, every time I do what I love, I just feel better. Every time I get to work from home and sit outside sometimes without someone looking over my shoulder, I feel better. Great post. I’m looking forward to full freedom one day!

  • All accurate and totally on-the-nose Leah! It’s a great reminder, as well. I honestly can’t even believe how many friends I’ve made – within business and outside too – since starting. It’s nuts and I never realized the connection until now! I love this post – now I can go pat myself on the back for being a better person, LOL. 😉 Thank you!

  • Special Congrats on your one-year anniversary. It’s always great to look back and see your own growth as a woman, designer, and also business owner. We learn so much owning our own business and every year as we grow we will learn more and more. 🙂

  • Yay! Congratulations!! I totally agree 120% with every bit of this. Hard work but totally worth every second. Can’t beat being able to do what you love, help others, freedom and having fun! Here’s to many more lovely, fun and successful years!! 🙂

  • Excellent post Leah! And congrats on the 1yr mark. I celebrated 3 years in April and cannot believe how far I’ve come since day one. I feel like I have learned a lot about myself since going out on my own, and am more in tune and aware with what my body wants and needs and what I want to get out of life/business.

    Your comment about making friends is great and I think in all relationships I have strengthened my skills and have much stronger relationships with family, friends and clients as a result.

    Great work.

  • Leah, this post required a ton of introspection and self-awareness to write. I admire you! And I’d never seen it as “I’m a better person now” that I’m a freelancer… but you’re right. What you say totally makes sense. And I can relate to most of the experiences you shared.

    Lovely post!

  • Congrats Leah on one year of Freedom! Very inspiring! I love this list. That is one thing I love about owning your own business…you learn A LOT!

  • Leah—your drive to BE a better business and develop a rich community is what sets you so far apart from everyone else. You’re such a gift, and I can honestly say that without all that you’ve given I wouldn’t be where I am today. Congratulations on your 1 year anniversary, and here’s the next!

  • Happy bizavery!
    You are such an inspiration!
    I can’t wait to see what this year brings for you.

  • This is so inspiring! Reminds me why I’m doing what I’m doing and more importantly – to celebrate the growth firstly!

  • Congratulations, you have put in the hard work and the celebrations are well earned! Lisa 🙂

  • Leah, congrats! I have to say that I love the supportive FTF community. I didn’t realize how much I was needing the connection to like-minded individuals until I joined! Also, I would love to hear more about how you worked out your money issues. Another blog post, perhaps?

  • Joe

    Hey great post.

    I still wrestle with nearly all of those so it’s great to see they can be overcome.

    When freelancing I find it hard to justify taking time out to do non work – socialising, exercise, etc – things even though it will help with my work. Catch 22 I guess.


  • Happy One Year! Most of us can probably relate to everything you’ve written. This was definitely a feel-good post 🙂

  • I love this – it’s so inspiring, for a business perspective, of course, but also from a soul perspective. And what great lessons to learn, right? I agree that those are the ones that greet me constantly on this journey too. And what a great trip! Kudos on your anniversary!!

  • Congratulations on your 1 year anniversary!

    Freelancing has been a lifesaver for me. Prior to it I was working full time on contracts as a 3D animator. While it’s not your typical 9 – 5 job and certainly not boring either it did come with it’s own set of issues. You’re changing companies every 1-2 years, possibly changing countries and spending about 80 hours a week chained to a desk. I hardly saw my family and friends and I never really got to experience much of life. I didn’t realise how bad it got until the industry crashed with the financial crisis and I found myself out of the industry all together! It was a great wake up call.

    Freelancing has really changed my life and for the better. I now see my family and friends more often, I actually get a decent amount of sleep, I’m much healthier and now I feel alive probably for the first time in my life. I love the projects I work on and the awesome people I get to work with. I agree 100% with your post!

  • Hello Leah!
    I really enjoyed this post. It’s totally true, you learn so much about yourself as a freelancer/ independent business owner. For one, I have learned the importance of keeping yourself totally inspired and DEEP satisfaction that comes with feeling that creative buzz. I work harder and push myself farther, not because somebody else is telling me to but because of my own internal drive, and that is soo satisfying. I also love the whole bloggy community that seems to come with creative entrepreneurship.
    I have a blog, and I am a loyal reader of many different blogs. I love connecting with people’s stories and letting some of their creative rush rub off on me.
    Plus I totally get the, “you gotta ask for it” thing now. So many good things have happened for my business when I got out, took a meeting and really tried to make those connections. It just shows how personal business really is.
    Lol, I just realized how long this is, ;b. But hey, you inspired me! Thanks Leah, enjoy the rest of your Sunday.

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      Mickie- Thank you for sharing! So glad this resonated with you. I totally agree with all your feelings…the internal drive, the connections with people you NEVER would have met otherwise, the satisfaction of pushing yourself (and reaching goals!). Thanks so much for your comment!

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