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What is Freedom, Exactly?

Freedom is important to me, it is in the name of this business after all.

Freedom isn’t just about wearing pajamas to work (although it can be), freedom is a lot more for me.

If you follow this blog, freedom is important for you too.

So what does freelancing freedom mean exactly? To me, it revolves around 2 main subjects.

Steve Jobs Quote

Freedom of Time

I’m a night owl, and the fact that at 28 years old I still need a solid 9 hours of sleep, means I can’t be up at 7am like most 9-5ers. That’s ok because I don’t have to work on someone else’s opening and closing hours.

Weddings, birthdays, funerals, random celebrations….I can make them all because I don’t have to plan in advance or ask for time off that is granted only if convenient for my boss. I remember one of my biggest worries while working a corporate job abroad was if I would be able to take time off last minute to take a 12 hour plane ride home in an emergency. This no longer keeps me up at night.

Living abroad means a lot of vacation time is spent visiting home (rather than a beach in Bali), but I can have both kinds of vacations if I want.

The hours I work in a day depend completely on how productive I decide to be. If I want to take it easy, and check in on Facebook every hour, my work day might last a little longer. If I want to run some errands in the afternoon or head to the beach, I can turn off all distractions and bust through my to-do list in the morning.

If I need to make a doctors appointment, I don’t have to wait 2 weeks to get an evening or weekend appointment because I can schedule them anytime on weekdays.

I have more time in general because I don’t have to commute to work, can avoid grocery store busy-ness or run errands during non-peak traffic hours. Little stuff, but makes a big difference.

Freedom of Choice

I choose how much I want to charge and how much I want to make. If I want to raise my prices, I can provide more value. If I want to make more money, I can create more to sell.

I choose the services I want to offer. The sky is the limit and only dependant on my skills (which can always be learned) and whether or not they are valuable to someone else.

I choose the type of projects I want to take on. The options are endless and I simply need to define what I enjoy doing most and do more of it.

I get to choose the types of clients I work with. This takes time to recognize, but I get to choose who I say yes or no to. I choose the fun people.

I choose where I want to live. Based mostly on the quality of food, proximity to a wine bar and convenience of driving a scooter. I don’t have to settle for a location I’m not in love with because of a job offer or prospect.

Having complete freedom of my time and choices doesn’t translate into working 10 hours a week at 5k/hour and taking 6 months vacation.

The downside of all these freedoms: it requires a lot of self-motivation. But as long as you’ve got that, freedom as I see it is entirely possible.

I want to know, what is freedom to you?

-Leah

 

 

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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Yes, please!

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Yes to all of the above, Leah! This is why I’m going for it! And, as a mom, I’ll be more available to my children and I won’t have to burn a vacation day if one of them is sick. So ready for it!

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      Oh yes, for those like you with kids there is an even bigger list of benefits to freedom! So excited for you!

  • Great post as always Leah.

    I think its also important to say that you can’t really put a price on freedom and that’s a hard thing to explain to someone still on the 9-5 side. Any day of the week I would happily earn less than a corporate job to have the freedom I now have every day.

    I guess if you were able to work 10 hours a week at 5k/hour and taking 6 months vacation you would also have the freedom to choose that!

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      Yes, I definitely agree, there is no price to put on it and I’m right there with you with being happy to earn less if necessary! I think that’s key to making the leap full-time as well. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  • I love that you mention freedom doesn’t (necessarily) look like 10 hr. work weeks & 6 months of vacation. The allure of a freelance lifestyle has so many shiny parts, the whole picture sometimes gets overlooked. That whole picture is pretty kick-ass in its entirety, but like any complete canvas it has shadows as well as highlights.

    Time and Choice, though…damn, those are really, really hard to beat. Love this, Leah!

  • Yes! Freedom is everything you named and more. My corporate job used to have busy season in the summer, which was terribly inconvenient for family life and a total bummer for my birthday. I’ve been thinking a lot about that this August, which has been a wonderful one.

    Like you, I don’t spend all my vacation in Bali, and in reality most of my time freedom translates into road trips to spend time with my son, but there is also the fact that I haven’t set a morning alarm in a year. That I can take dance breaks in the middle of my day. That I’m not crabby and rushed in the evenings, but instead at ease and happy to welcome my husband home from work with a home-cooked dinner.

    It’s not all rainbows and sunshine, I haven’t replaced my corporate income, yet, but there is so much more value in that freedom of choice. Of what to do, whom to do it with and when. Keeping that freedom is what motivates me.

  • The freedom to eat breakfast with my two year old at his little table, to sit next to him while he watches a show, to giggle with him in bed longer in the am and not have to worry about time, thats why I quit my corporate job and am a million times happier. Stress definitely doesnt go away but its a good stress and I have more control over what stresses me out. Great article!

  • Freedom is one of my defining core values. Being able to choose how I want my life to be, even down to the nitty gritty of being able to write with purple ink, is important to me. Being a freelance writer amplifies that personal freedom and now that I am fully entrenched in it, I can’t imagine ever going back to the 9-5 grind. Tonight, I’ll be writing into the witching hours… because I can. And tomorrow I’ll be blasting The Runaways all morning long to get into my grove… because I can.

    Thanks for this inspiring post, Leah.

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