In 2013, I left my job as a school teacher and finally went full-time freelance. I had been taking film and photography jobs on weekends and holidays for years, but after one full year of freelancing, I can honestly tell you it was the best decision I've ever made. If you're on the fence about making the move to freelancing in 2015, here's a list of reasons I personally love it:
1. I Make My Own Schedule
Remember that scene in Groundhog Day where Bill Murray breaks his alarm clock by beating it with his fist?
When I was a school teacher, that's how I felt every morning when my alarm clock went off. I know that I'm unproductive in the morning and late afternoon into the evening is when I really get my creative juices flowing. Freelancing allows me to set my schedule, sleep in, and work the hours I want to. I can still get a full 8 or more hours of work in, but my day can start and end later, with breaks in between.
2. My HQ is a Nice Place to Work
I spend half my time editing/marketing at home and the other half on location shooting. So 50% of my time is spent at my house, a log cabin in a quiet rural area.
"Well good for you, Sean, but I live in a cramped one bedroom in Williamsburg with Bon Iver playing constantly through paper thin walls as my hipster neighbor simultaneously oils his bike and his beard."
Sorry. But if you chose to live in Williamsburg, you are also probably a hipster and deserve a punishment equal to watching back to back Nicolas Cage films while listening to Nicolas Cage commentary on said films.
Working from home beats a crowded office, cubicle, or ice cream truck any day. You just have to make sure the distractions of the TV, Internet, and other things won't be a problem. You also need to make sure your home is set up with the things you need to work, like a solid wi-fi connection, solid computer setup, and dedicated office area (this is important for tax reasons).
3. I Can Be Creative All Day Long
Freelancing allows you to do the things you love most as a job. People working a regular 9 to 5 don't often have the time to do the work they're passionate about. After a long day at the office you may want to come home, plop down in the front of the computer, and start typing that screenplay. But by that point you're tired and that's when your spouse or your kid or your pet need your attention. God damn them, who do they think they are! They're like Ben Affleck in Gone Girl, ruining everything. Correction: Make that Ben Affleck in anything. I'm kidding of course (about the spouse, kids, and pets, not Affleck).
When you freelance, you have an entire 24 hours to do that thing you love. And when 24 hours is up you have the next 24 hours to do it all over again, so no excuses.
4. I Can Choose Which Clients I Want To Work With
Most of the time, this is true. Of course, there have been times this past year where I really wanted to make some extra money to put towards that extra piece of gear I need or that damn mortgage, so I've taken jobs that didn't really appeal to me.
It's like going out for a friend's birthday and they're all like, "let's go bowling!," but when you get there, they're all like, "I think I'd rather see that new comic book hero movie with all the same cliche action scenes, corny one liners, stupid explosions, and fairy tale endings as the others." Yeah, it's not fun, but you have to do it. There will be jobs you dislike. Just remind yourself you're still doing what you love and not trapped in some cubicle.
5. These Guys
Who wouldn't want to take a break and hang out with these cuties?
Thanks for reading all the way down to the bottom. Freelancing isn't all cute puppies and pajama wearing. In my next article I'll tell you about the crucial things that you need to know (legally and financially) when deciding if freelancing is right for you. Look for that article on Thursday, January 8th.
If you liked this article consider subscribing or following me on Twitter.