Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Uncertainty of Being a Freelancer

When I signed up to become a freelancer, at the back of my mind I knew that there is uncertainty involved. Will I get a good client? Will the pay be enough? Is this something that I see myself doing until I retire? Is this sustainable? At one point I thought, "yes" and then the unthinkable happened. I lost my full time job simply because the client was downsizing. Just like that, our income was cut in half and I have only two weeks to get a new contract. TWO WEEKS!

For those who are familiar with the Upwork platform, two weeks is never enough. There are more than a million freelancers who are signed up in that platform and like you, they are also hoping that they could get a contract. There are a lot out there who will bid lower than your rate. On top of that, you wouldn't know if the client's need is immediate or not and how soon they will respond to the application.

So a few of my friends asked, why shouldn't I just consider going back to the work force? Go back to the office. Work in a government. Go back to the BPO industry. I realized, I am not a blue collar or a white collar person. For years I have followed what's dictated by the society or my parents and I have not been really happy about it. I want to do something that I want to do. Call it selfish. Call it whatever you want. I call it freedom. I want to be able to work, when I want to work, where I want to work and have control over how I want to spend my time. This is just another bump on the road.

I'm glad that my old client took me back. We have been out of touch for more than a year but she took me back. This experience made me realize a few things:

  • If you work for a company or organization full time, expect that there will be structural change. It may happen now or it may happen in the future. This is exactly what happened to us. The team went from 15 down to 6. Drastic!
  • If you do not have stats in the organization, do not expect a logical explanation as to how they came up with a decision on who gets to stay or who will be let go. How long you have been working or how hard you have been working for the company will not matter.  
  • It's better to get two part-time jobs than stick to one full time job. When you lose one, at least you didn't have to go into panic mode. 
  • Work for someone who appreciates your value and what you can bring to the table. My old client did prior to me getting hired full time in a big company and I failed refused to recognize that because I was then chasing my QA dream. Bad move? Yeah. I never should have stopped working with her.

I will be forever grateful to my old client. From QA to VA, not bad. It made me think about Marge, The Happy WAHM. She has been working with one client for 10 years. I want to be able to have that kind of security. That's my goal. So if I can find one (or two) really stable contracts, then I'm set. And you bet I will do whatever I can to keep them.


  1. The last point is very true: work with someone who recognizes your value. :) That has been my guiding principle when choosing clients to work with. I have one client that I've been working with for seven years (she practically helped through college! lol) and one that I've been working with for over a year. I've grown with their business and I don't see myself looking for any other client unless they let me go, of course.

    1. Wow! 7 years. Good for you. It kind of got me thinking that if you work for a company, you're treated like everyone else. You're dispensable. They can just easily hire someone else when they let you go. But if you work for someone and you have established that level of trust, it's different. This experience definitely changed my mindset. :)

      Thanks for dropping by, Kimberly.


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