Okay class, today we’re going to open our minds to new ways to think about success as a freelancer.
My hope is to open your eyes to the plethora of ways that we as humans and as freelancers can define our own versions of success for ourselves.
Ready? Let’s hit it.
First, we have to ask ourselves, what exactly is success? We’ll get past the boring stuff in the sec. Bear with me.
Success is a “favorable or desired outcome; the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence.”
Typically, when you think about success, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? If you said $$… DING DING DING, you’re correct!
It’s not shameful for that to be the first thing that came to mind. Wanting or money doesn’t equate to sinfulness, selfishness, or greed.
It’s societal conditioning to view money as the top reward. The crème de la crème of life itself.
BUT, I’ll say something I know many have said before me: Success is not only about amassing money. It can be something else entirely or something else in addition to that.
It’s important as we walk through the different versions of success that you know it isn’t about one thing and one thing only. There are a million ways to be successful depending on how you define it and what you prioritize.
So, let’s talk about some new ways to think about success as a freelancer.
Ever wanted to be famous? If you said no, you’re either lying or you’re an introvert like me.
Although as a kid, even I (an extremely spotlight-averse human being) had thoughts of stardom. Albeit, my idea of fame at 8 years old was being in the show ring on top of a pony.
Amassing fame, popularity, or influence is another way to think about success as a freelancer. Whether its celebrity status (154 million followers whaddup) or simply being known as the expert in your space (she is the go-to guru for all things manifestation), you are free to aspire to be seen for the work you do.
Just know it’s not quite the same as having monetary success because followers or popularity doesn’t always equate to a boost in finances. It’s more like your version of success is being known or seen.
For some, that’s anxiety-inducing. For others, that’s all they want out of life.
Speaking of what people want out of life, my version of success as a freelancer RIGHT NOW (as in, this present moment), is time freedom.
Being able to do work for clients WHEN I want.
Being able to choose the times I work and don’t work has been life-changing. If I want to wake up at noon on a Monday and not get started on work until 2 PM, that’s my prerogative.
I do want to be candid though. There are two things holding me back from doing this whatever the hell I want.
One thing is that I live with my boyfriend who holds a typical 9-5 job. So, if I want to be with him in the evenings, I have to figure out a way to get my work done before he gets home.
That ties up my time a bit, but I’m hoping we can both be remote workers soon so we can each create our own schedules for real.
Another thing holding me back from doing this is client deadlines. For the most part, I only have 1-2 deadlines a week because they shift depending on the project or my client’s schedules as well.
But, I still have deadlines, which means I don’t have total and complete control over my time. However, it is exponentially better than at a 9-5 or a part-time job with set hours.
While it’s not COMPLETE time freedom, I haven’t experienced this level of true control over my time ever in my life. Freelancing’s allowed me that time freedom.
But what about freedom and control as success?
Having the amount of freedom I just mentioned is what makes me feel like I am successful already. As a remote freelancer in the world of freelancing for over a year now, I am already thrilled with where I’m at.
I have the freedom to pick the clients I want to (or don’t want to) work with as well as do work for clients WHERE and WHEN I want. I have the freedom to decide for myself at every intersection of my professional life.
Also, I have the freedom to prioritize my personal life over my work life. Or to create a healthy balance between the two.
If I’m being honest, I used to prioritize work over everything. Then, after celebrating Nick and I’s 6-year anniversary at the end of July, I have finally shifted fully to putting more of a priority on my mental health, my personal relationships, and simply being a human outside of work.
What a concept, eh?
I don’t say this to make you jealous or envious. I say this to expand your mind to what your reality could be if you wanted it to be. And to show you what’s possible.
Because if I’m living it, so can you.
But, only if it’s what will make you feel most successful.
I’ll get straight to the point here: Your idea of what being successful means will shift as you gain life experience, overcome obstacles, and take on new responsibilities and roles.
One thing I know for sure? It will not stay the say your entire life.
Up until I was graduating from grad school in 2018 (I was 24), I viewed success as climbing to the top of the corporate ladder. I viewed outside validation and promotions and large sums of money as the only way to be successful. After all, that’s pretty much what was modeled for me in childhood.
I wasn’t told you can make money following your dreams. I wasn’t told you could do something with your passions. And I wasn’t told you can make your life whatever you want.
That’s why I’m telling you.
It’s completely possible to have a dream and go after it.
It’s completely possible to tell people you’re doing something they’ve never even imagined and be wildly successful at it.
And it’s completely possible to take a risk, make the leap, and live a life that lights you the hell up.
Just remember that what you view as the pinnacle of success now is likely to change as you grow. Stay flexible, pivot when necessary, and remember to continue checking back in with yourself.
Life is full of twists, turns, and unexpected surprises. What success as a freelancer means to you may change at different stages of your life and you’ve got to be there ready to redefine it as necessary.
The trick is, when your definition of success shifts, so do your priorities.
Right now, success for me is time freedom. As a result, my priorities have gone from wanting to work constantly in order to make as much money as possible to now, I desire to be able to wake up whenever, do my work whenever I feel inspired (within reason, I mean, I have a job to do after all), and be able to take a hike or a dip in the pool at 1 PM on a Wednesday afternoon.
This blog’s been a long time coming. It’s tough to be told “to be successful, you need to do these specific things” and take it without question. That’s not my M.O.
So, when I had a thought to try and define what success as a freelancer means to me, I figured a blog was a good way to get my thoughts out. The TLDR version of this is simple: success means something different to everyone at each different stage of life and will likely change as new experiences and perspectives come to light.
I bet you’re tired of never getting a solid answer from me, huh? Well, get used to it. I view the world as subjective — ain’t nothing black or white here.
In the end, I hope you can take what you need from this post and leave what you don’t.
Truth be told, that’s all I ever want.