The Human Freelancer

Happy and honest self-employment for conscientious newcomers

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It’s a fair charge, and one justly levelled at me by an inquisitive aspiring student freelancer at a careers event I was guest speaker at.

When clients pay you to do what they want – how can that be fulfilling? Surely if you’re making or doing something to satisfy someone else’s requirements that’s the antithesis of enjoyment?

Not quite. If you think that, you’ve confused the what with the how.

An example might help.

As a freelance copywriter in Leeds, I enjoy taking complicated things, disassembling them to understand how they work. Then I put them back together in a more efficient, simpler and better state than they were at the beginning.

I enjoy that; and that’s the how.

The words I produce at the end of it are indeed intended to satisfy my client, but they’re just the product. The what.

It comes down to what presses your buttons: things don’t do that (at least beyond the short-term); it’s experiences – how you felt while you were having them and the processes you went through to arrive at the end product.

And freelancing, as a succession of new and ever different experiences which repeat the how part of your job, rewards you over and over again by pressing those buttons. You might not dwell on what you created at the end of an experience, but you’ll certainly get paid for doing it, as well as explore fresh opportunities to do more of what you enjoy.

The Human Freelancer book

LOOK! There's a book full of this shit and more!

Self-help business books perpetuate the myth that success is relentless growth and more of everything means progress. They preach about bookkeeping and market research: things you might need to do of course. But let’s face it they’re fucking boring.

The Human Freelancer book is your antidote: stuffed full of emotional support and insightful advice for vulnerable newbies to self-employment like you.

Buy it now