Why I Decided to Work Freelance: Is It Worth It?
I remember when I was about to finish university, I was so excited and eager to find a job as an architect. My plan was simple— to work for the biggest and renowned architectural firm in the country.
Sounds lovely, isn’t it? But fast forward to today, here I am sitting in my office. No, I am not working for any firm at the moment nor am I in one of the highest skyscrapers in the city— and that’s okay.
I may not have the job set up that most people consider ideal, but I am happy and proud to say that I am now building my own assets instead of dedicating my time working for others. Here is my journey on why I decided to work freelance:
3 Biggest Reasons Why I Decided to Be A Freelance Architect
I have pondered for a while on what really made me take this big leap of faith, so here you go:
1. I Want to Have Full Control of My Time
The life of a freelancer can sound really enticing. You will have the ultimate freedom and be your own boss at the same time. This sounds so easy and many are actually pulled by this promising set up. And just like everyone else, I too was convinced.
I remember I suddenly felt my job as an architect in a company suffocating. I had less time for myself and always feel restricted. I even came to a point when I hated my job because of the situation I was in.
In other words, I was no longer happy. That and the fear of losing the passion that made me fall in love in my profession is the main reason why I decided to work freelance.
Being a freelance architect allows me to be more productive by working on projects and with clients that I personally care about. For me, time is relative to productivity, but I have to remind you that this freedom requires great effort in terms of discipline. If you have no self-discipline, it’s so easy to get tempted and lose track of your priorities.
In fact, I used to struggle a lot. I’m used to having a schedule and a list of tasks to be done for the day. Thus, the idea of managing my own time and task was so foreign to me. I was losing my grind and found myself enjoying my newly acquired freedom too much.
Time Freedom is actually not having as much free time, rather it means spending your time wisely doing meaningful work. Thankfully, I was able to realize that valuable lesson before it’s too late.
2. I Believe I Am Meant to Make Bigger Things
It is said that when you step outside of your comfort zone, you will discover things that you’ve never even thought you are capable of, and I firmly believe in it.
Not only did I feel caged in my job, but I also felt like there was no room for me to grow. I find myself not wanting to work on a project, not because I didn’t find it interesting anymore but because I no longer felt the connection.
I knew then I needed to do something. I needed to ignite that passion again and reduced the sources of negative stress. But I also knew that it is easier said than done. There are always risks that come with it.
So, I asked myself— Am I willing to take the risk?
It seems like a simple question but its magnitude is also a determining factor for my decision. I remember doubting myself if I can really make it. Of course, self-doubt was a frontrunner on my list of insecurities.
Am I good enough? Are my skills enough to land some decent projects? Will there be clients willing to pay for my work?
Then I remember that setting the right perspective is key to starting something, and that includes success (Read why the right perspective is the first step to finding your career passion). If I don’t believe in myself, I can’t really expect others to do so, right?
With the proper mindset and believing that I am meant to make bigger things is also another factor of why I decided to become a freelancer. Thus, surrounding myself with people whose opinions matter to me and who believe in my ability and skills also helped a lot.
My advice is to take it slow. Don’t make decisions out of emotions like quitting your job because of misunderstandings at work. Thinking that you can make it big in an instant is also a culprit of freelancing failures.
What I mean with this is taking calculated risks. While stepping out of your comfort zone comes with some risks, you can minimize regrets and failures by planning ahead. Prepare yourself holistically and never settle for less.
3. I Aspire to Get Credits for My Work
One of the drawbacks of being employed by a firm is that your effort will most likely not be credited unless you are the head or the senior architect of the project. The sad reality is that many architects are actually spending a lot of their time implementing the designs that have been decided by others, thus limiting their creativity.
Although there is a positive side to it as I have less work to do, this is not what I wanted. I aspire to get credits for my work. If I am going to design a building, I want people to recognize my efforts. This may sound a bit ambitious to others, but this is why I wanted to become an architect in the first place.
Now that I work freelance, I just have to keep reminding myself that I am not just marketing my work. I am actually marketing myself as an architect. Because in reality, I am my own business.
Freelancing sure is challenging, but I find this career path very fulfilling. Seeing the satisfied smiles of my clients and them commending my work are more than enough for me to continue as a freelance architect in the Philippines.
I’ll end it here and hopefully, you find something valuable from this blog.
Have you ever thought of going freelance? Perhaps you’ve started your journey already? How was it like? Drop a comment below and let me know your thoughts!