Past generations were obsessed with 9 to 5 work structures.
They prioritized working to get promoted and climb the corporate ladder. They glamorized hustling and grinding to work at the best companies in their industries. Most shunned freelancing as unreliable or unrealistic.
Millennials and Gen Zs? Total opposite. We’re all about balancing work and life. We don’t care about work titles anymore, we care about a healthy work environment. Typically, younger generations are more open-minded, explorative, and creative. We want to get our hands dirty. If we cannot find a job that gives us the kind of work-life balance we want, we’ll build that job for ourselves.
And the best part is that all the tools we need are available on the Internet, for free. This combination — the availability of tools, plus the burning desire to create a unique path that fits one’s lifestyle — is the reason why 36% of the US total workforce are freelancers. And for Gen Z folks still unsure if this is the path for you, we might be able to help you decide.
You are in control
Freelancing is all about flexibility. You decide when to work and what types of projects to take on. You adjust your work depending on your life. If you love to travel, you may want to take on projects that don’t have tight deadlines. You’d likely want to work with clients who don’t need you to be online all the time.
In my case, part of my travel itinerary is 3-5 days of staying holed up in my hotel and working. I love exploring new cities and different nature reserves.I also love to work in different environments. I take my work with me and create a sense of separation between work and travel by dedicating a few days just to work.
Since you are in control here, you can do whatever works for you. If you don’t want to bring work along when you travel, you could hire a part-time project manager instead.
Your creativity thrives when freelancing
This is the reason why I’m a freelancer. I’m a person who gets bored at a job easily. I feel like traditional jobs kill my creativity because I’m stuck with the job description of my position. For a generation of creatives, this is an all too common problem for Gen Z folks.
When you’re a freelancer, the world is your canvas. If you’re a writer and you’re beginning to have an interest in coding, you can go ahead and learn to code. From there, you can find clients and work in that industry while putting your writer’s hat in the drawer for a bit. The possibilities of creative exploration are endless!
Your skills remain sought after by corporations
I was once asked by a fellow freelancer if I’m worried that AI will put me out of business. And sure, that question is legit. I mean, robots are flipping burgers and packing online orders now… who knows what they’ll be capable of tomorrow?
Big corporations can only sell their products and services if they know how to connect with their audience. Nobody can better help with that than humans. Businesses are always looking for writers, designers, virtual assistants, and more. These things are and always will be in demand. No artificial intelligence of any kind could take that away.
You become better with money management
Okay, any job can help us develop a better relationship with money. However, with freelancing you’re the one growing your revenue. You see firsthand how much money is coming in, how much you’re spending, and how much work you’re putting in to make that amount.
This level of involvement encourages us to be more mindful of our finances as well as how we see money and its importance in our lives. Perhaps by freelancing, you’d realize that you don’t want millions of dollars in your bank account with zero time for yourself. You might prioritize having enough savings and maybe a solid investment.
You experience personal growth
Growing in all aspects of your life happens so beautifully when you’re a freelancer. It’s not easy and it’s not always pretty. But it sure is a fun ride! Growing a business also means growing as a person. And that may sound scary but once you start opening yourself to growth, you’ll learn to welcome it.
Freelancing is a path full of growth. In my case, I had to go through a terrible burnout that consumed me mentally and emotionally for months. It was only then that I understood the importance of self-care.
As I prioritized taking care of myself, that’s also when I really began to grow my business.
You become empowered to say no
This is a generation of NO. Gen Z folks are people who refuse to settle for anything less. And like Millennials, they’re not afraid to be vocal about it. You can’t always say no in an office setup. While more and more companies today have leaders who are also good listeners, there are still those stuck in the old ways.
Freelancing frees you from that. You can say no to potential clients when you’re swamped with projects. You can say no to a clients’ offer when it doesn’t feel right. And you can say no to working too much when you know you need to pause and breathe.
You develop a work-life balance that suits you
When you’re a freelancer, you have two options: (1) work all day from the moment you wake to when you’re hitting the sheets, or (2) find the best work schedule that matches your most productive hours. Many freelancers find themselves doing option 1. I think all freelancers started by hustling and working like there’s no tomorrow.
One of the best ways to achieve a healthy work-life balance is to figure out your most productive hours and do the toughest tasks then. I write from 11pm to 2am. The uncomplicated part of the job, like answering emails and doing the social media for my brand, I schedule during my typical day hours. Developing a system that works for you is one solid reason to dive into being a freelancer.
You build your own opportunities
The best part about being a freelancer is that you can grow when you feel like you’re up for the challenge. This is where people create their own opportunities as opposed to choosing from what is available.
You don’t have to wait for a door to open. When you’re a freelancer, you can choose to build the damn door. So many times I’ve been told, “I want to be a freelancer but it feels so risky and scary” and I agree! When you’re willing to take risks, you’re able to build opportunities that your future self will thank you for.
Before you take the plunge, here is a quick reminder: freelancing is not an overnight success or a get-rich-quick scheme. It requires time and energy. You need to put in the work. You need to show up and be willing to shift your mindset. And most importantly, you need to be kind to yourself throughout the process.