How I Became a Freelancer

As someone who loves a predictable routine and a clear plan, it might seem strange that I decided to become a freelancer.

And to be honest, you’re not wrong. But life is unpredictable and disregards our plans most of the time anyway. So, why not try something a bit out of my usual comfort zone?

After completing my MA in Sociology and working as a researcher for a few years, I began applying for jobs that involved more fun and creative tasks. I wound up snagging the Interim Director of Communications and Marketing gig at Symphony Nova Scotia. Hurray for me!

It was a maternity leave contract for one year. I had no real hopes or expectation that I’d have a new job at the end, but I knew at the very least that I’d get some valuable work experience, and hopefully that would prepare me for whatever came next. In the end, the Symphony created a new position for me and I worked there for almost seven years.

As much as I loved my time at the Symphony, there were two main reasons I decided to move on. My father died in early 2018, which basically turned my world upside down. At the same time, my partner lived in England and long-distance was getting old.

So, the timing was right for me. But here are a few general reasons why anyone might want to turn their skills into a freelance enterprise:

It’s location independent.

I can do my work just about anywhere that has a surface for a laptop and a decent wifi connection. Turns out that’s a lot of places – I’ve worked remotely all over Europe. But after almost a year of travelling, I’m glad to do most of my work from my apartment in Halifax.

You can choose the type of work you want to do.

For me, writing, editing, and beautifying print and online content is the best. And given the choice, why wouldn’t I want to do what I love? It feels great to have identified the work I enjoy the most – and that I’m quite good at – and to continue to hone these skills.

You can apply your skills to a wide variety of projects.

I’ve been able to work on some pretty interesting projects that I’d never have encountered except for freelancing. Plus, it’s so gratifying to be able to use my hard-earned skills to help great people and organizations with their communications.

There are always challenges, but that’s true of everything worth doing in life. And it helps that Matt is a very experienced freelancer, too. But the absolute best part of freelancing? My cat is sitting in my lap as we speak. I mean, who could ask for anything more?

-Janice