The biggest perk of being a freelancer is your flexibility. You get to choose your hours, your projects, and your value (specifically, how much you charge) in everything you do. Using that flexibility, you can take on extra work to add supplemental income and pursue other passions.
A few months back a friend connected me with a local audio company here in Richmond. Audio has always been a passion of mine, and this was a great opportunity to make money and still actively pursue something I love.
The challenge was finding how audio fit into the balance between my design work and website. Questions started to arise like “Do I need to market my audio skills,” “Should I make a separate brand for my audio work,” “Should I find a way to include this on my personal site,” “ If I did, would this conflict with my design work and confuse people who visit my website?”
I tried making a separate website and spending some time working on it. I soon realized that I never actually needed a website. Due to the way the audio industry works, there’s really no need to market oneself as a freelance audio engineer. All of the gigs I did came through personal connections via word of mouth. Realizing this, I took down the website and have continued to rely on word of mouth as I take on more audio events.
There are two aspects of this type of work that I want to highlight and recommend to you.
1. Have a job that’s in a different field from what your primary work. This isn’t required, but by doing this you allow yourself to take a break from your “day job” to do something else you love. For me, a labor-intensive day of audio setup and teardown is just the kind of break I need to re-energize me for when I get back to designing.
2. Work on a contractor basis. Since they key is to have flexibility in your work, working on a contractor basis allows you to have control over your schedule to accept or decline projects as you see fit. You don’t have to compromise your freelance life to make this work!
Maybe you have skills that you haven’t used in years, but you would love to use again. I challenge you to embrace the flexibility of your freelance life and start thinking about other work that you can use to pursue the things you love. Go forth and be free!