When Freelance isn’t Fulfilling

freelancingBefore I had my daughter over 3 years ago, I worked in a hotel. It was a dynamic environment, and there was always something that needed to be done. I spent most of my 9-10 hour days on my feet, responsible for a variety of different things. It was exciting, exhausting, and overall, pretty fun.

Once my daughter was born, we went to live overseas. There were few options for me then, as a stay at home mom to a baby, and being in a country where I had a tenuous grasp of the language. I had always been a strong writer, and I was a blogger. Freelance writing online for money practically fell into my lap, and it seemed absolutely ideal. I could stay home with my daughter, work from the computer, and make money to pay off my student loans.

Working from Home

I found work through a friend and fellow expat, who was creating web content for another expat that she’d met online. I was given topics and a word count, anywhere between 300-500 words, and I’d come up with an original article. I was ghostwriting, so I never got any clips out of it, but for the most part, I was enjoying the work. After about a year of working with the same individual, there was an issue with a payment, and I decided to move on. I ventured off to find more opportunities.

I’ve spent the last several years freelance writing and editing, and enjoying all of the benefits that come along with it. I get to work from home, essentially make my own hours, stay in my pajamas if I want to, go on trips whenever. The flexibility is truly unbeatable, and every day I wake up knowing that I’m doing something that I enjoy. But still, I want more.

Something’s Missing

Since we moved back to the states last year, I’ve been thinking long and hard about what I’d like to do now, professionally speaking. I’ve come to realize that freelance isn’t fulfilling for me; freelance writing just isn’t enough.

I crave that camaraderie that I had with my old coworkers. I miss waking up in the morning and wondering what kind of craziness the day will throw at me. I miss running around, exchanging funny stories with coworkers, and being active for most of the day. Call me crazy, but I miss it.

Where do I go from here…

I have always had a desire to help other people, and let’s be honest about it- web content isn’t changing lives. Yes, it can be helpful, but it isn’t making that one-on-one, face-to-face personal connection that I want to be making with people. Knowing this, I’ve been considering possible career paths. This probably means going back to school and learning new skills.

I’m ready to take a chance and make a change. While I will continue to freelance, I’m going to begin pursuing other dreams, too.

I absolutely love writing, and I am a writer at heart. I’ll never stop tapping the keyboard, whether I’m writing a short story, creating web content, or working on a novel (someday!).

I know that going freelance is a goal and a dream that many people have (especially bloggers), and I consider myself fortunate to be living it right now, but I’m hungry for more. It isn’t about money, it’s about me. I’m ready to join the “traditional” workforce again. I’m ready to find fulfillment beyond what my freelance career can offer.

Are you a freelancer, or is freelancing your goal? Do you think that I’m crazy for wanting to go back to a more traditional type of employment?

29 comments on “When Freelance isn’t Fulfilling

  • O'Brian Gunn , Direct link to comment

    I’ve been seriously considering finding a “normal” job as well. Part of me feels like I’m a bit of a failure for not succeeding more at freelance writing since there are so many resources out there for us to use, but another part of me says that the unsteady pay and inconsistent workload simply isn’t doing me, my bills, or my nerves any good. I’ve had some great experiences with freelance writing, but I feel like it’s time for me to explore other ventures and uncover other skills that I have that I don’t know about. Maybe working at an office won’t be so bad.

  • E.M. , Direct link to comment

    Interesting view, Lauren! I know what you mean, as I really would love to help people as well. I’m feeling as if that’s my calling more and more, but I’m not exactly sure where to go with it. I had such horrible experiences in traditional work environments, but if I had great coworkers, I probably wouldn’t mind as much.

    I do think web content has the power to impact people in a powerful way, but I wouldn’t consider myself among those writers. Then again, there’s also those who offer coaching to help and motivate others, which is awesome. There’s definitely a few things I keep thinking about in regards to the direction of my career, but I don’t think simply writing will be fulfilling enough. Good luck with the path you choose to take!

    • Lauren , Direct link to comment

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment, E.M! I can definitely see how freelance is great for a lot of people, and there is amazing web content out there. I just crave that face to face connection with other people, and that’s really lacking when you work online, obviously.

  • Tonya@Budget and the Beach , Direct link to comment

    I get where you’re coming from, although my reasons for not wanting to freelance are a little different. For me it’s the unsteady paycheck and the wearing many hats which leads to burnout. I notice the freelancers who love it the most, are ones with spouses or in serious relationships, where they have a steady paycheck to fall back on…or just someone in general to fall back on. Being single and a freelancer is scary! I’m doing a lot better with it since I have more saved in case of an emergency, but it’s still a lot of ups and downs.

  • Suburban Finance , Direct link to comment

    Interesting to see freelancing from different point of view. You’re right, lots of bloggers seem to prefer to work from home — no wonder though, given the nature of blogging — but I realize it’s not something that everyone might enjoy. I’m more of an introvert, so I prefer to freelance or work by myself with my own pace, but I know that more outgoing people might prefer to work while socializing with other people.

  • Hayley @ Debt Therapy Scotland , Direct link to comment

    Freelancing and working from home can be quite isolating, so I totally understand what you mean about needing some face to fact contact with co-workers. It isn’t for everyone! I’m glad you’re deciding to do something that you want to do. Good luck with it!

  • DC @ Young Adult Money , Direct link to comment

    I only freelance write for one site (in addition to running my blog) and I can say with full confidence that I would not feel fulfilled simply being a full-time freelance writer. With that being said, I think that the only thing that would really make me feel great is running a business full-time. I hope that one day I can do it, but for now I am pretty happy at my 9-5, which gives me consistent income and allows me to pay down debt and build investemnts.

  • Josh @ CNA Finance , Direct link to comment

    I freelance for a living and absolutely love it. I’ve been freelancing as a side hustle for years, but just quit my job on the first of this year. It’s worked out pretty well for me, and personally, I don’t miss the workplace drama. Then again, I don’t think you’re crazy. After all, we are unique creatures with unique wants and needs. I’m happy you’ve decided to chase something that will make you happy…good luck on going back to school!

  • Debt and the Girl , Direct link to comment

    I know personally I could not freelance full time. I love the idea of having your own hours but it terrifies me to not know when or where you next paycheck is coming from. I just don’t have the nerves for it. If you are unhappy, then absolutely changing things may be best for you,

  • Kara , Direct link to comment

    I can see how you might want some more human interaction. I want both work environments. I want to work for my current employer part time and on my own part time.

  • debs , Direct link to comment

    I can certainly understand where you are coming from. Not enough face interaction is not good for some people. I think it also might not be good for me as well. I love helping people though and so I can understand why working in the service industry would appeal to you. As they say, if somethings not working, ya just gotta change it.

    • Lauren , Direct link to comment

      Yes, I miss meeting different people from all walks of life. I’m actually considering a career in the medical/healthcare industry, because I’d love to work with seniors.

  • Kemkem , Direct link to comment

    I think you should do what makes you happy. The thing is you’ve tried it. Human connection is important, perhaps you could dip your toes slowly..Part time sounds nice..good luck.

  • Grayson @ Debt Roundup , Direct link to comment

    This is why I freelance on the side. I get to enjoy working with other people, but can grow another form of revenue on the side. I wouldn’t want to freelance full time, or at least not now.

  • Holly@ClubThrifty , Direct link to comment

    Oh, I can totally relate! I once felt like I was “part of something,” and now I feel like I am on my own. I miss being with other people!

  • Will @ FQF , Direct link to comment

    “I was ghostwriting, so I never got any clips out of it…”

    What does clips mean? I assume it’s referring to referrals (lol) or recognition?

    …”web content isn’t changing lives.”

    I respectfully disagree with this. But I understand what you mean. Web content doesn’t get down and dirty and give help to many of the people who need help most. Fact is, if you’re on a computer – your life is already better than most people. But at the same time, the internet is helping them in a roundabout way – creating awareness, collecting donations, gather human support for an organization..

    • Lauren , Direct link to comment

      Yes, clips means samples of your writing work that have your name attached to them. You use them to build up your portfolio.

  • Shannon @ Financially Blonde , Direct link to comment

    What did you do for the hotel? I worked for a hedge fund that owned a hotel and I was responsible for managing it offsite. It was such a wild experience, but I loved it. I learned so much. I am fortunate to get the best of both worlds with my job. I have clients who I meet with regularly and give me the people connection that I love. However, I also write and work on other online projects, so I am sometimes holed up in my home office for the day. I always say that I would never give up my clients, though, because I need the regular human interaction.

    • Lauren , Direct link to comment

      I worked there for 3 summer seasons, so I got to do a variety of jobs- housekeeping manager, bartender, hostess, etc. Lots of running around! Hotels are so dynamic. In your situation, it really does sound like you have the best of both worlds- you get to help clients face to face, and you have the solitary work, as well.

  • Addison @ Cashville Skyline , Direct link to comment

    I actually really enjoy being at an office and collaborating with other team members. Is working part time an option for you? Perhaps that would offer the ability to to continue writing, but also spend time working with others. I also like the volunteering idea you’ve mentioned above.

    • Lauren , Direct link to comment

      Part time may be an option, but I’m really thinking about getting a career started. Once my daughter is in school all day, I’d like to be back in the working world.

  • John @ Sprout Wealth , Direct link to comment

    I can relate Lauren. There are some things I miss about being in an office. The biggest thing for me is that I’m more of an introvert and being in an office provided opportunities to socialize. Now that all my work is from home I can easily miss that and not be developing my relationships. But, it just forces me to work harder on it as I don’t want to give up my freedom.

    • Lauren , Direct link to comment

      I’m an introvert too, so work environments have always helped to push me outside of my comfort zone.

  • Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life , Direct link to comment

    If I spend too many days at home alone working on my writing, I definitely start going a little crazy. I think we all crave the human connection. Maybe even working with a charity or some sort of outside collaboration would suffice?

    • Lauren , Direct link to comment

      I’ve definitely thought about volunteering locally. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to do that this fall/winter when life slows down a little bit.

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