How Being a Freelancer is Like Being a Survivalist: A Rant

According to Webster’s Dictionary, a survivalist is “a person who advocates or practices survivalism” or “one who has prepared to survive in the anarchy of an anticipated breakdown of society.”


Being a freelancer won’t necessarily prepare you to survive a natural disaster or societal meltdown (though I’m positive our skills are transferable), but it will enable you to take control of your income, and by extension, your life. Here’s why I think being a freelancer is like being a survivalist.


We’ve all heard the term “starving artist,” and conventional wisdom tells us that being a freelance anything is dangerous because of the financial unpredictability. That’s just really not a concern once you scratch the surface (and you get your business and process dialed). As freelancers, we have the power and privilege to steer our own careers and set earning goals that could change every month if we chose.


We, not our managers or the CEO of the company, have the power to give ourselves raises, take 20 weeks of vacation per year, work remotely from anywhere on the planet, and climb our industry ladder as quickly, or not at all, as we see fit.


Our position is unique too, in that we can change the course of our business or work focus as quickly as our personal and client needs dictate. What’s easier: turning your car around or turning it around with a trailer hitched to the back? We just have less baggage, less bureaucracy, and way more flexibility in every aspect of our business.


Make no mistake, being a freelancer isn’t always roses and rainbows. Working for yourself is hard work, and sometimes we don’t make our monthly earning goals, or land that client we really really wanted. C’est la vie. Chock it up to experience, learn from it, and become stronger every day.


We don’t do this because it’s easy.


We do it because we love it.


We do it because it’s our right livelihood.


We do it because we wouldn’t want it any other way (and/or we’re such pains in the butt we’re totally unemployable anywhere else).


We know what to do and where to go to make our dreams come true. We produce enough of our own natural resources to at least be self-sustaining. That’s why being a freelance creative is like being a survivalist. Because we have the skills to survive and thrive, regardless of our external environment.

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