Hello Culture Enthusiasts,


Thank you for your visit, we’re very happy to have you with us this week!


Culture enthusiasts are often avid travelers. And an infection with the travel bug often requires finding an antidote to maintain a work-travel-life balance. Many people resort to some version of self-employment/freelancing, if not to cure the travel bug, build sufficient immunity to at least satiate its thirst. This week, we’re diving into the world of Freelancing.


What questions should you ask yourself before embarking on a life-changing journey such as self-employment?

(a.k.a one path to ‘true’ freedom)

Now, I need to stop here for a second. As is often the case, there is a frequently asked question:

“Since freelancing equates more freedom, why do you work so much and have no time?”

My answer sums up like this: I understand freedom in terms of responsibility. My work is my responsibility towards myself, and others who depend on it. Being able to choose how, where and when to work doesn’t mean you will automatically choose to work less, though the choice is yours to make. Oscar Arias puts it much more eloquently than I can:

“The more freedom we enjoy, the greater the responsibility we bear, toward others as well as ourselves.”


Now that we’ve gotten this out of the way, the most important questions you should ask yourself in choosing whether freelancing/self-employment is right for you, are the following:


I. Why do I want to freelance/self-employ?

The answer to this question should matter only to you and your loved ones, should you choose to include them in your equation. Is the decision based on frustrations with current work situation? Are you simply looking for a change? Is it what you truly want, or is it what you feel you’re forced to do? Is it any combination of various circumstances? This is important because you’re creating a path to set your goal and a source of motivation. There are no right or wrong answers, though some answers may be more effective in helping you persevere when the climb gets steeper. And it will help a great deal, if the answer is important enough to motivate you.


II. Where do I want to be professionally and personally?

Now that you have established a reason why self-employment fits your circumstances: Set your goal/s. This should be directly related to the answer to the first question, as it is your compass through this journey. It’s your light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes you may see it lit up very bright, and other times, not so much. Where do you want this path to lead you? Some people choose long-term, as in “an end goal,” it doesn’t have to be. You can make short-term goals along the way as you see fit. The point is to work towards something that you can reconcile with your answer to question I. Think of it this way, throwing darts and seeing what sticks may work, but it helps to aim at a specific spot on the dartboard.


“Work towards something that you can reconcile with your answer to question I.”

III. How do I begin/where do I begin?

Be informed. Read as much as you can, and as many sources as possible. Technology facilitates so much of the work for you through Google, YouTube, online newspaper outlets and other sources. Always check the references, so you can get right to the source for a broader understanding. You can supplement your reading by talking to people, but be mindful of who you talk to. People, at times well intentioned, can be very discouraging. More importantly, fear of the unknown is as real as it gets when you embark on this journey. So, crowding your space with other people’s fear, who may or may not have a clear understanding of your answers to questions I and II, can be damaging rather than helpful. Try to find perspective through this quote, attributed to Joubert Brotha: “Sometimes the people around you won’t understand your journey. They don’t need to, it’s not for them”. Even as you’re becoming more successful and reaching your short-term and/or long term goal/s, keep reading an array of sources.


“Fear of the unknown is as real as it gets when you embark on this journey. So, crowding your space with other people’s fear, who may or may not have a clear understanding of your answers to questions I and II, can be damaging rather than helpful.”

III a. Read some more.

Create a list of motivational contents, self-help books on freelancing and self-employment, as well as contents that address self-employment as it pertains to your field. These are your references when things get clouded. Choose materials that are rooted in real-life experiences. In the process, learn to filter what fits you and your goal and what doesn’t. Be inspired. The goal is not to copy someone else’s experiences, nor to expect the same results. It’s to learn what may work and what may not. It’s to nourish your thought process, and help you foster new ideas or expand on old ones. These ideas will hopefully help reconcile your choices in terms of sacrifices you will need to make, set boundaries and understand sacrificing in the present to reap future benefits.


IV. When can I be sure it’s the right path?

Take an informed leap. Whether you believe in fate or have faith, deciding to enter an unknown territory always involves some leap of faith. But this one can be well-informed if you plan it in ways that suit your needs. You ought to trust yourself that you have done your homework, that you have the tools to face the challenges ahead, and you will overcome them. And if you’re not ready, you know how to look for help to become ready. Falls are part of the journey, it may be beneficial to set boundaries on what you’re able and willing to sacrifice. But always remember you are strong enough to sustain the falls, taking a few steps back sometimes widens the field of vision.


Ultimately, freelancing, self-employment, setting your own schedule in no way means you will work less. At least not in the first few years. You will notice that easy or hard is not part of this equation; instead we focus on self-motivation, determination, goal-oriented, hard work, knowing and learning what you’re able and willing to sacrifice, and taking initiatives as you persevere to weather the storms. Asking these questions and following the guidelines from further readings should help clarify that, these terms simply mean you’re investing your time and energy into your passion and/or things that matter to you, as opposed to doing the same thing to further someone else’s dream.


I guarantee you, if you persevere, absolute freedom is one of the most amazing feelings. And that has no price.


Get to work! You can do it!

“You can set the wind you want at your back.”


Till next time.


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