Freelancing vs. a full-time job

A full-time job has its advantages: benefits (medical, dental, 401k, paid holidays/vacation/sick time), and a steady paycheck. But I often wonder how it would feel live the life of a freelance writer — working at home in my pajamas, on my own time, being able to arrange my schedule however I liked.

While I do enjoy my FT job, my schedule is a bit nutty and non-traditional. I’m generally off every Tuesday, with occasional Wednesdays thrown into the mix, and my Monday schedule can have me entering the office at 7 a.m., 12 noon or 5 p.m. and leaving at 5 p.m., 12 midnight or 3 a.m. (and beyond — I got home at 5:30 a.m. this past Tuesday morning). Thursdays and Fridays I might go in at 11 a.m. or 12 noon. It’s been 3 years, and my family and friends still don’t “get” my work schedule.

So to fill my “empty” hours, I’ve been looking for freelance assignments. I had two well-paying gigs, but lost one due to a personnel change and the other has slowly been waning due to budget issues. That has left me searching the Internet for new freelance gigs. While I’ve found one or two that will fill my time and give me grocery (or gas!) money for the week, they’re not at my ideal pay rate. And to think that there are even lower-paying writing jobs out there — who wants to be paid .01-.03 cents per word? That’s not even worth the effort of putting fingers to keyboard.

I pose this question to any freelancers (writing or otherwise) out there: How do you find your well-paying gigs, or do you find yourself in the same boat? Looking ahead a few years, I’d like to eventually switch to mainly freelance work, if possible. Think of the gas savings I’d enjoy!

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