Just yesterday, an old friend told me she was currently fed up with her current job, and she has changed her workplace in 10 countries over the past year but she still doesn’t feel happy. N asked me whether she should be a freelancer because she has always been wanting to do something for herself and no longer wants to follow others’ orders.
I have been asked this question many times, by many people, so today I decided to write this post. This is not a speech or a recommendation, but simply storytelling our experience, and I hope this will help those who are struggling to orient themselves without any answers.
🍀🍀🍀 Why do I want to become a freelancer?
When I was in high school, watching an introduction program in the hotel and restaurant management industry, I liked it because I simply thought that the job that came in contact with beautiful and delicious things always made me crazy. So I studied Hospitality Management. I used to practice for half a year at a big hotel, in addition to work experience, I also participated in very useful professional training courses with official staff. It was an extremely precious time. However, what made me unbearable was the steady pace of work from a day-to-day basis. I am the type who DOES NOT LIKE REPETITION such as wearing the same outfit of yesterday, wearing the same shoes with most people, working in a, b, c sequence which has been standardized. After that internship, I realized that I didn’t fit the hotel’s working environment.
After graduation, I continued to try GOING TO WORK. That time, I worked as an F&B manager at a French restaurant. At first, I worked really hard, but one thing that still made me unhappy was that I had to go to work ON TIME because the restaurant divided work shifts. Luckily, at that time, I met a great boss. She was not a person who liked to find someone with the right personalities and experiences for a given job, but always looking for potential factors and designing the job that was right for them. So I was chosen to be her assistant. The position had flexible working hours. I even worked for more than 8 hours a day and didn’t need any day-off. At that time, I knew for sure that I REALLY LIKE THE TYPES OF JOB that enable me to work flexibly about the content and time.
The third time I went to work was when I was about to leave the cafe business because the cafe was no longer operating as well as before. At that time, I guessed I would not like it, but I knew, I needed to go to work to have a stable salary for a while before I thought of something else that suited my hobbies. The disaster of that time was that I had to get up early every day. I DON’T LIKE GETTING UP EARLY at all! Researchers all over the world have demonstrated that there are some types of people who work effectively in the morning. I belong to the opposite group. And yet, after dragging the sleepy body out of the bed, I still had to go get over the crowd of thousands of people to get to work. Oh no! I DON’T LIKE THE CROWD. I always presented at the office after my boss, but my boss liked me very much, so that was not a problem. Besides, my job was in the Sales & Marketing department, which required me to regularly go out to meet good people, and the boss was good, so in terms of work, I felt like it very much until I COULDN’T STAND WORKING 8 HOURS PER DAY, even when there were no projects. CHATTING, EATING SNACKS, ADAPTING TO THE OFFICE ENVIRONMENT WITH EVERYONE WAS NOT MY STRENGTH. I also needed time, space and inspiration to write (haha). That’s it, since then, I decided I CANNOT WORK IN ANY ORGANIZATION ANY MORE!
🍀🍀🍀 How did I prepare and start to become a freelancer?
When I was about to quit the company, I was looking for freelance job opportunities. Fortunately, I had an extremely new experience in the field of food clips. Anyone who has been following the page from the first days or has read the book “The House with Two Lives” probably knows it, so I’ll just keep it short! I love food, like to eat, and after marriage, I like to cook. My lover loves taking pictures. Our first job was to produce cooking clips for an online newspaper – a job that combined our strengths. At that time, I was working at a company, and taking advantage of weeknights and weekends to shoot clips. That was a really hard, but fun time to be recalled.
When the job of shooting clips could bring a good income, I decided to quit the company. However, when I hadn’t written a resignation letter, I fell sick, having to be hospitalized for surgery, and then staying at home for a whole month, so I had to quit my job from that time. After getting well, we got back to that first freelance job, actively looking for more opportunities by sending the recorded clips to other newspapers, as well as to food-related brands. Gradually, we had works to do all week. It took us the first 3 years to build a personal brand & portfolio, from the 4th year onwards, we didn’t have to find our own job opportunities, but the people who needed us came to us.
When we first shooted cooking clips, we had to look for all kinds of pretty kitchen stuff to make props. When we used them for a while, we liquidated those pieces of stuff to make room for new items. I don’t remember exactly when selling those pieces of kitchen stuff has become a business that gives us a stable source of income until now. I will tell you later about the story of setting up a business!
Besides, I also started blogging again. I called it “again” because I like writing and blogging from the past, but I wrote random things only for me, not writing for others to read. Thanks to the pleasure of sharing cooking recipes and clips, I was happier to share other aspects of the couple’s life. In the beginning, I didn’t expect blogging to be a job. From the habit of regularly blogging, regularly sharing with people about everything I eat, everywhere I go, how I view different issues in life …, I get sympathy from everyone. Therefore, I have the opportunity to write books and to participate in sharing sessions as an inspirational person, to bring positive values to the community, to travel to many places and to be trusted by various brands that came and asked me to introduce their products to everyone. We still hold the view that we only do what we really love so we only accept cooperation with good brands. Perhaps thanks to that, the followers keep their faith in us. I love those who have been following us from the beginning. It was such a long time.
🍀🍀🍀 What are the difficulties of freelancing?
The first difficulty is to ensure a stable income when working as a freelance because we have too many bills to pay while everyone knows that freelance work often has irregular work frequency and payment delay is a normal thing. The second difficulty is building a personal brand for people to know us so that we don’t have to reach for them to ask them whether they have something for us to do. This requires a lot of skills, not just expertise, and of course, this process also takes a lot of patience and time. The third difficulty is how to manage yourself. Oh, this is the hardest. After years, I just feel that I’m getting better, but I still haven’t done it well. Another difficulty on the side is that friends, relatives, and society do not know what we are doing, seeing us playing around every day because people are used to evaluating the results and we are still struggling in an undefined process. But it was just some troubles in the way so just push it aside. Solving real difficulties seems to be more sensible! 😉
🍀🍀🍀 Is being a freelancer fun?
My answer is: YES! From the time I officially became a freelancer, I always feel happy. Saying that does not mean that anyone who is a freelancer will be happy. When you do what you truly want and love, naturally you will not have to ask yourself daily “oh, should I continue this job?”.
There are people I know who just like stability and they feel more comfortable working in an environment where things are put in place rather than fighting with their unplanned or lazy nature and organizing all the work from A to Z on their own. These people will find it fun to work for a company/ organization.
Nguyen Phi Van (author of “I, the future, the world”) once said that it is now the era when “everything we know is true until yesterday”, a machine can learn faster than people, so we will not be able to predict the future professions. I also don’t know where the work we’re doing will lead us to, or whether there will be a sudden change, so we just choose to do what our hearts tell us and will continue as long as it makes us happy.
That’s it, the only thing I want to remind those who want to quit their stable jobs to be a freelancer is “CHOOSE WHAT MAKES YOU FUN AND HAPPY”. I do not limit the answer to two options YES and NO. Each person should find their own answers. It is never too late to start. Just keep trying. You have to try to know which option is more suitable for you. Each person’s desires and abilities also change over time in his/ her personal development, so it’s normal for somebody to choose A today and to choose B tomorrow. However, before you really start doing the RISKFUL FREELANCE JOB THAT ONLY YOU CAN HELP YOURSELF, you need to prepare your own capital: experience, skills, and a saving which ensures you to live well for half a year when the freelance job does not bring a stable income!