I Quit Freelancing After 10 Years and Have Never Felt So Free
When something becomes your identity, it might be holding you back
In the summer of 2022, I found myself increasingly dwelling on the reality of what my freelance business had become. I was working with a fantastic new client — a household name — and whilst the work was fun, I kept getting flashforwards. Y’know, the futuristic sibling of the flashback.
I could see this project ending, and then a new one would crop up and I’d do that, then another, and another, and another. It left me feeling not empty per se, but a little horrified. Isn’t this what I’d worked for? Weren’t these types of clients, ones that came to me, exactly what I had always wanted?
Everything can become a trap if you let it
The idea of quitting freelance life was hardly new to me. After all, most freelancers I know often dream of the ‘security’ of the full-time job. The grass is always greener, right?
And sure, I’d thought about it plenty of times in the past decade, even occasionally gone and got myself one, although it was always short-lived when I realised those jobs were never for me. But the main reason why I would never have gone back to the full-time employee life was simple: I was a freelancer. Quitting freelancing isn’t like quitting a salaried job, quitting freelancing is giving up.
That’s what haunted me. Never mind that I was working mostly six-day weeks, never switched off during holidays and always felt like I was behind somehow. I was making a decent enough amount of money–not one of those ‘six-figure freelancers’ that flap about the internet hawking the same concept as the woman on the Estée Lauder ads, if I can look this perfect, so can you– but I was doing just fine. So it wasn’t really the money, although I never felt like I could take a proper holiday because of that, it was the idea of failing.
I’d turned being a freelancer into an identity and you can’t quit an identity– an identity can only fall apart.
A trap of comfort and safety
The truth is, I’d long known why I hated the idea of being an employee so much for a long time. I was…