Fred Perrotta leads a fully remote team at Tortuga Backpacks, a company he founded that sells gear to international travelers. Here he talks about the importance of living on your own terms and how he manages his distributed team.
You’ve been thinking about it. You’ve sought out your friends and loved ones for advice. You’ve even come close to doing it once or twice. But alas, there’s always something stopping you from quitting your job for the freelance life.
Well no more! Here are the top reasons to pull the trigger and join the freelance ranks:
Let’s Get Flexible! Freelance Flexible!
Not everyone is built for the 9-to-5 grind especially nowadays where employees are expected to work 9-to-6, or -7, or -8, and beyond. Loved ones never described me as a “morning person” so it was very difficult for me to be on this strict work schedule. I’d start to get anxious when my night owl body wasn’t ready for bed at a reasonable hour. With freelancing, your work schedule can be flexible to fit you. Isn’t a little flexibility what everyone wants in life?
Remember Hobbies? Freelancers Do!
As kids, we are pushed to explore different hobbies we might like. One day, we might have gone to a dance class and the next day we might have played soccer. We were discovering who we were outside of school and developing our interests! As an adult, hectic schedules and responsibility stifle that growth. Since flexibility is key in freelance life, it allows you to open yourself up to explore your interests on your own time. For instance, I’ve been using my flexible schedule to learn how to cook. I’ve made a quinoa thing, this cauliflower thing, and this chicken thing. All of those dishes could have come out catastrophically but they were delicious and so far no one has gotten sick from my new leap into the culinary arts.
WERK IT Wearing Whatever You Want
I’m not going to lie…I hate business attire. I hate it so much I would wear the same out-of-date, run down clothes for years until it got to a point where I was told I needed to put a bit more effort into my outfits when the big wigs were in the office. And my bosses’ weren’t wrong. Not only did I walk around my office in proverbial rags, I walked around in literal rags. I would wrap myself in a tattered blanket and roam the halls without shoes. (Takeaway: formal office life is not for me.) Outside of meetings, freelance life allows you to dress like YOU. Not in clothes that most of the time have ONE USE and that use is to sit in a chair for eight hours a day. So take off those stifling dress pants and forget having to wear a full suit in 90-degree weather, you can work and WERK in whatever you want.
No Office Drama: Eat Your Tuna Sandwich In Peace
No longer do you need to worry about opening up your smelly lunch and apologizing to everyone because your food “smells like farts.” Rip those hard-boiled eggs open and guzzle them up. You’ve got no one to worry about but yourself.
Useless Meetings…BE GONE.
There’s an old proverb from the bible or something that says, “I survived a meeting that could have been an email”. Office culture is a breeding ground for useless meetings that take up company and employee time. If you work in an office, prepare to sit in conference rooms thinking to yourself, “Why am I here? I have no idea what these people are talking about.” If you’re lucky, you’ll get a muffin or something for your time. With freelance, your time spent in useless meetings is cut drastically and that’s worth having to buy yourself your own muffin.
Don’t Hold Back Tears
Some days you just need to cry and crying in an office can be tough. You come back to your desk, your face all blotchy, and co-workers you hate are asking you “are you okay?” If you’re freelancing, stock up on those tissues. You can cry as loud as you want both when you have to and because you can.
The Decision is YOURS
As a freelancer, you decide what projects you do and do not take. You don’t have a boss forcing you to work on a useless, time-consuming assignment that may never see the light of day. This was one of the biggest realizations I had when I started working freelance. I realized that the most amazing thing was that my brain capacity was no longer filled with work and knowledge that wasn’t in service to my career goal. It was like I received “brain real estate” for free. When you freelance, the decision of what you’re going to work on becomes yours and it’s honestly a gift.
Do you need any more reasons to take the leap? Sure it’s scary and there are important things to set into place, but think of the ripped t-shirts and tuna sandwiches you can eat while doing the work you want to be doing. Now, stop talking about it, put the plan into motion, and WERK it.