Last year, we saw a massive shift to freelance work – amid pandemic-induced layoffs and a whole cadre of people who decided that life was just too short to spend it in a mediocre job, freelancing has become irresistible to talent looking for more freedom, just as much as it has to clients looking for ways to improve their agility and depth of expert resources.

As we get rolling into 2021, we’re exploring all of the ways that freelancing makes us (the collective “us” – freelance talent, clients, society at large) better. We are in a moment in time that has us all reckoning with the *real* value of a grinding job; traditional work schedules don’t care about your child’s school schedule, or your mom’s doctor’s appointments, or your own need for restorative downtime. The autonomy of a freelance career is just one of many reasons why it makes sense for those of us who want to live a more balanced life.

For brands, bringing on freelance talent comes with almost pure upside:

  • The ability to hire best-in-class experts who are in such demand they don’t lock themselves down in full-time roles
  • The flexibility to expand in-house teams with specialized skillsets when needed
  • An opportunity to “test drive” talent before committing to longer-term contracts
  • Bringing in specialists can help train and educate in-house teams
  • “many hands make light work” – freelance support can help keep everyone sane and happy, even when it’s crunch time

At a societal level, a 9-5 workday is no longer the only framework for a successful career. Freelancing is a way for us to collectively shift our focus from centering our lives around work to the other way around. As anyone with kids, pets, or…hobbies… can imagine, having the freedom to design your workday allows you to bring your best, most focused self to the activity at hand; in turn, this creates better outcomes for those kids, pets, and hobbies that benefit from the extra attention!

In the coming months, we’ll be sharing stories from our freelance community that illustrate why freelancing makes work (and life) better. To break the ice, I’m kicking this series off with my own story of how going freelance changed my life – it’s opened up a whole new world of connections, possibilities, and contentment that I never thought was attainable in my 10+ years in the agency world.

When I went freelance back in 2017, there was a LOT to learn: I had to build new routines, drum up new clients, and figure out just how complicated 1099 taxes can be. Through the chaos of it all, I realized that I was capable of running a business (though not every freelancer wants to be an entrepreneur – more on that later!), I practiced how to market myself for the type of work I wanted (not just what was on my résumé) and I learned the life-changing magic of a 4-day workweek.

A year into the experience, I found myself chomping at the bit to do the type of large-scale work I was used to tackling in my agency days. It took a lot of deep thinking on my part to realize where the underlying dissatisfaction was coming from: I had more to give.

All of a sudden, the boundaries of what felt possible disappeared – if my future really was in my hands (and no longer at least loosely controlled by my employer), what was I going to do with it? Sandy was an early concept at that time, but it was a wide open opportunity to help create something that would make work better for SO many people – myself included! Nowadays, I’m not *exactly* freelance, but I wake up every morning excited and focused on making work a better experience for our whole team. Going freelance led me to this role where my entire job is to help our community grow their careers, create work/life balance, and find creative inspiration. It’s the most exciting and fulfilling job I’ve ever had, and I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t make the leap to freelance in the first place.

Every single freelance expert in our Sandy community shares an underlying drive to work on things that matter, that stretch their limits, and that help them build a career to be proud of. I hope you’ll follow along with their stories on LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter to meet some of our incredible members and see for yourself how freelance makes us better.