Going remote: the freelance option

Having the freedom to work from home is a dream for many, but you don’t have to rely on remote positions being available in your profession or throw yourself into the daunting gauntlet of resume templates and highly competitive interviews to make that dream happen. One option you may not realise you have is to go freelance or start a small business that lets you work from home.

It’s obviously a whole different ball game compared to being a remote employee of a company, but if your goal is to ditch the commute and have complete autonomy over your work, your hours, and your financial independence, then going freelance might be better than going remote as an employee. Depending on what it is exactly that you’re awesome at, this might be tricky, but for designers, developers, writers, marketers, illustrators, and many other types of professions, this is more of an option than you might realise.

If you’ve never been self-employed before, there’s a reasonably steep learning curve, but the best thing to do is view it as a bit of a game and enjoy the challenge. You’ll go through plenty of ups and downs, but you’ll learn a surprising amount about yourself, and gain a ton of confidence along the way.

Before my current gig working remotely at GitHub, I worked freelance for the best part of 8 years, and to this day I still believe going freelance was one of the best decisions I ever made. I credit the skills that I gained as a freelancer with being able to get my current job, so even if freelancing isn’t what you want to do long-term, it’s a great way to build up your experience and get a taste for what it’s like to have the flexibility of a remote job.

One of the most important things that distributed companies look for in remote employees is a proven ability to get important work done without needing someone else to motivate them on a daily basis, so there’s almost no better way to prove your potential for impact to future employers than through experience as a freelancer. If you’re at all curious about this option, you should absolutely check out Brennan Dunn’s post on preparing to quit your job and go freelance and perhaps look at his courses to make sure you start off on the right foot.

Freelance life isn’t everyone’s cup of tea though, so if you’re after the freedom and flexibility of remote work without everything being on your shoulders, make sure you sign up for my newsletter below, because I’m planning to write up some more advice soon outlining other ways you can make your dream of working remotely a reality.

Have a question about going remote? I’d love to hear from you. Send me an email and I’ll do my best to help. Seriously.

Read this next:

Remote Jobseeker’s Handbook, by Coby Chapple (@cobyism)

Looking for a remote job, but don’t know where to start? I wrote the Remote Jobseeker’s Handbook precisely for you.