When you think of freelancing, you probably think of people who sit in the corner at Starbucks with a laptop, pounding away at the keys for hours. While some freelancers choose to work from coffee shops, not all of them do. Many freelancers choose to work from the comfort of their own home.
What do freelancers even do? According to Investopedia, a freelancer is someone who earns money on a per-job or project basis, usually short-term. They’re not employees. Instead, most are considered independent contractors and are entirely free to accept as much work as they wish.
All those freelancers you see pounding away at the keys in your local coffee shop are probably working on a short-term project for a client. They might be writing copy, designing a website, installing software, writing code, tutoring someone, translating, or designing graphics.
Freelance work isn’t limited to these skills, however. You can freelance with any skill other people need and are willing to pay for. Businesses love freelancers because they don’t have to take on the overhead of a new employee to get small tasks done. That’s why freelancing is the perfect match for single parents who are looking for more ways to take control of their work schedule.
If you haven’t considered freelancing, here are some compelling reasons to do so.
1. Unlimited income potential
“Unlimited” doesn’t mean you can make millions of dollars in your underwear by sitting on your couch. It means you determine what you want to charge for your services, and you’re not limited by minimum wage or other salary caps set for you at a 9-5 or retail job. Freelancers can work as little or as much as they want, according to what their schedules allow.
With a regular job and a boss who sets your schedule, you are limited in how much money you can bring home. Most businesses, especially in retail, don’t provide a genuine full-time schedule and do their best to prevent any form of overtime.
2. Freelancing can relieve the burden of a single income
Pew research studies show that both parents work full-time in nearly half of two-parent families. This is an economic advantage for those who have that luxury. Families with two incomes can live in better neighborhoods, access better schools, drive decent cars, have more comforts and conveniences, and afford quality supplemental educational opportunities for their kids.
Kids who have two working parents won’t have to sell lemonade on the corner to help cover the cost of their science camp trips, either.
By freelancing and setting your own fees and schedule, you have the potential to generate just as much, or more, than the average two-income family.
3. You can have an office without the office politics
As a freelancer, you have the option of using a home-based office, but when you need to meet with a client or potential investor, you probably want to make a more professional impression. Many freelance workers use shared office space for this reason.
Using shared office space also allows you to work in an office environment (if that’s what you prefer) without the daily politics that exist when you work for someone else.
4. You can spend more time with your kids
Not only is being a single parent challenging due to a lack of additional income, but you don’t always get to spend as much time with your kids as you’d like. Between late nights at the office or random schedules that often take away your weekends, you probably rely on other people to take care of your kids more than you’d like.
By freelancing, you eliminate that issue. You still have to work, but when you set your own schedule you can work around your kids’ baseball games, school plays, and other activities. You can pick them up from school and get them started on their homework before you head to your home office to work on your projects. You can host sleepovers on the weekend to meet their friends, and set aside time to catch a movie or a picnic in the park.
How to start freelancing
If you want to generate the equivalent of a dual income as a single parent, you need to find out where your skills are wanted. Browse freelance job boards to find out where your skills are in demand. Create a few different versions of your resume tailored to each type of skill you’re offering, and then submit them as often as possible.
It may seem like hard work in the beginning, but once you find the right people to work with, you’ll be more likely to find ongoing work.