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Community Member

Did you expect feelancing to be this way?

Many of us are new, others are freelancing for years and everyone has to stell his/her own story I guess.

What I am interested in is:

Did you expect this job to be the way it is for you?


For me, personally, I didn't have any expectation at all.

I knew nothing about it, I had no clue about my field in general and therefore I didn't have any real expectations. All I knew is that I can stay at home which was enough of a reason to give it a try.


How about you?

What motivated you to start freelancing and did it turn out the way you expected?

Community Member

I quit my job and was planning on doing nothing for a year or so, but after 3 months I was bored out of my mind. So one day when I was just googling around I came across Upwork, and just wanted to see what that was about.


I didn't think I would make any money freelancing, so it was more just something to do during the day while everyone else I know was working. Thought I would be making maybe $500 a month or something if I was lucky, so I was still planning on living out of savings. It was a very pleasant surprise when I found out that it was actually possible to make a living as a freelancer. 🙂

Freelancing is a gamble - To win you need skill, luck and a strategy

I quit my job to pursue motivational speaker career.


At that time, I had to find something that I can work on my term. Sticking to a 9 to 5 job won't give me enough time to pursue my dream.


I found freelancing. And I am glad I did.

Hieu T
Vietnamese translator

You people are young and courageous.  I admire that.  And I am very happy that you are able to maintain a life style of your choosing.  I would have never done it at your age.  Too chicken!

I started doing some freelancing ~20 years ago when I was asked to translate a few things and help as an interpreter on a small conference. As a result I studied translation and until the end of 2012 I worked full-time as in-house translator and technical writer and did only small fun jobs aside.


In December 2012 we moved to Norway and besides working full-time again I was busy learning a new language.


In 2015 I had my little boy and in Norway thousands of jobs just disappearing due to the oil crisis. Fortunatelly my company forgot to sack me because I was on parental leave but they fixed that mistake the year after when they received the notice from the employment office telling them that my parental leave was extended until the find a place for me closer to home. Depending on the childs age the workplace has to be in a certain radius and 3.5h for one way was to far. So with my kid in daycare since he was almost 10 month and me being on an unlimited parental leave I finish my language course and worked a bit with refugees that came to Norway.


Once it became offical that I lost my job (after i pretended to fight for it) I did some research and ended up here. I did some jobs to see if it could work and it does. With the money I had saved before plus the money I received for downsizing I took it slow.  And now, after about a year I am so happy I took the step. Smiley Very Happy


DH finally also accepts the new situation. I had to rent a desk in a start-up place so he stopped these "Since you are at home yould you..."-sentence but this way I get to see people. I also have splitted workdays at the moment, where I work a few hours while the kid in in kindergarten and if need be also in the evenings. I probably check my messages far too often, but I hate to miss out on a really interesting job just because I was a few minutes late...

Community Member

Honestly, freelancing hasn't been like I expected. I thought there would be a lot more money involved. I thought it would be easier. And I thought I'd have more free time than a "regular" job. Turns out none of that was true.

I definitely still love freelancing, but I always saw it as some getaway from an office job, but I currently spend 8 hours a day making spreadsheets. 

Madison:  I hear you.  You are young, fresh out of college with perhaps an entry level job.  And I will be honest.  Most entry level jobs are not glamorous.  They are very very different than what most college kids dream about or the skills they have learned while in college.


You have two choices.  If you beleive the job is boring and you are not putting 100% and thinking of having a second career.  You will fail at both of them.  I have seen many young kids think the day job ends at 5:00 and they can try branching out in things that interest them.  They fail at both of them.


Instead, concentrate on your day job, give more than 100% even on jobs that involves making spreadsheets.  Some of the add ons you can learn is creating macros, becoming expert in making power point presentation.  And that may pay off, and after that you can entertain yourself with freelancing gigs.

@Madison R wrote:

I definitely still love freelancing, but I always saw it as some getaway from an office job, but I currently spend 8 hours a day making spreadsheets. 


First of all, freelancing is a self-owned business; you have to manage your time yourself. In the B&M world, once the work day is over, you are free to do whatever you choose. Not so in freelancing. Cheer up, you will get better at time management.


Second, you are underselling yourself. Look at your educational qualifications.


Data entry and proofreading are at two ends of the spectrum.


You are bogged down at the wrong end.


Then what about your core skill: Human-Centered Computing?


While you may not find an exact fit, you will find jobs that a lot closer to your skills than data entry is.


"Certa bonum certamen"

My core skill will always be Human-Centered Computing, but I haven't finished my degree yet and therefore can't really work in the field yet, as the type of work I'd be doing with my degree isn't quite something I could freelance with. 


(If you were interested, my specialty is accessible technology, mainly focused in the Deaf/Hard of Hearing community. I also specialize in education technology, mainly for students with learning disabilities.)


I love the work I do with my degree, and the work I do at my day job with a non-profit, I was just expressing that I always saw freelancing as this glamorous thing that pays well and where no one actually does work, but obviously I was wrong. I enjoy data entry and I love what I do, and I don't plan on quitting for the next few years (until I get on my feet with a job utilizing my degree).

Community Member

I started off as a translator and content writer for small IT companies. I thought that would be all, and expected some better-paid gigs over time.


But it turned out to be much better than that, and the change happened when I joined Upwork and...


1. Someone hired me to make a list of best resources for analyzing Dante;

2. Someone else hired me to analyze classic poetry for their tuition portal.


I never imagined that I'll make use of the ability to differentiate metonymy from synecdoche, let alone explaining higher meanings and stuff! That was a dream come true. And it lasted for months!


I work with awesome people nearly all the time, I love the projects I'm currently working on, and the pay is great considering how few hours a week I actually spend working.


Finally, the lovely blue badge that has been on my profile for over a year makes me feel good. So, yes, it's better than I expected, and it's all thanks to Upwork 🙂

@Valentina D wrote:

1. Someone hired me to make a list of best resources for analyzing Dante;

 Anyone who speaks Dante is way above my intelligence level!



I am actually still in college! Working on my degree right now, and using freelancing as a way to make sure I'm not in debt for the rest of my life. I still plan on getting a regular "office" job (if working in non-profit disability work is an office job), but right now I'm focusing on what I'm good at that pays well. 

Community Member

I wanted to be able to work in my chosen field and be able to be at home (or in the hospital when necessary)  taking care of my adult disabled son, and it has worked pretty well! Much better than I could have imagined. Some months have been better than others financilally, but I am climbing up and consistently increasing my earnings. Its exciting and fulfilling to build my own work in the field I love. Is it what I imagined it would be? Some ways yes, some ways no. I think "freelancing" has this devil-may-care image, but the fact is, no, I don't have A boss, I have many different bosses aka clients, lol. I am my own boss, but not really, or at least it doesn't always feel that way. The hours can be impossibly long at times, due to the fact that I am also juggling caring for my son. If he has a bad day, I don't start my freelance work til later in the day and can stay up til the wee hours sometimes, or wake up very early. And, it is real actual hard work. I may not go off to an office, but I am actually really working - this can be hard for family and friends to recognize. I'm not just noodling around on my laptop ("Please stop talking to me!" 🙂 , I am working. One thing I have learned is freelancing is challenging in a lot of areas other than my talent area. In other words, I have had to learn better time management, communication skills, projct management, client vetting and so forth. I realized I wear ALL the hats for my business, not just design, and I've had to become a better "business person".  I love freelancing all in all, and am super grateful for the Upwork platform, warts and all. I have found EXCELLENT clients here. 

Community Member

I was a corporate IT executive for many years working at a well known entertainment company. Plenty of money and a healthy family, but not fulfilled by my profession. Quit the company and spent a few years traveling with the family and trying to figure out my next steps. Didn't figure out my true next steps so took another corporate executive position for 3.5 years. Plenty of money and a healthy family, but not fulfilled by my profession. Quit the company and spent the next years, knowing what I wanted to do, but not knowing how best to make it work. Towards the end of that time I tried freelancing on Elance just before it went to Upwork. Things started to take off but I was concerned for all the time I spent not making money, so I got back into the corporate game. Took another corporate executive position with a tremendous company doing amazing things,  plenty of money, etc. This time though I kept doing freelancing while keeping FTE status. I'd work nights and every weekend. Did this for over 2-years. Finally this past April I made the decision to go at this full time. It's been insanely busy and I continue to work 7-days a week. Will make less money than in the corporate world but I am finally doing what I love to do which is more than worth the trade off. As I extend myself beyond Upwork, where rates can be much higher, the possibilities remain endless. 


I don't recommend the long circuitous and very expensive process  I went through. However, things happen as they happen. I take nothing for granted and I am grateful every day to do something I love after so many years of "work". 


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