Why would you leave a stable office job and head for the uncertainty of freelance?
That’s the question others often asked. To be frank, I asked this myself one hundred times more.
It’s not like I always dreamed about freelance and finally decided to make a move. Moreover, I didn’t really plan it. Went traveling to take a break, convincing myself it was wise to come back to my safe office job. But as you spend most of your days staring at the breathtaking ocean waves – you are all, but rational. On the second thought, not a bad state to be in, making a tough decision.
So there I am, puzzled what to do next.
After you quit a job, you are supposed to find another one, right? The problem was that I didn’t see myself working for another company or sticking to a fixed schedule in the office. Filtering out undesirable options, prioritizing the remaining ones, I bet on freelance. Which is kind of funny, as the idea seemed crazy at the time. I’ve previously given a try to crowd testing platforms but wasn’t at all successful there. Would it change anything if I worked harder? I hoped, it would.
Was it easy to switch to freelance?
In the beginning, it was quite overwhelming in all aspects. First of all, leaving your social circle is unusual. You don’t belong anywhere and get to live outside of any social system. Everything changes. Everything.
Just a short retrospective – 10 years of school, 5 years of university, 2.5 years of office job – always have someone to tell you what to do.
Suddenly you don’t. You are on your own and have to take responsibility for your life. The only thing is that you are damn scared.
An emotional wreck. That’s who I was at the time.
Can remember this all as it was yesterday. I would wake up early in the morning, my heart beating at a crazy rate. I was filled with fear. Paralyzing, agonizing fear. What if everything goes wrong? What if I fail? What if I end up broke? Furthermore, it’s not only about me. There is also my mom with her health issues, she counts on me. I put her at risk, how could I do this to us?
Nevertheless, that’s what I did. I put at stake every bit of stability I had and gave it away for the chance to live up to my values. Not rational, not wise, but for some reason, it felt right.
I stabilized myself emotionally to the best of my abilities and started to work hard. Really really hard.
Does anybody even work as a freelance software tester?
Freelance at the crowd testing platforms could be hardly considered as a popular matter. They say you’d better hang out with people related to your occupation. Not an option for me. I didn’t know where to find QA freelancers. I considered myself lucky to have the phone conversation (once a month) with the only crowd tester I virtually knew. Other then this, Google became my trusted adviser, friend and soul mate. I had to discover all the information by myself.
The beginning is the hardest? – Hell yeah!
I spent so much time doing the research, reading forums and articles, trying out all crowd testing platforms I could find on the Internet. Some of them weren’t even worth the time it took to register and check if it wasn’t a scum. But some were legit and I genuinely liked the concept. Furthermore, it was the most flexible form of freelance I was aware of. At the same time, it required the level of discipline I couldn’t master before. Therefore, any drawback in time-management or organization skills would hit me 10 times more painfully than under normal circumstances. Makes sense – there is no one to cover for you in the crowd.
Realizing how flawed you are certainly isn’t the most pleasant experience. The positive thing although is that you get forced to work over your weaknesses not to be destroyed by them.
You get better, mess up, get better, fail… A never-ending educational cycle.
What would be the response to each stage?
One word. Gratefulness.
Looking backward, I know how profoundly thankful I am for all the experiences – for the office job, for freelance, for all the mistakes and failures, for the roller-coaster life.
And as long as I keep being grateful, what else may I ask for?