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freelance careerTypically income is not one’s primary motivation for becoming a freelancer. Independence, freedom, flexibility, sense of purpose, and other personal values are reported as the most common reasons, according to a report by the Freelancers Union.

From my experience, these values are difficult for non-freelancers to comprehend. For example, my love has a salaried job in engineering and has no interest in mixing things he enjoys, like his fantastic photography, with money. If I see a well-known company with an open copy writing position, he wants to know why I don’t pursue it if it offers more money than what I’m making. $10,000 more per year? My freedom is worth more than that. $20,000 more? I’m still not interested.

When you are making enough to cover living expenses, save for retirement, and travel–why bother undermining your values to leave the freelance life?

Then he asks me: What if the job paid double?

Still not interested.

This week I received Contently’s newsletter with a piece titled “What Company Would Make You Want to Give Up Freelancing?” The piece includes results of a survey by Working Not Working where 500 freelancers were asked only that question. (Remember I wrote a piece for Contently’s Freelance Strategist?) I find it a little confusing that WNW’s survey reported 80% of freelancers would revert to 9-to-5 if offered a job at their dream company, while Freelancers Union just-as-recently surveyed 1,100 freelancers nationally and found, “Nearly 9 in 10 independent workers (88%) would keep freelancing even if they were offered a full-time job.” Conflicting information, no? I’d like to see the results of WNW’s survey if it were a multi-question survey. Did they poll 500 novice struggling freelancers? Were they all full-time? Were they supporting themselves or a family?

During my first year in college a professor gave some advice that I thought was valuable: Always interview even if you love your job. You never know what opportunities could come from it. Once or twice each year I will interview for a full-time job with no intention of accepting the position if one is offered to me. I’ve turned down five full-time job offers in the past five years. In fact, some of the interviewers have become my clients. 🙂

I just finished half-year accounting and found a few graph features when playing around with QuickBooks. I’ve removed the numbers for confidentiality purposes, but the chart speaks for itself. Year after year my freelancing business has grown. Look–by July of this year I’ve made the same amount that I did the entire year of 2012! If I were working for someone else, how could I have ever known this was possible?

Freelance Income

Halfway through 2014 and will likely beat last year’s numbers.

So what about my answer? Which company would have to offer me a job for me to leave freelancing?

Still. Not. Interested.