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4 Ways Becoming a Freelancer Has Improved My Finances

I’ve been a full-time freelance writer for several years, and my life is very different from when I worked a traditional job. I have greater flexibility with my schedule and workload and can choose to take on projects that interest me. My finances also look different now. Here’s how freelancing has helped me financially — and how the effects spilled over to other aspects of my life.

1. I’m earning more than I ever did in a W-2 role

It’s been nearly 10 years since I worked a W-2 job. In the fall of 2014, after leaving an unfulfilling job, my husband and I moved abroad to teach English in South Korea.

We signed a one-year contract and enjoyed the experience so much that we stayed for a second year. After returning stateside, I immediately began freelancing full-time. At that point in my life, I wanted a better work-life balance and valued flexibility.


Before working abroad, despite having work experience and a college degree, I never made more than $30,000 annually. I had applied for other roles, but many people with a marketing background compete for the same roles — so I struggled to land anything decent that paid well.

The first couple of years of full-time freelancing were challenging, and I didn’t make much money. Establishing yourself and landing good clients takes time, but I’m thankful I stuck with it through the difficult moments. Today, my income is more than three times what I made as a W-2 worker. Most importantly, I feel more fulfilled and I’m happier.

2. I got better at money management

Being a freelancer has also forced me to improve my money management skills. I keep detailed records of my business finances. I know how much I earn and how much I spend on business expenses, so I can make more informed financial decisions. I’ve also gotten better at prioritizing my saving and investing goals.

One reason is that I’ve had to prioritize these personal finance goals since I don’t work for a company that provides employee benefits. Another reason is that I’m a financial writer and have continued improving my skills based on the knowledge I’ve gained.

3. I can afford to prioritize my interests

When you’re not making much money, it can be difficult to afford much beyond your bills and basic necessities. I spent money on fun purchases before becoming a freelancer, but that was a less frequent occurrence. The majority of my money was spent on essentials.

Now that my business has grown, I can afford to spend some of my earnings on personal interests, like travel. Every two weeks, money is automatically transferred from your checking account to my savings account, so I have the money I need when I’m ready to book a trip.

4. I feel more in control of my finances

After many years of freelancing, I also feel more in control of my financial situation. Here’s one example: As a freelancer, I can take on more work if an unexpected bill comes my way and I need to earn extra money. There’s no promise of work, but I can usually find extra assignments.

In my previous W-2 roles, overtime wasn’t available, so earning additional money would have been more challenging if I had a costly bill come my way. I know my situation can change at a moment’s notice, so I’ve been building my emergency fund in case anything happens. I’m thankful for my freelance career because it has allowed me to prioritize my savings goals.

Freelancing can be a financial win

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to freelancing, and it’s not for everyone. However, for many self-employed workers, freelancing can allow them to improve their financial situations and change their lives for the better.

For me, freelancing has been a mostly positive experience, allowing me to live a more enjoyable life. If you’re considering freelancing, check out our small business resources for additional financial guidance that may help you on your journey.

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