After I left my office job in June 2011, I frequently bumped into people in the street, malls and cafés who said things like, “So, what are you doing with yourself these days? It must be nice to have so much free time!” I would smile sweetly at these people, but I really wanted to smack them up the side of the head with a can of sardines.

The notion that freelancing isn’t a “real job” makes my blood boil. (The irony that not one of these people was in an office during office hours was not lost on me either.) Sure, I “don’t have to work” when I don’t want to, but that means I won’t get paid either.

Freelancing should not be seen as an alternative to working. It is an alternative way of working. It requires discipline, motivation and organization. It requires sweat and tears, and if you bite your nails, maybe even a bit of blood. It requires a passion that makes your head dance to your heart’s tune, and the humility of acknowledging your place in this big, wide, wonderful universe. More than anything, it requires the courage to start the journey, and to stay it, even knowing what risks lurk around every corner. So next time you see me nestled at a café at 10am on a Tuesday morning, think twice about how I got there. Or better yet, join me for a coffee.

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