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Mom, Dad: I’m Going to be a Freelancer

Most parents just want to see their children be successful and happy, but unfortunately that can turn into power struggles when it comes to career choices. Although your life is ultimately your decision, it is often hard for parents to stay out of the decision, since many help pay for college. They want to see that their money wasn’t wasted. Telling your parents that you’d going to avoid the job search and instead be a freelancer can be daunting.

This is my mom and dad, opening Christmas presents a few years ago.

My parents are supportive, and proud that I can make a living as a writer. That’s not to say that they weren’t nervous when I told them I wouldn’t be sending out my resume or going on job interviews. But they trusted me, and I knew they’d be there for me whether I found success or fell on my face.

Not everyone is so lucky, and telling your parents that you want to freelance instead of getting a “real job” can lead to a crushing argument. Here are some tips that helped me tell my parents, as well as other members of my family who weren’t so friendly to the idea.

  • Prove that you can make money that way while still in school. I worked part-time as a freelancer during my last few semesters in school, so it showed people that yes, I could make money this way.
  • Have a back-up plan. If freelancing doesn’t work out, how will you support yourself? Show others that you’re prepared with a savings account and be ready to job hunt if freelancing is too hard.
  • Explain what it means to be a freelancer. People are scared of what they do not know. Some people think that being a writer means that you’re going to sit at home and work on a novel, not bringing in any money unless you’re published. We all know that’s not the case for most writers – so explain it.
  • Don’t ask for help. This kinda goes hand-in-hand with having a back-up play. If you want your parents to respect you, don’t ask them for financial help to get started as a freelancer. Be responsible with your money and make it on your own.
  • Keep them in the loop. Parents who are in the know are much more accepting of all decisions. If you’re considering freelancing, talk to them about it, and about other career options as well. Go over the pros and cons of all the choices and let them be part of the decisions-making process.

Share your tips with a comment below!

A version of this post, written by me, was first published on b5media’s Bizzia website. It is reposted here with permission.


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