Some people view freelancers as recent college graduates who couldn’t find a ‘real’ job. That’s true of many freelancers, I suppose. But every freelancer I know became a freelancer very much on purpose. And if any of them wanted to go back to a full-time job – they sure could. As any good freelancer knows, if you have a successful freelancing career – you’ll get full-time job offers pretty often.

Most people I know do not accept these offers. But is it that they will never accept an offer or are they just putting off the inevitable. Will they someday accept an offer and therefore settle back into a salaried position?

Most of these offers are politely declined. But should they be? After all, freelancing can feel so chill, surely it’s not something someone does for decades. Right? Maybe.

Most of the freelancers I know have been in the game for less than 10 years. But that’s not because most go back to salaried positions. Rather, most freelancers are just that new. See, the tenure of the average freelancer is short because it’s a bit of a burgeoning way of live. Never before in US history have so many people been freelancers. It’s very millennial. That’s what makes this post significant. It’s interesting to peer into the future and see if freelancing can be taken from a trend to a forever lifestyle.

And I’m here to tell you… it can.

I know older freelancers who have taken it to the next level. It’s okay that they work freelance instead of salary. Because they earn enough in freelance it’s okay when they have to take sick stays or even when they need to go to the hospital. They use the money they earned on the good days to cover those pesky $0 days. Or they build their freelancing career into a career for others. Meaning – they have employees. Or they sell a product that can sell itself without the freelancer even being conscious. Many freelance writers have their own writing course. It’s a way of sharing their success while also creating another stream of revenue. Freelancers have a lot to offer and most understand this.

Advice for Anyone Wanting to Make Freelancing a Lifelong Career

What’s important is to keep an eye on the long-term picture. Avoid grabbing the quick buck deals. Instead, focus on providing true value for your industry. And yes, this does mean saying ‘no’ to lots of easy money. But it’s necessary if you want the time to focus on what truly matters.

Think about it like this. When you were in high school, you probably made easy money flipping burgers. Each day you would go and make easy money. But luckily you realized you must focus on the bigger picture instead of just grabbing a quick $10 per hour. You invested in yourself by going to college. And today – you are much better off than if you had only been grabbing those quick dollars.

This means getting involved in the large projects, meeting with high power people and building your brand.

You can become a lifelong freelancer. And it can be lucrative. Just stay focused on the long-term plan and you’ll do just fine. Have fun!

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William Lipovsky owns the personal finance website First Quarter Finance. His most embarrassing moment was telling a Microsoft executive, "I'll just Google it."

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