Hey, I’m Flava and I’m working in sales and marketing.
Before becoming a freelancer I worked in a marketing agency, where I had a lot of responsibility and often worked long hours. My whole life revolved around work and eventually I had a burnout. That was six years ago, when it just started to become commonplace to work as a freelancer. More and more people were working remotely already, so companies just didn’t hire as many permanent employees anymore.
Initially, I was very worried that this development would lead to more competition, precarity and lower wages. However, all the ongoing debates around this topic finally led to a lot of positive change to the legal and regulatory system. Now, whenever someone hires a freelancer there is a certain percentage of the job budget that goes towards the freelance social security fund. In this way, even job platforms have to pay towards health and unemployment insurance as well as retirement plans. I then realised that freelancing could make it possible for me to have a more flexible schedule and a better work-life-balance. So I decided to give it a go.
I am renting a small apartment in the city where I studied. But some years ago I subscribed to an Europe-wide network of people who put their living spaces up for exchange. Since it was started specifically to facilitate working abroad, the places usually have everything you need to feel at home and be productive at the same time. In more urban areas people even give you access to their co-working space or gym membership. That really makes it easy to settle in and feel at home.
Co-working spaces are great for networking and meeting new people. Now I have a truly international community I can rely on. I usually escape to warmer climates when autumn sets in. Additionally, I try to pick places where I have timezone privilege, which means I can choose projects and clients more freely. Living this kind of life became a lot easier after the European tax reform. Now I don’t need to worry about staying in one place for a set amount of time anymore.
I’m a huge fan of these new WorkNTravel trains that have been introduced some years ago. It gives me a good feeling that they run on renewable energy. I think it’s very smart to offer small units with work desks that at night can be reassembled into a bed. The longest travel time I spent so far was three days, but since I got a lot of stuff done I didn't mind it so much.
I get my jobs through networking and freelancing platforms. I'm signed up to multiple sites, because I don't think one should rely on any particular one too much. Unfortunately, every platform is a bit different and I had to build up my profile on each of them. Additionally, I have some direct relationships with clients so I often get referred. Competition between freelancers is an issue, but luckily anything other than minimum wage has been banned.
When I want to go on holiday, I have to purposefully set aside time and money. That was a bit more convenient when I was employed. When I started out as a freelancer I had to learn to allow myself to switch off and stop constantly checking my inbox for updates. But as I got older I realised there is much more to life than work. Now I often have a four-day work week and I value my free time a lot more.
When I was younger I thought that where I grew up would always be the only place that would feel like home; but now that I have lived and travelled extensively, I feel like a citizen of the world. I really value knowing my way around many places, and having people around that make me feel welcome and connected.