Starting as a freelancer is not easy. And over time I have asked myself many times: 'Why don't you just find a nice contracted job?'. It would be so much easier without the worries of finding new clients or having to hassle not to get underpaid. But freelancing also has its perks. And I wouldn't give it up for the world.

My work resume icludes lot’s of side hustling, but few ‘real’ contracted jobs. The record for me being an employee is 6 months at a chocolatier (at which there were almost no customers so it bored the hell out of me. To keep me entertained I ate the chocolates myself, which caused me to gain 5 kilos).

So why did I never want to commit to a boss any longer?



During my study, I discovered a way of earning money that suited me better: one-off assignments as a model, hostess or promotions worker. This meant I would receive emails with available jobs and I could assign myself if I wanted to or reject them without any reason.

I loved it because of the big mix of work tasks. Not one day was the same.

I handed out free samples on the streets, sold drinks at clubs or festivals, took care of welcome greetings at trade fairs, scanned entrance tickets, made polaroids, walked runways, promoted all kinds of stuff and most of all – got dressed in the craziest hairdo’s & outfits (some extravagant, some sexy and some.. let’s just forget about those).

I escaped the 9-to-5, before even starting it

My boyfriend at the time couldn’t understand why I didn’t want the security of a steady job. He even talked me into a side job at H&M. I survived for a whopping three days before I quit and went back to freelancing.

This unpredictable lifestyle suited me. Every new job felt like a mini-adventure: meeting new people while traveling through Holland (or sometimes even abroad) and experiencing all kinds of interesting creative events.

Self-direction, problem-solving and learning to adapt to changes in the work field were all part of it. If I look back, this is where my entrepreneurial characteristics started to develop. 


After graduating from the Art Academy I tried the 9-to-5 once more working as a Graphic Designer for a well known Dutch magazine. But it wasn’t for me. Day in, day out the same commute with the same people at the same time.

Clocking in and out the building (and even standing in line for it) felt like going inside a prison where I was held captive during the day.

Ofcourse this feeling also had to do with that I wasn’t working at the right place for me, but the travel time did make me feel like I lost valuable hours of my day.

Now I am able to get to work right away when I am ready. And if I need to plan meetings, I do it outside the rush hours. No more traffic jams or fighting for a spot in public transport. Instead, I have the train almost all to myself and am able to grab a book or my laptop to get some to-do’s checked.

Work anywhere


I call the shots. So I do not have to deal with any micro-managing from a manager or boss that I do not agree with. Every step I take is with my own future in mind.

Saying no to projects that would suck out all of my energy, helps focussing on the jobs that do make me stronger as a person and brand.

You get more of what you already do. So if the requested project does not align with my brand goals, I send the potential client to someone else. This was scary in the beginning, because ‘what if this means I won’t find another job to pay the bills?’.

But it also means you keep your time free for the work that really lift your spirits. The projects that get you excited to get out of bed in the morning and make you proud to show off in your portfolio.


I made it a challenge to myself to do more in less time so I could incorporate more “happy moments”. Like an early morning walk around the city canals, doing a home workout in breaktime, go on coffee breaks with inspiring people, try meditation or spend more time on personal creative projects.

Being able to organize my day exactly as I want to, gives me a feeling of power and control.

While living in Bali I created a work routine from 8 – 12 and from 15 – 19, which meant I had a big break of 3 hours in between reserved for lunch, some laps in the pool and reading a book while getting tanned. By the time I got back behind my laptop I felt all powered up and ready to get back to business.

Living the freelancer life, relax in pool
Living the freelancer life, work at poolside
Work – pool break – work

Flexible work hours and days create more space to find the right timing for peak performance.

I hear nobody ever talk about office nap-time, while to me it is one of my best weapons for fighting unproductivity. The only thing you need is the self-discipline to not fall for the temptation to chill a “little longer”.

It’s not that hard if you think about the perks you get back from being dedicated to your own work life balance.

Living the freelancer life - nap time and cat cuddles byZilla
Nap time and cuddles to charge the work battery


Budgetting might be a bit more difficult when you cannot count on a monthly pay-check. But being able to push a little harder when the bank account needs it, really makes up for that.

No unpaid overtime. I know the clock (and my hourly rate) is ticking when I put in the work. And when I genuinely think I do not earn enough, I just raise my price. Simple as that! More effort equals more money. Which is a damn good motivator I have to say.

Not to mention the potential to grow and keep growing. Every minute I put in, even when working on non-paid projects, translates to more knowledge and a bigger portfolio.


Some days I stay in pijama’s all day. Others I feel funky creative, feminine sexy or though girl cool, which I reflect in my clothing. Never do I have to adjust my appearance to what someone else thinks as suitable for the job.

I get to pick my own workwear and I love it.

This does not mean I do not think about my clothing when meeting clients. My image is part of my selling point so rocking up to a meeting in joggers and hoodie would probably make the wrong impression. On the other hand there is no need for office attire as a creative. Just being me is the way to go.

Canggu, Bali, Indonesia 2018


I believe that contracted work brings a false believe of security. It still means you can get dismissed, moved to a lower position or get told that you are no longer required for the company.

On the other hand, nobody can fire me from my freelancer position. I’m the big boss myself. And as I’m used to finding new clients, I learned not to worry over losing clients that do not fit my business anymore.

I said no to big opportunities and job offers just because they required me to be tied to a certain desk for a fixed amount of time.

That’s not how I want to spend my days. I want to be able to decide to work in the evening so that I can step outside and enjoy my day when the sun is shining. Or book a random trip to a far away country without having to ask permission or even thinking about reaching a maximum of vacation days.

Living the freelancer life - Knysna Heads, South Africa
Exploring after work – Knysna Heads, South Africa, 2018


I guess it all just comes down to a feeling. A willpower to push through and fight for something that is my own.

The ability to be free to go wherever I want and whenever I want.

It is a lifestyle choice. And if you are and adventurer like me, it doesn’t even matter what type of freelancing business you start. The life will suit you, because you design it yourself.