I Am Ordinary

I recently completed my 7th month of full-time self employment as an online freelance writer.

I love being a full-time freelancer. I love the freedom, the flexibility, the variety, and the rewards. I love building relationships with clients and delivering great work. Part of me is still a little surprised that things are going as well as they have – I was saying to my wife the other day, “I can’t believe we’re getting away with this.”

Two years ago I signed up on Elance – I was looking for some new challenges and to make some extra money on the side (in addition to my full-time job that I had at the time). I almost quit Elance before I really got started. It took me awhile to land my first project, I wasn’t sure if Elance was really “for real,” I wasn’t sure if I would make any money, I was afraid of wasting time and money and effort on something that wouldn’t pan out.

Two years later, Elance is a significant part of my full-time income. I’ve worked for clients on four continents and all over the U.S. I’ve traveled to New York City for client meetings and stayed up late and gotten up early for conference calls with clients and team members as far away as Australia, India, Romania and Pakistan. The newness of this new way of work has not entirely worn off. I’m grateful for all of it, and I feel very privileged to be able to earn a living doing work that I enjoy, being part of the “human cloud” of online freelance talent.

Which brings me to the title of this post.

I used to get a lot of hate mail on my blog – anonymous comments from trolls and haters. (Hard to believe, right? Who would waste their time sending snotty comments to some random freelancer’s blog?)

Most of the hate mail was unintentionally funny – lots of misspellings and poorly reasoned arguments. But one of the messages stuck with me. “You are ordinary,” it said. “Your blog is ordinary, your thoughts are ordinary.”

That one really made me think. You see, I’ve always considered myself to be somewhat of a nerd: somewhat introverted, somewhat socially awkward, somewhat alienated from my fellow human beings.

And now, to hear that I am, in fact, “ordinary” – why, that’s awesome!

I’m one of the cool kids now!

But seriously – in many ways, I am ordinary. Everything I’m doing in my online freelancing business reflects the skills and experience I developed in my regular old full-time cubicle-dwelling career. I’m doing the same type of work that could be done from a cubicle, and I’m doing it for clients all over the world. You could too. I think, in the not-too-distant future, this kind of online work will become even more common and, well, “ordinary.”

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